Classic Movie Birthday Coincidences:
Errol, Basil, Marilyn & More
I am happy to be starting a new monthly series today, looking at ‘classic movie coincidences’ among stars born in the same month. Honestly, I thought it would be difficult to find any coincidences at all, but once I took a look at the long list of June birthdays, I was happily headed down an incredibly wonderful rabbit hole. That said, let me share a few of the stand-out discoveries for me.
Errol Flynn (June 20, 1909) and
Basil Rathbone (June 13, 1892)
Peter Blood: And that, my friend, ends a partnership that should never have begun.
Well, I’m glad that this partnership continued for at least one more film 🙂
What can I say? These famous dueling swashbucklers share June birthdays and two fun flicks – Captain Blood (1935) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), each of which are among my personal favorites, and always good for a Saturday afternoon matinee. Whether playing ‘partnership-gone-wrong’ pirates or Norman/Saxon foes, it’s always thrilling to watch these two athletes fence. They’re both so exiting to watch, that I’m never quite entirely sure that Errol is actually going to win!
- Rathbone, who was British Army Fencing Champ twice during WWI, was referred to, by many, as the greatest swordsman in Hollywood history.
- Rathbone went on to star as Sherlock Holmes in 14 films between 1939 and 1946, and also starred as the sleuth in over 200 radio plays.
- Lester Matthews, born June 6, 1900, and Ian Hunter, born June 13, 1900, both appeared in The Adventures of Robin Hood with Flynn and Rathbone. Rathbone and Hunter share the same birthday (June 13) with Rathbone being the elder by 8 years.
Some Like It Hot
Sugar: If my mother could only see me now.
Joe: I hope my mother never finds out.
So, now for one of my favorite films of all time… Some Like It Hot – which shares five June classic movie birthdays: Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926) as Sugar, Tony Curtis (June 3, 1925) as Joe/Josephine, Paul Frees (June 22, 1920) as Mozzarella the funeral director, I.A.L. Diamond (June 27, 1920) who wrote the screenplay, and director Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906). Paul Frees also dubbed the falsetto voice for Curtis/Josephine.
- Paul Frees voiced many cartoon characters including villain Boris Badenov in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
- Paul Frees also has a June birthday connection with Gene Barry, who was born on June 14, 1919. Both starred in The War of the Worlds (1953); Gene Barry played atomic scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester, and Paul Frees provided the dramatic opening narration for the film and also played one of the radio reporters.
Arsenic and Old Lace
Aunt Martha: For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspoon full of arsenic, then add half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.
Another priceless film, in my humble opinion… Arsenic and Old Lace shares four June birthdays: Priscilla Lane (June 12, 1915) as Cary Grant’s new bride Elaine Harper, Jean Adair (June 13, 1873) as quirky (to say the least) Aunt Martha, Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904) as ‘plastic surgeon’ Dr. Einstein, and Grant Mitchell (June 17, 1874) as Elaine’s father, the Reverend Harper. A wonderful Halloween treat that can be enjoyed all year round 🙂
- Jean Adair originated the role of Aunt Martha on Broadway, and was given time off from the play to shoot the movie. This was also the case for co-stars Josephine Hull who played Aunt Abby and John Alexander who played Teddy Brewster. Boris Karloff, who played Jonathon Brewster on Broadway, was denied permission to take a leave of absence from the play, so Raymond Massey was cast in the film instead – hence the fun references to Karloff in the film.
- Although the movie was filmed in 1941, it wasn’t released until 1944, due to a contract stipulation that prevented the film from being released before the play’s run had ended. The play closed on June 17, 1944, and the film premiered at NYC’s Strand Theatre on Sept 1, followed by nationwide release on September 23, 1944. The NY Times called it ‘good macabre fun’. Yep, that sounds about right to me.
His Girl Friday
Bruce Baldwin: He’s not the man for you. I can see that. But I sort of like him. He’s got a lot of charm.
Hildy Johnson: Well, he comes by it naturally – his grandfather was a snake.
A rapid-fire favorite, His Girl Friday, boasts three June birthdays: Rosalind Russell (June 4, 1907) as reporter Hildy Brown, Ralph Bellamy (June 17, 1904) as Hildy’s good-guy fiancée Bruce Baldwin, and Cliff Edwards (June 14, 1895) as reporter Endicott. Poor Baldwin/Bellamy is up against Cary Grant as Hildy’s first husband, Walter Burns, who doesn’t seem keen on letting Hildy get hitched again, at least to someone else.
