May 9- Billy Joel, pianist, singer-songwriter and composer, had his first hit in 1973, “Piano Man.” Since then, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States. His compilation album Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 is the third best-selling album in the United States, by discs shipped. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Joel had 33 Top 40 hits, all of which he wrote, including “Big Shot,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Only the Good Die Young” and “Everybody Loves You Now.” He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner who has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards throughout his career. He has sold over 150 million records worldwide. Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999) and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and, in 2013, received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation’s highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts. With the exception of the 2007 songs “All My Life” and “Christmas in Fallujah,” Joel stopped writing and releasing pop/rock material after 1993’s River of Dreams. However, he continues to tour and plays songs from all eras of his solo career.
May 20 –Dave Thomas, a Canadian comedian, actor and television writer, is best known for his portrayal of Doug McKenzie on SCTV as well as in the films Bob & Doug and Strange Brew, which he also directed. Starting out his career as a copywriter at an ad agency, he first achieved fame as a cast member of the Canadian syndicated TV comedy series SCTV, where he portrayed, among other characters, Doug McKenzie of beer-swilling brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie. In 1984 he wrote for and acted in The New Show, produced by Lorne Michaels during his hiatus from Saturday Night Live. In 1993, he co-starred in ABC’s Grace Under Fire with Brett Butler and Tom Poston and continued with the show for five seasons. In 2001 Thomas co-starred in the Paramount feature Rat Race. As of 2001, Thomas has been the executive creative director of Animax Entertainment, an animation studio. Thomas has had a long career doing voices for animation, including Animaniacs, Duckman, Catdog, The Adventures of Tarzan, Justice League of America and multiple roles on The Simpsons and Family Guy. In 2007, Thomas and Rick Moranis reprised their roles as the McKenzie brothers in a one hour special “Bob & Doug McKenzie’s Two-Four Anniversary” for CBC Television. In 2008, Thomas revived the McKenzie brothers in a new animated series, Bob & Doug. In 2012 and 2013 Thomas guest starred in the dramatic shows Perception and Bones as well as comedy shows Comedy Bang Bang and How I Met Your Mother.
May 24 – Jim Broadbent an English theatre, film and television actor, is known for his roles in Iris (2001), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Topsy-Turvy (1999), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), Hot Fuzz (2007), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Iron Lady (2011) and Cloud Atlas (2012). He also appears in the later Harry Potter films as Horace Slughorn. Broadbent also starred in the drama television film Longford (2006), receiving the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.
Broadbent started out in theater before taking roles in movies, starting with Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985), and establishing himself in Mike Leigh’s Life Is Sweet (1990). He proved his ability as a character actor in films including The Crying Game (1992), Enchanted April (1992), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), The Borrowers (1997) and Little Voice (1998) before taking a leading role in another Mike Leigh film, Topsy-Turvy (1999). In 2001, Broadbent starred in three of the year’s most successful films: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Moulin Rouge! and Iris, for which he won an Oscar for his role as author Iris Murdoch’s husband, who is portrayed taking care of his wife in her final years when she has Alzheimer’s.
May 26 – Pam Grier, became famous in the early 1970s after starring in a string of women-in-prison and blaxploitation (originally made specifically for an urban black audience) films like The Big Bird Cage (1972), Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974) and Sheba Baby (1975) in which she played bold and assertive women. Her career was revitalized in 1997 after her appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s film Jackie Brown, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. The film review website Rotten Tomatoes has ranked her as the second greatest female action heroine in film history, and Tarantino once said that she may have been cinema’s first female action star.
With the demise of blaxploitation, in the 1980s Grier appeared in more character roles, including a prostitute in Fort Apache the Bronx (1981), a witch in Something Wicked this Way Comes (1983) and Steven Seagal’s detective partner in Above the Law (1988). Grier is also known for her six seasons of work on the television series, The L Word, which centered on the lives of a group of lesbians and bisexuals. She received an Emmy Award nomination for her work in the 1995 HBO animated program Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. In 2010, Grier began appearing in a recurring role as the villain on the hit science fiction series Smallville. That same year, Grier wrote her memoir, Foxy: My Life in Three Acts.
May 31 – Tom Berenger, television and motion picture actor, is probably best known for his portrayal of Staff Sergeant Barnes in the 1986 Platoon, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. Berenger started in soap operas and got Hollywood’s attention in 1977 with a small but noticeable role as a murderer in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. In 1978, he starred in In Praise of Older Women and, in 1979, he played Butch Cassidy in Butch and Sundance: The Early Days. In the 1980s, Berenger starred in several significant films, including The Big Chill (1983), Platoon (1986), Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) and Major League (1989). In the mid-1990s he was most recognizable in his role from the movie Sniper.
In more recent years, Berenger has continued to have an active acting career in film and television, although often at a supporting level. His most notable television appearance was on Cheers in its last season as Rebecca Howe’s blue collar-plumber love interest, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2012 Berenger appeared in the TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys as Jim Vance, for which he earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the role. He most recently has appeared in the science fiction thriller Inception.