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July 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Victor Garber!

by Allyssa Lee, posted Mar 16th 2010 12:00PM
Pop culture fans might know him as the intriguingly bristly spy daddy Jack Bristow from 'Alias.' Or perhaps as the benevolent shipbuilder who warned Kate Winslet about the lifeboats in 'Titanic.' Or as the guy who took over Albert Finney's spot as Daddy Warbucks in that television version of the musical 'Annie.' Whatever your introduction to Victor Garber, you know that there is just something about the TV, movie and stage actor that is indelibly irresistible. Victor Garber is like the acting version of bacon: he has a tendency to make everything he's in that much better. He acts. He sings. He kicks some major ass. And what's more, he looks great doing it.

He of the dulcet singing voice, boyish good looks and dashing demeanor is turning an august 61 years old today, and we can think of no better way to celebrate Victor Garber than by having our own Victor Garber appreciation day.

Victor Garber, how do we adore thee? Let us count the ways.Pop culture fans might know him as the intriguingly bristly spy daddy Jack Bristow from 'Alias.' Or perhaps as the benevolent shipbuilder who warned Kate Winslet about the lifeboats in 'Titanic.' Or as the guy who took over Albert Finney's spot as Daddy Warbucks in that television version of the musical 'Annie.' Whatever your introduction to Victor Garber, you know that there is just something about the TV, movie and stage actor that is indelibly irresistible. Victor Garber is like the acting version of bacon: he has a tendency to make everything he's in that much better. He acts. He sings. He kicks some major ass. And what's more, he looks great doing it.

He of the dulcet singing voice, boyish good looks and dashing demeanor is turning an august 61 years old today, and we can think of no better way to celebrate Victor Garber than by having our own Victor Garber appreciation day.

Victor Garber, how do we adore thee? Let us count the ways.

First of all, here's a guy who has honed his craft far from the Hollywood spotlight. Unbeknownst to those who have seen him only on TV and in the movies, Garber was an accomplished actor on the stage well before he made the transition to celluloid. The native of London, Ontario, made his way south from the Great White North to the Great White Way, appearing in the original productions of 'Deathtrap' 'Sweeney Todd' and a revival of 'Damn Yankees,' all the while earning an impressive four Tony nominations for his efforts.


Those of us who didn't have a chance to see him perform live made do with moments of Garber greatness captured on film, like when he played Jesus in 'Godspell' back in 1973. Or when we were introduced to his buckets o' talent in one of his many memorable bit parts, like the exceedingly competent servant Ferguson on 'Frasier' (a role that earned him an Emmy nomination) or the doomed shipbuilder in 1997's 'Titanic.' Even in the small supporting role as the benevolent Thomas Andrews, Garber stood out amidst marquee stars and a big sinking boat.

But it's his steely turn as the bristling Jack Bristow, double agent and all around badass, that finally established him on the national radar and endeared us to Garber forever. Despite Jack's stoic demeanor, there was no denying this double agent's love for his daughter, Sydney. And Garber played his Emmy-nominated role winningly: The ultimate protector was short on words but made up for it with his actions, which made him a father who succeeded in being both detachedly cool and incredibly hot. Check out this scene from the show's final season, where the fatally wounded Jack so valiantly says farewell to his daughter (even standing up to say goodbye at the end -- sob!). It still has us reaching for the tissues to this day.


After 'Alias' came a lead role in the short-lived Fox legal show 'Justice' as well as a role as a priest in 'The Last Templar.' And then he won our hearts all over again and then some as the ambitious, benevolent Jordan Wethersby, legal partner and mentor to Jonny Lee Miller's titular character on 'Eli Stone.' Wethersby himself was blend a cool attorney reserve and all out fantastical performance, which served as a perfect vehicle for Garber to put his acting and singing chops front and center. And while ABC sadly took the unconventionally quirky series away in its second season, at least we can console ourselves with clips of Garber's stirring choral rendition of George Michael's 'Freedom.' Or this lovely cover of 'Who'll Stop the Rain,' which made us yearn for white flowy garments and color-coordinated umbrella choreography.


What makes Garber so great is that he's a guy who infuses everything that he does with an intelligence and a sincerity that never feels put on. He even makes lasciviousness fun, like when he played the skeevy Professor Callahan in 2001's 'Legally Blonde.'

What's more, he just seems like a really cool, down-to-earth guy. He interviews with winning, witty aplomb and appears to charm the pants off of even the prickliest interviewers. He doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. And this guy is all about spreading the love: He even got ordained as a minister to preside over 'Alias' costar Jennifer Garner's wedding to Ben Affleck. Seriously, how could anyone not be head over heels for this guy?


Happy birthday, Victor Garber. Thanks for being so awesome. And while you're presently racking up raves in the Broadway revival of Noel Coward's 'Present Laughter,' we miss seeing you on our televisions week after week (that guest spot you did on 'Glee' was great, but so short. And no singing!). Here's hoping that you'll find something worthy of your many talents, and that you'll grace us with another memorable role on the small screen soon.

Do you share our Victor Garber affection? When did you first fall in love with him?

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