Our Famous 50: 2011
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31. MAURICE SENDAK: Where the Wild Things Are continues to be honored: In October, Barnes & Noble’s Online Storytime program featured a new reading of the classic children’s tale by Sendak himself. Wild Things film director Spike Jonze co-produced the author’s latest project—a movie short titled Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life.
32. WANDA SYKES: Her talk show may have been short-lived, but Sykes has become a force against homophobia, speaking out against bullying on “Larry King Live” and joining Cyndi Lauper’s “Give a Damn” campaign.
33. BRIAN DENNEHY: Talk about inevitable: This fall, the Irish American Writers & Artists Inc. awarded Dennehy their Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually to an Irish or Irish-American artist whose body of work places him or her among the all-time greats. In 2011, he’ll play the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Pinter’s The Homecoming.
34. REGIS PHILBIN: Whether you love him or are irrationally annoyed by him, Reege is still the talk-show host with the most—his 5 million viewers tune in to see him vandalize Manhattan with Pee-wee Herman, dish with David Arquette about his split with Courteney Cox and dress as a Kardashian for Halloween.
35. KEVIN BACON: You know you’re a pop-culture icon when: A sculpture of your face, composed of seven bottles of bacon bits, is auctioned on eBay (with proceeds going to Ashley’s Team, a children’s cancer charity) and you get to star as yourself, “a highly evolved actor”—determined to produce and star in a movie adaptation of SuperRay, the comic book hero with a superpowered penis—in HBO’s “Bored to Death.”
36. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: Since Nine quickly faded from view, so has DD-L. We were hoping rumors of him playing Moriarty in Guy Ritchie’s sequel to Sherlock Holmes might be true, but no dice. In July, he received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Bristol (he attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in his youth).
37. SAM WATERSTON: He lost his mojo—somewhat—with NBC’s cancellation of “Law & Order” last season. But he’s Broadway-bound in The Old Masters, which gets its U.S. premiere at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre next month.
38. A.R. GURNEY: Gurney reunited with director Mark Lamos and Lincoln Center (both staged his 2002 play about tennis player Bill Tilden, Big Bill) this summer for the world premiere of The Grand Manner, his nostalgic look back at the golden days of Broadway and his youthful encounter with grand dame Katharine Cornell. A second world premiere, Office Hours, played this fall at off-off-Broadway’s Flea Theatre. Keep ’em coming, Pete!
39. MIA FARROW: The big film news for UNICEF’s outstanding Goodwill Ambassador is her casting in Todd Solondz’s offbeat drama Dark Horse, opposite Christopher Walken and Selma Blair. You can catch up with her humanitarian work on behalf of Chad, Darfur and the Central African Republic at miafarrow.org.
40. STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: It’s always something new with this guy. This month he’s making his bow as musical producer with The Blue Flower, a fusion of Weimar cabaret and country-western premiering at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. Look for Wicked on big screens in 2012; the question on everyone’s minds is who will direct: Rob Marshall (Chicago) or Ryan Murphy (“Glee”)?