Our Famous 50: 2011
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11. KEITH RICHARDS: We’ve said he doesn’t have to do anything to make this list, and we stand by that. But isn’t it just like him to then go out and win raves for his autobiography (Life)? And is Disney really going to cut his scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides because of what he wrote in the book about his drug use? That’s like punishing the pope for writing about being Catholic.
12. CONAN O’BRIEN: At press time it was still not clear whether Coco’s TV return would save us all from late-night mediocrity, but not for lack of promotion: Blimps flying over baseball stadiums during TBS’ coverage of the 2010 playoffs! Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair features! First show rehearsals streamed on the Internet! Next time out, Linda McMahon should make Conan her campaign manager.
13. KYRA SEDGWICK: Cable TV’s highest-paid woman actor finally scored that Emmy after five noms for “The Closer”; a new “mini-season” of episodes is airing on TNT this month. She returned to Broadway in November—for the first time in more than 10 years—in the Urban Arts Partnership benefit “24 Hour Plays.”
14. DENIS LEARY: Season the last for “Rescue Me” is around the corner, but fear not for Leary: Apostle, his TV and film production company with Jim Serpico, is currently planning two series for CBS (a med drama, “Cross Roads,” and a crime show, “Mind Games”) as well as a cop show for The CW (“Trigger”). Apostle has also launched a New York City management company for aspiring standup comedians. And last month, Team LFF—Leary Firefighters Foundation—ran for the second year in the ING New York City marathon.
15. PATTI LUPONE: We’re hoping that Broadway’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the musical (based on the 1987 Almodóvar film) that opened at the Belasco Theatre last month with LuPone as Lucia, is thriving. If not, she won high marks—and settled a few scores—with Patti LuPone: A Memoir ($26, Crown Archetype), and HBO’s still mulling what to do with her series pilot, “The Miraculous Year” (produced and directed by 2010 Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow).
16. RON HOWARD: Aptly titled (given the controversy that erupted over the gay joke in its trailer), Howard’s January 2011 release The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder(!), still looks like a comedy powerhouse. Expectations are that he will also direct Colossus: The Forbin Project, a remake of the 1970 sci-fier, with star Will Smith.
17. HARVEY WEINSTEIN: This is shaping up as an obscenely good year for the Weinstein Co., which has just installed a new financing division and is awaiting the impact of the audience-catnippy, NC-17 rated Blue Valentine and the Oscar-baity The King’s Speech. Most recent big development: That production of August: Osage County with Streep and Roberts.
18. DUSTIN HOFFMAN: Looks like Hoffman’s getting his groove back in time to raise our holiday spirits. He’ll be in Little Fockers at Christmastime (though he left the movie earlier this year, he was lured back to do six scenes for a rumored $7.5 million) as well as yet another new HBO series, “Luck”—this one about the horse-racing scene (Nick Nolte co-stars; Michael Mann directs). The big buzz is that he’ll earn an Oscar nom for his supporting turn in Barney’s Version, out Jan. 7 (son Jake is also in the cast).
19. CHRIS BERMAN: After 30 years, he remains the face and voice of ESPN—and absolutely true to the fan-friendly, lucky-to-have-such-a-good-seat observer he’s been since day one. He’s also more “Connecticut” than most of the others on the list: born here, raised his kids here, participates in many, many state events.
20. GARRY TRUDEAU: He celebrated “Doonesbury”’s official 40th anniversary Oct. 26; Yale, his alma mater, celebrated it Nov. 3, declaring “Doonesbury Day” and inviting him back to speak on the Beinecke Library exhibit Doonesbury in a Time of War (on display through Dec. 17). Added celebrations: Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau by Brian Walker (Yale University Press; $49.95) and 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective (Andrews McMeel Publishing; $100).