On This Day
1926 – Kenneth Williams
Kenneth Charles Williams was an English actor, best known for his comedy roles and in later life as a raconteur and diarist. He was one of the main ensemble in 26 of the 31 Carry On films, and appeared in many British television programmes and radio comedies, including series with Tony Hancock and Kenneth Horne.
Williams grew up in Central London to a working class family. He served in the Royal Engineers during World War II, where he first became interested in becoming an entertainer. After a short spell in repertory theatre as a serious actor, he turned to comedy and achieved national fame in Hancock’s Half Hour, appearing throughout the radio series’ run. He sustained continued success throughout the 1960s and ’70s with his regular appearances in Carry On films, and subsequently kept himself in the public eye with chat shows and other television work.
Though Williams was fondly regarded in the entertainment industry, he suffered from depression and found it hard to come to terms with his homosexuality, leading to his death in 1988 after an overdose. He kept a series of diaries throughout his life that achieved posthumous acclaim.
Died: 15 April 1988
1944 – Tucker Smallwood
Tucker Smallwood is an American actor, author and vocalist. Best known for his role in Space: Above and Beyond
1953 – Nigel Planer
Nigel George Planer is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright who is best known for his role as Neil in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones and as Ralph Filthy in Filthy Rich & Catflap. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including original casts of Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has also appeared in Hairspray. He won a BRIT award in 1984 and has been nominated for Olivier, TMA, What’s On Stage, and BAFTA awards.
1959 – Kyle MacLachlan
Kyle Merritt MacLachlan is an American actor. MacLachlan is best known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks (1990–1991; 2017) and its film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), as well as roles in two of David Lynch’s films: Paul Atreides in Dune (1984) and Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet (1986). MacLachlan’s other film roles include Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden (1987), Ray Manzarek in The Doors (1991), Clifford Vandercave in The Flintstones (1994), Zack Carey in Showgirls (1995), and the voice of Riley’s dad in Inside Out (2015).
He has had prominent roles in television shows including appearing as Trey MacDougal in Sex and the City (2000–2002), Orson Hodge in Desperate Housewives (2006–2012), The Captain in How I Met Your Mother (2010–2014), the Mayor of Portland in Portlandia (2011–2017) and Calvin Zabo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014–2015).
MacLachlan has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (1990), and was nominated in the same category in 2017, for playing the role of Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. He has also been nominated for two Emmy Awards for Twin Peaks.
1967 – Paul Cook
Paul Anthony Cook is an English professional football manager and former player who is the manager of League One club Wigan Athletic.
Cook played as a central midfielder during a playing career that spanned 23 years from 1983 until 2006, notably in the Premier League for Coventry City. He also played in the Football League for Wigan Athletic, Norwich City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tranmere Rovers, Stockport County and Burnley. He also played Non-league football for Marine and Accrington Stanley. He moved into management in 2006 with Southport and later Sligo Rovers. In February 2012, he returned to English management with Accrington before moving to Chesterfield in October of the same year. In May 2015, he was appointed manager of League Two outfit Portsmouth after a release clause was met in his Chesterfield contract. In May 2017, he was appointed manager of League One club Wigan Athletic.
Cook was Portsmouth manager between 2015 – 2017
1968 – Jeri Ryan
Jeri Lynn Ryan (born Jeri Lynn Zimmermann) is an American actress best known for her role as the Borg Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, for which she was nominated four times for a Saturn Award and won in 2001.
Ryan is also known for her role as Veronica “Ronnie” Cooke on Boston Public (2001–2004). She was a regular on the science fiction series Dark Skies (1997) and the legal drama series Shark (2006–2008). In 2009 she guest starred on the series Leverage as Tara Cole. From 2011 to 2013, she starred as Dr. Kate Murphy in the ABC drama series Body of Proof. In 2016, she began appearing as Veronica Allen on the Amazon Prime series Bosch.
1969 – Shaka Hislop
Neil Shaka Hislop CM is a retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper. The majority of his career was spent in the top division in England where he was a part of the Newcastle United team which finished second in the Premier League for two successive seasons under Kevin Keegan’s first tenure. Before this, he played for Reading where he was on the losing side in the 1st Division play-offs despite finishing second overall (which became an automatic promotion slot the following season). He later played for West Ham United on two separate occasions (receiving an FA Cup Runner-up medal during his second term in 2006) and also for Portsmouth (where he won the 1st Division in 2002/03).
Hislop was eligible to play for both England and Trinidad and Tobago. He initially played for the England U-21 team and was on the bench for a full International against Chile, but in the end opted to play for Trinidad and Tobago. A dispute with the national team ruled him out of contention for several years, but he returned to play and starred in the country’s first ever World Cup appearance in 2006.