- His Girl Friday, released in 1940, was adapted from the 1928 Broadway play, The Front Page, which, in turn, was adapted into the film The Front Page in 1931 starring Pat O’Brien as Hildy Johnson, Adolphe Menjou as Walter Burns, and Mary Brian as love interest (in this case) Peggy Grant.
- The Front Page was also remade in 1974 starring Jack Lemmon as Hildy, Walter Matthau as Burns, and Susan Sarandon as Peggy Grant – and directed by June birthday boy Billy Wilder who also co-wrote the screenplay with June birthday cohort I.A.L. Diamond.
Dorothy: Oh, Auntie Em – there’s no place like home!
The iconic (understatement) classic features three June birthdays: Judy Garland (June 10, 1922) as Dorothy Gale, Frank Morgan (June 1, 1890) as The Wizard (and the compassionate Professor Marvel), and Clara Blandick (June 4, 1876) as Dorothy’s Auntie Em.
- You can see Dorothy’s iconic Ruby Slippers at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington DC – just a few of the many wonderful items to see there. Personal side note: the last time I went, I spent the entire day in that museum, and even returned the next day for more quality time spent viewing all of the cultural and historical artifacts. What a treasure trove of American History!
Now for some quick coincidences:
- Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890) and Henry Brandon (June 8, 1912) – March of the Wooden Soldiers (aka Babes in Toyland)
- Stan Laurel and Mae Busch (June 18, 1891); Mae appeared in many Laurel and Hardy films, playing Hardy’s shrewish wife.
- Mel Brooks (June 28, 1926) and Gene Wilder (June 11, 1933)
- Ellen Corby (June 3, 1911) and Ralph Waite (June 22, 1928) – The Waltons
- Nelson Eddy (June 29, 1901) and Jeanette MacDonald (June 18, 1903) – eight films together
- Georgia Hale (June 25, 1900) and Paulette Goddard (June 3, 1910) – both starred in Charlie Chaplin films
- June Haver (June 10, 1926), Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926), William Lundigan (June 12, 1914) – all starred in Love Nest
- Jane Russell (June 21, 1921), Marilyn Monroe and Charles Coburn (June 19, 1877) – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
- George Axelrod (June 9, 1922) wrote the play/screenplay for The Seven Year Itch and the screenplay for Bus Stop. Both films starred Marilyn Monroe
- George Axelrod wrote the play Goodbye Charlie. Tony Curtis and Pat Boone (June 1, 1934) both starred in the film
- Max Showalter (June 2, 1917) and Marilyn Monroe – both starred in Niagara. Lester Matthews had a small part in the film as a doctor.
- Jane Russell and Frieda Inescort (June 29, 1901) – Foxfire
- Charles Coburn and Louis Jourdan (June 19, 1921) – The Paradine Case
- Basil Rathbone and Blanche Yurka (June 19, 1887) – A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
- Basil Rathbone and Clive Brook (June 1, 1887) both starred as Sherlock Holmes in a number of films
- Basil Rathbone and Ian Hunter – Tower of London
- Andy Griffith (June 1, 1926) and Jim Nabors (June 12, 1930) – The Andy Griffith Show
- Russell Simpson (June 17, 1880, some sources say 1877) and Grant Mitchell (June 17, 1874) share the same birthday and both appeared in The Grapes of Wrath.
- Maria Montez (June 6, 1912) and Moroni Olsen (June 27, 1889) – Cobra Woman
- Walter Abel (June 6, 1898) and Moroni Olsen – The Three Muskateers (1935)
- Errol Flynn and Moroni Olsen – Dive Bomber and Santa Fe Trail
- Errol Flynn, Lester Matthews and Mildred Natwick (June 19, 1905) – Against All Flags
More June birthdays – but no coincidences that I can find (yet) – let me know if you see any!
- Jack Albertson
- Brigid Balzen
- William Boyd
- Pat Buttram
- Kevin Corcoran
- Robert Cummings
- Joan Davis
- Dudley Diggs
- Cliff Edwards
- Lionel Jeffries
- Sessue Hayakawa
- Susan Hayward
- Judy Holliday
- Lena Horne
- Moe Howard
- Louis Jourdan
- Martin Landau
- Harry Langdon
- Madeleine Lebeau
- June Lockhart
- Paul Lynde
- Dean Martin
- E.G. Marshall
- Jerry Mathers
- Donald McBride
- Hattie McDaniel
- Dorothy McGuire
- Eleanor Parker
- Gail Patrick
- Slim Pickens
- Robert Preston
- Anne Revere
- Dennis Weaver
- Lois Weber
- Johnny Weissmuller
- May Whitty
- Mary Wickes
You can check out all our June birthdays by visiting our Birthday Database here.
–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub