January 1981 in Film & Television

Events in Film & TV

  • Jan 5 Late night television news program "Nightline" with Ted Koppel extended from 20 mins to 30 mins

Music History

Jan 8 Joseph Papp's revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta "The Pirates of Penzance", starring Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith, and Kevin Kline, opens at the Uris Theater, NYC; runs for 772 performances and wins a Tony Award

Premiere of Dynasty

Jan 12 Soap opera "Dynasty" produced by Aaron Spelling and starring John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins premieres on ABC-TV

  • Jan 15 Police drama "Hill Street Blues" premieres on NBC-TV

Birthdays in Film & TV

  • Jan 1 Eden Riegel, American actress (All My Children), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Jan 1 Jonas Armstrong, Irish-born British actor (Robin Hood), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Jan 5 Brooklyn Sudano, American actress, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jan 6 Jérémie Renier, Belgian actor, born in Brussels, Belgium
  • Jan 6 Rinko Kikuchi, Japanese actress, born in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
  • Jan 13 Shad Gaspard, American professional wrestler, bodyguard, and actor, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2020)
  • Jan 17 Ray J [William Ray Norwood Jr.], American singer and actor (Everything You Want), born in McComb, Mississippi
  • Jan 17 Scott Mechlowicz, American actor, born in New York
  • Jan 18 Kang Dong-won, South Korean model & actor, born in Busan, South Korea
  • Jan 19 Elizabeth "Bitsie" Tulloch, American actress (Grimm; Superman & Lois), born in San Diego, California
  • Jan 20 Crystal Lowe, Canadian actress & model, born in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Jan 21 Andy Lee [Lee Sun-ho], Korean K-pop singer (Shinhwa), and actor, born in Seoul, South Korea
  • Jan 21 Izabella Miko, Polish-born actress and model
  • Jan 22 Beverley Mitchell, American actress, born in Arcadia, California
  • Jan 22 Willa Ford [Amanda Lee Williford], American pop singer, and actress, born in Ruskin, Florida

Elijah Wood (42 years old)

Jan 28 American actor (The Good Son, The Lord of the Rings), born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Jan 29 Darío Lopilato, Argentine actor, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Jan 29 Tenoch Huerta, Mexican actor (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), born in Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico

Justin Timberlake (42 years old)

Jan 31 American singer-songwriter ("Can't Stop The Feeling!"; "Sexyback"), and actor (Friends With Benefits), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • Jan 31 Sergio D. Acosta, American Chicano Filmmaker, born in San Jose, California

Weddings in Film & TV

Bill Murray

Jan 25 Actor Bill Murray (30) weds Margaret Kelly on Super Bowl Sunday in Las Vegas; divorce in 1994

Deaths in Film & TV

  • Jan 2 David Lynch, American singer (Platters - "Twilight Time"; "Only You"; "The Great Pretender"), dies of cancer at 51
  • Jan 8 Matthew Beard, American actor (Our Gang shorts - "Stymie"). dies of pneumonia after a stroke and fall, at 56
  • Jan 8 Woody Chamblis, American actor (Mr Lathrop-Gunsmoke), dies at 66
  • Jan 10 Richard Boone, American actor (The Richard Boone Show, Have Gun Will Travel), dies of throat cancer at 63
  • Jan 11 Beulah Bondi, American actress (It's a Wonderful Life), dies at 88
  • Jan 12 Isobel Elsom, actress (Unseen, Jane Eyre, Illegal), dies at 87
  • Jan 16 Bernard Lee, British actor (M in James Bond movies, Fallen Idol, Dr No), dies at 73
  • Jan 21 Allyn Joslyn, American actor (They Won't Forget; Cafe Society), dies at 79
  • Jan 25 Richard Talmadge, actor (Speed Reporter), dies