Our Famous 50: 2011
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21. PAUL SIMON: Honored by Arts Horizons in October, he’ll join Julie Andrews at the kickoff of the “Kennedy Celebrations” on Jan. 20, a concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration and his commitment to the arts. A new album release, So Beautiful or So What, is also imminent.
22. OLIVER PLATT: Platt’s riding high these days with regular roles in Showtime’s “The Big C” and HBO’s “Bored to Death” and an acclaimed turn in the fall film romcom Love & Other Drugs. Looks like he’s joined a popular superhero franchise, too—look for him in X-Men: First Class next June.
23. GRAYDON CARTER: Even Vanity Fair editor/restaurateur/perennial haute monde-ite Carter boasts a connection to one of HBO’s seemingly way too many new series prospects this year: He’s allegedly the model for the media mogul characterized in a comedy pilot penned by his former Spy magazine co-creator Kurt Andersen and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
24. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN: Won a 2010 Tony nomination for A Behanding in Spokane. Right now, the indie film journeyman is shooting Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse with Mia Farrow; Kill the Irishman—about real-life Irish mob boss Danny Greene—played Cannes this year and may be in theaters next March.
25. DON IMUS: He deserves this slot for his kitschy-great taste in music alone (not to mention his good intentions with it). In October, he released The Imus Ranch Record II—benefitting his charity for kids with cancer—featuring songs by Warren Zevon, Bob Dylan and Meat Loaf, sung by the likes of Sam Moore, Kinky Friedman and Levon Helm.
26. ROB ZOMBIE: He plans to move from sheer horror to a li’l bit of classic witchery with his next film, The Lords of Salem (by the way, movie moguls, he’s told NJ.com that he’d love to do a remake of Frankenstein for anybody who’s got the dime). The UK’s rabid Zombiemaniacs are in for a treat in February, when he plays a handful of live solo dates.
27. ANN COULTER: Seems a long time since she’s produced any cheesecake-covered anti-liberal screeds for the bookshelves. She’s still in fighting form, however: defending GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s anti-gay remarks while, at the same time, speaking at Homocon 2010, a fundraiser hosted by conservative organization GOProud. Don’t worry, she still managed to insult them.
28. BARRY LEVINSON: Last year, he directed Al Pacino in an Emmy Award-winning performance as Jack Kevorkian in the HBO film You Don’t Know Jack; next he’ll executive produce the HBO biopic of Phil Spector starring Pacino and written/directed by David Mamet. Also in the works: the sci-fi drama Isopod, about an ecological disaster in his native Maryland.
29. LISA LAMPANELLI: Well, they tied it. Will brand-new hubby Jimmy “BB” Cannizzaro, a nice Long Island bar owner, soften the mean in the Queen? Not if she can resist a guy (we couldn’t) who thinks she has “the kindest eyes” and told her he loved her at a Yankees game. Get the inside marital scoop at her Foxwoods’ MGM Grand show Dec. 18.
30. RENEE ZELLWEGER: We’ll give this Oscar winner big props for devoting lots of energy to supporting cancer research, and (because we’re shallow) little ones for staying on the very nice arm of The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper. Given the current state of her film career, however, we’re inclined to award her the “Oscar Veterans’ Wha’ Happened?” Prize for 2011.