It wasn’t until nearly 450 years after His actual birth that December 25 was settled upon as the birth date of Jesus Christ. For all anybody actually knows, you could share a birthday with the savior of Christianity, regardless of who you are or when you were born. It is only as a result of Catholic Church calculation that the following actors were unfortunate enough to share both birthday and Christmas presents at the same time.
Humphrey Bogart, 1899.
Humphrey Bogart was born near the end of the 19th century, but went on to become one of the most iconic pop culture figures of the 20th century. His influence can still be felt in the performance of every world weary character in movies made today. What you may not know is that Bogart started out on Broadway specializing in dandy roles and then batted around Hollywood for years until George Raft’s luck in turning down roles and still being a star finally ran out. You probably have already caught this Christmas baby’s legendary roles, so track down a nifty little Warner Brothers drama called “Black Legion” to get a better grip on Bogey’s range. “Black Legion” still has significant resonance today in its story of a factory worker who joins the violently xenophobic Black Legion (a kind of Ku Klux Klan of the North) in order to set things Right.
Mike Mazurki, 1907
This Christmas baby is one of those actors whose face you will immediately recognize despite the name being utterly unfamiliar. If you grew up watching “Gilligan’s Island” and I say the words “feels good” while smacking my fist against my chest, you will know who I am talking about. Mazurki’s towering height almost perfectly located between six and seven feet tall and his St. Bernard face made him ideal for playing dim bulbs used as muscle by villains, but in real life he was considered one of the most intelligent and witty conversationalists in Hollywood. One of the best showcase performances of Mazurki’s career was as the villain Splitface in “Dick Tracy” from 1945.
Sissy Spacek, 1949
The 20th century was on the verge of heading into its revolutionary second half when Sissy Spacek came into the world on Christmas Day. Spacek would go on to become of the one best actors of her generation and star in a number of classic films that straddle just about every genre in the medium. Imagine what Spacek’s career might have been like if she’d been blessed with a face more conventionally beautiful in the eyes of Hollywood! Then again, if Spacek had been considered as pretty as she was talented, she might not have been given the opportunity to provide one of my favorite Spacek performances. Spacek creates the character of Anne Uumellmahaye in the Steve Martin comedy “The Man with Two Brains” using only her voice and the result is one the best voice-only performances by a movie star in Hollywood history.