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New Year's Babies. Start Fresh!

I was an illustration major at university and one era we studied repeatedly was "The Golden Age". For illustrators that was roughly the 1900s through the 1940s. One of the the most sentimental traditions of this time was JC Leyendecker's 'New Years Babies' covers. The babies were always white and cutesy but weren't always "happy" and sometimes politics entered the picture. Here is the 1917 painting to your left a full one hundred years ago wherein there's a scary hole where Europe should be. This diapered cherub is not at all sure he wants to arrive into this  (World War I was raging and would not end for another 23 months.)

The New Year's Baby tradition reminds us that whatever may be ending or happening, there are always opportunities for fresh starts. 2016 was a shit show but maybe a whole lot of really cool human beings that will one day be giants of the arts, world peace, human rights, or whatnot were born? Who knows what New Years Babies joining the world today future generations will worship the way society currently obsesses over, say, Meryl Streep or Ryan Gosling or [Insert Name Here].


1879 - EM Forster, gay literary giant whose books made for delicious cinema (Howard's End, Maurice, A Room With a View, Where Angels Fear to Tread, A Passage to India)
1891 Charles Bickford, 3 time supporting actor Oscar nominee...

1909 Dana Andrews, underappreciated actor and looker (Laura, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Westerner)
1921 Regina Bianchi, Italian film star
1923 Valentina Cortese, one of only four actresses ever nominated in supporting for a foreign language performance (Day for Night). Happy 94th birthday today Valentina!
1923 Ousmane Sembene, acclaimed African director

1925 Matthew Beard Jr (He played "Stymie" in the long running Our Gang short film series during its most popular phase in the early 30s)
1928 Ernest Tydman, Academy Award winning screenwriter (The French Connection)
1930 Frederick Wiseman, one of the most important documentarians of all time who was just given an Honorary Oscar. Happy 87th birthday! 

Gary Oldman as Joe Orton in PRICK UP YOUR EARS (1987)

1933 Joe Orton, gay author and biopic subject via Prick Up Your Ears  (1987) starring Gary Oldman
1938 Frank Langella, crushed by an avalanche of Tony Awards but still very much with us in movies and on TV and stage. Happy 79th today. (If you've never read his shady throwing but highly entertaining memoir "Dropped Names," you must.)
1937 Matt Robinson, actor/writer of Sesame Street fame. 
1943 Allan Starski, Oscar winning production designer (Schindler's List)

1946 Milena Canonero, one of the greatest costume designers of all time (4 Oscars). Happy 71st Milena!
1950 Deepa Mehta, director (Fire, Earth, Water) one of 17 women whose films have been nominated for Oscar's Foreign Language Film category
1956 Andrew Lesnie, Oscar winning cinematographer of The Lord of the Rings series who died way too young at only fifty-nine years of age
1956 Kôji Yakusho, Japanese star of Shall we Dance and 13 Assassins fame 

1958 Grandmaster Flash, rapper and DJ who has been experiencing a mini pop culture revival of late via Everybody Wants Some!!, The Get Down, and more
1960 Shin'ya Tsukamoto, or Tetsuo the Iron Man fame
1964 Deedee Pfeiffer, Sister o' Michelle
1969 Verne Troyer, "Mini-Me" himself
1979 Anders Danielsen Lie, fine Norwegian actor (Reprise, Oslo August 31st)
1986 Colin Morgan, TV star (Humans, The Fall, Merlin)

Have you ever known a New Year's Baby... and did they like sharing their birthday with an international holiday? 

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Reader Comments (4)

Yay for the shout out to Dana Andrews! Criminally undervalued, how he wasn't nominated for The Best Years of Our Lives let along ever, is a mystery. And so handsome.

Love Charles Bickford and Valentina Cortese too.

Frank Langella's book is a fun read. He does throw some shade but I found many of the stories he shared both touching and funny especially when he spoke of people who aren't always discussed like Billie Burke and Ida Lupino.

January 1, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I looked at those Post New Year babies in the link and it would have been nice if other artists had continued the series and there would be a new cover this year, maybe kicking the old 2016 out.

January 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChinoiserie

There is no apostrophe in Howards End.

January 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJason Cooper

As a New Year's baby I really enjoyed reading this. :)
As birthdays go, January 1st is pretty overrated. It's only a week after Christmas, so you pretty much only get presents once a year and have to save all your wishes for then (I don't really mind now, but it bothered me a little as a child). If you want to throw a party, chances are a lot of your friends already have other plans and, if you're at somebody else's New Year's party, you always feel like you're intruding or steeling their thunder or something. The nice part is that a lot of people remember when my birthday is, even if I only told them once.

January 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteranna

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