On This Day
1946 – Mark Metcalf
Mark Howes Metcalf is an American television and film actor.
Metcalf is well-known for his role in the 1978 college comedy Animal House, where he played the sadistic ROTC leader Douglas C. Neidermeyer. He played a similar character in the Twisted Sister music videos “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, as the father, and “I Wanna Rock”, as a high school teacher.
In the 1997–2003 television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel, Metcalf played the ancient vampire supervillain, identified in the “BuffyVerse” as “The Master”. Coincidentally, he also played a character called “the Maestro”, whose real name was Robert “Bob” Cobb, on two episodes of Seinfeld.
1952 – Douglas Adams
Douglas Noel Adams was an English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist.
Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy’s Hall of Fame.
Adams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), The Deeper Meaning of Liff (1990), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who; he also served as script editor for the show’s seventeenth season in 1979. A posthumous collection of his works, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.
Adams was known as an advocate for environmentalism and conservation, as a lover of fast cars, cameras, technological innovation and the Apple Macintosh, and as a “devout atheist”.
Died: 11 May 2001
1963 – Alex Kingston
Alexandra Elizabeth Kingston is an English actress, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Active from the early 1980s, Kingston became noted for her television work in both Britain and America in the 1990s, including her portrayal of the title role in the British miniseries The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1996) and her regular role as Dr. Elizabeth Corday in the NBC medical drama ER (1997–2004).
Later credits include the recurring role of River Song in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who (2008–2015), Mrs. Bennet in the ITV1 period-drama fantasy Lost in Austen (2008) and Dinah Drake Lance in The CW’s Superhero fiction drama series Arrow (2013–2016).
1981 – David Anders
David Anders Holt, known professionally as David Anders, is an American television and stage actor. He is best known for his roles as Julian Sark on Alias, as Cyrus Vanch on Arrow, as Adam Monroe on Heroes, as John Gilbert in the TV series The Vampire Diaries, as Victor Frankenstein / Dr. Whale on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and as Blaine “DeBeers” McDonough on iZombie. Although Anders is American, a few of his roles have required him to use a British Home counties accent.
1982 – Thora Birch
Thora Birch is an American actress. She made her film debut in Purple People Eater (1988), for which she won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Under Nine Years of Age, and rose to early prominence as a child star with her performances in films such as All I Want for Christmas (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Monkey Trouble (1994), Now and Then (1995) and Alaska (1996).
Her breakthrough role came in 1999 with the highly acclaimed film American Beauty, which brought Birch to international recognition, earning her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She then played the lead role in Ghost World (2001), for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. In 2003, Birch starred in Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, which earned her a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Birch has since appeared in independent films, including Dark Corners (2006), Train (2008), Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009) and Petunia (2012).
After taking a break from acting, she resumed her career in 2016 and starred as Morgan in the first season of the sci-fi television series Colony, as well as starring in four independent films.