Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy birthday Sam Waterston

Three of today's birthdays have a strong case as birthday of the day. Beverly D'Angelo is superbly talented and was the voice of Lurlene Lumpkin on The Simpsons.

Ed Asner has 7 Emmys, and by winning in the Drama and Comedy categories for playing the same character (Lou Grant), that was some kind of Emmy first.

But only Sam Waterston endores robot insurance.

Waterston has a mere one Emmy, and not for Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU or Caffeine-Free Law & Order. It's for Outstanding Informational Series for something that was informational (ergo I don't care).

He was nominated for an Oscar for 1984's The Killing Fields. It's a great movie, but depressing and harrowing and I'd be happy never to see it again. I don't get how Waterston was nominated for lead actor and co-star Dr. Haing S. Ngor won supporting actor. Ngor has a considerably larger amount of screen time than Waterston (all of the actual killing fields scenes? they contain Ngor--the movie's not called Upper East Side), but as I've said in the past, I'd rather win supporting actor than get nominated in lead (where Ngor likely would have lost to Amadeus star F. Murray someone... it's been 25 years since he last worked so no use recalling his name). The Killing Fields was nominated for a slew of Oscars and won 3 in total, including editing and cinematography for Chris Menges (whose work I respect, but I don't consider him a favorite--after I read about that trick that Haskell Wexler did in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? I noticed something similar that Menges did years later in Michael Collins--you never get to see the sky, giving the British occupation of Northern Ireland a claustrophobic feel).

He's worked with Woody Allen 3 times, including Hannah and Her Sisters (where Carrie Fisher and Dianne Wiest fight for his attention), and Crimes and Misdemeanors. His roles in both are smaller, but in C&M he's fantastic--it's a performance I listed as my supporting actor of the year, despite its brevity. Unfortunately I can't get his scenes on youtube, but go, watch, you'll see.

Along with the wonderful Jerry Orbach, Waterston was named a Living Landmark of NYC. And he was in the movie Capricorn One back in 1978, which means he knows OJ. Wonder what stories he has. Sure it was over 30 years ago, but next time you run into him, ask him. And report back here in comments!

I'll skip posting L&O stuff. Cause, you know, just switch to TNT, it's on now.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

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