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Birthday throwdown: Kline vs. Abraham



New_a_fisch_called_wanda_a_fish_cal Two significant '80s birthdays today: Kevin Kline turns 61 and F. Murray Abraham turns 69.

Both had their hits and misses during our beloved decade. Both seem to resist the celebrity spotlight. And they both still get a kick out of performing on stage rather than on the big screen.

Let's break it down and see which Oscar-winning actor deserves the bigger slice of b-day cake today.

You may have loved him as "Harold" in 1983's The Big Chill, but Kline took home the gold statue for playing "Otto" in A Fish Called Wanda.
Amadeus20 Abraham: You want me to say "Omar Suarez" in 1983's Scarface. But you gotta go with his Oscar-winning turn as "Antonio Salieri" in 1984's Amadeus. (The movie, not the Falco song.)
Advantage: Each actor had two signature roles here, but Kline's turn as South African newspaper publisher Donald Wood in Cry Freedom clinches it.

The obvious choice might seem to be The January Man from 1989. But that's because you forget he played "The Pirate King" in 1983's The Pirates of Penzance.
Abraham: I can honestly say the only other movie I've seen of his in the '80s was 1989's An Innocent Man (the movie, not the Billy Joel song) with Tom Selleck.
Advantage: Sorry, but Abraham actually saved Innocent Man, so he wins here.

So many great roles here, including Dave (1993), Chaplin (1992), The Ice Storm (1997). Only stinkers like Fierce Creatures (1997), Wild Wild West (1999) and The Pink Panther (2006) taint his legacy.
Abraham: Where do we start? As "D.A. Abe Weiss" in Bonfire of the Vanities? As the villains in the horrendous Last Action Hero or Star Trek Insurrection? Nothing tops him playing "Noah" in Muppets From Space.
Advantage: Kline, because if he ever made a Star Trek movie, he'd be cooler than Capts. Kirk and Picard combined.

Fasttimesatridgemonthigh Kline:
Do I have to say it? (He's married to Phoebe Cates.)
Abraham: The "F" stands for Fahrid (though he sometimes went as "Frank").
Advantage: Sorry, Frank. Kevin wins. Also because we want to see Phoebe help blow out the birthday candles.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:40pm]


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