Hislop is now working for sports news and broadcasting service ESPN where he is most often seen as a commentator on ESPN FC. He also regularly provides commentary on Eredivisie, Serie A, and Mexican Liga MX matches. He had also briefly worked as a goalkeeping coach for the football team at Quinnipiac University.
Hislop played 100 times for Portsmouth between 2002 – 2005
1975 – Drew Barrymore
Drew Blythe Barrymore is an American actress, author, director, model and producer. She is a member of the Barrymore family of American stage and film actors, and a granddaughter of actor John Barrymore. Beginning as a child actress on television, she soon transitioned to feature films, including her biggest box office success, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
Following a highly publicized, turbulent childhood marked by drug and alcohol abuse with two stints in rehab, she released her autobiography, Little Girl Lost (1991). Barrymore appeared in a string of successful films, including Poison Ivy (1992), Scream (1996), and Ever After (1998). She is also known for co-starring with Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer (1998), 50 First Dates (2004) and Blended (2014).
In 1995, she and Nancy Juvonen formed a joint production company, Flower Films, and it went on to produce several films in which Barrymore also starred, such as Never Been Kissed (1999), Charlie’s Angels (2000), Donnie Darko (2001) and her directorial debut Whip It! (2009). Barrymore won a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Grey Gardens (2009). She currently stars in the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet (2017).
1982 – Dichen Lachman
Dichen Lachman is a Nepali-born Australian actress and producer of German and Tibetan descent. She appeared in the soap opera Neighbours as Katya Kinski and in Joss Whedon’s science fiction drama television series Dollhouse as Sierra. Lachman portrayed Suren in the American remake of Being Human as a main character during the show’s second season. Lachman has also starred in the 2014 film Lust for Love and had a recurring role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Jiaying, Skye’s Inhuman, ageless mother.
1990 – Damien McCrory
Damien Paul McCrory is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a defender for EFL League One side Portsmouth, on loan from EFL Championship club Burton Albion.
First signing professional forms with Plymouth Argyle in 2008, he spent the next two years on loan at Port Vale and Grimsby Town, before joining Dagenham & Redbridge in 2010. He played for the “Daggers” in their victory in the 2010 League Two play-off final. He also won international caps for his country at under-18 and under-19 levels. In June 2012, he signed a two-year deal with Burton Albion. He helped Burton to the League Two title in 2014–15 and then to promotion out of League One in 2015–16. He joined Portsmouth on loan in August 2017.
McCrory played 3 times for Portsmouth in 2017
2011 – Nicholas Courtney
Born: 16 December 1929
William Nicholas Stone Courtney was a British actor, most famous for playing Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who.
Director Douglas Camfield originally considered Courtney for the role of Richard the Lionheart in the Doctor Who serial The Crusade (1965), a role that ultimately went to Julian Glover. Camfield made sure to keep Courtney in mind for future casting, however. Courtney would make his first appearance in the series, when Camfield cast him in the 1965 serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, where he played Space Security Agent Bret Vyon opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor.
Camfield liked Courtney’s performance, and when the director was assigned the 1968 serial The Web of Fear, he cast Courtney as Captain Knight. However, when David Langton gave up the role of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart to work elsewhere, Camfield recast Captain Knight and gave the part to Courtney instead. The Lethbridge-Stewart character returned in the next season in “The Invasion”, promoted to the rank of brigadier, and in charge of British contingent of UNIT. The organisation had been charged with protecting the Earth from alien invasion. Years later actor and writer Ian Marter (who played UNIT medical officer Harry Sullivan alongside Tom Baker) named a Russian military base used in The Invasion, but unnamed on screen, “Nykortny” in his novelisation of the story.
Courtney has played Lethbridge-Stewart, either on television or in spin-off audio plays, alongside every subsequent Doctor up to and including Paul McGann, as well as substitute First Doctor Richard Hurndall. He did not act in the revived series, although he did so in the spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures and appeared in archival footage in Doctor Who proper. While he has acted with Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant in the Big Finish audio dramas Sympathy for the Devil and UNIT: The Wasting, Tennant was playing a different character, Colonel Ross Brimmicombe-Wood, on both occasions.
Following Courtney’s death, Lethbridge-Stewart was written out as having died roughly concurrently with him. Gone but far from forgotten, the Brigadier cast a long shadow across the series’s golden anniversary episode, “The Day of the Doctor”, being referred no fewer than five times and quoted once; and, with a prominent close-up of his archival portrait, Courtney is the only individual to appear in all the Doctor Who anniversary stories prior to “The Day of the Doctor”.
Died Aged 81