The Famous 50

 

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21. TOMMY HILFIGER: Connecticut’s most famous brand name snapped up a $31 million manse in Greenwich and saw Tommy Hilfiger Corp. sold for $3 billion to PHV Group (he’d sold out his share earlier). His designing work continues to draw attention, but that’s apparently not enough. He now says he’d also like to design and manufacture furniture and buy a luxury hotel.
 

22. GARRY TRUDEAU: He’s got a juicy new site (doonesbury.com), hosted by Slate, that links you to every “Doonesbury” strip ever published (and even incorporates “Bull Tales,” The Yale Daily News’ still lovingly remembered precursor). “Doonesbury” also raised a new brouhaha this year by revealing material from Joe McGinniss’ Sarah Palin bio, The Rogue, that had been embargoed by daily newspapers across the country.
 

23. CHRIS BERMAN: The voice, the energy and the sense of fun are still strong in this ESPN mainstay. And he’s never gotten so big for his britches that he’s stopped showing up for fundraisers, charity outings and other local events all across Connecticut.
 

24. GRETCHEN CARLSON: Since Glenn Beck’s departure from Fox (and Nutmegland), she’s the No. 1 Connecticut target of political media snarkmeisters, from “The Daily Show” to Gawker, which called her “a bewigged slab of fried rice pudding” in response to her dissing of the Obama administration’s healthier school-food initiatives. But she’s still cherished by more than one million dedicated Fox News viewers, who wake up with “Fox & Friends” daily.
 

25. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN: You say you’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Walken? Well, we’d bet you’re gonna get saved this year, as everyone’s favorite onscreen character has seven—count ’em—new movies in various stages of production, including: Gods Behaving Badly (he’s Zeus), A Late Quartet (with Philip Seymour Hoffman), The Boom Boom Room (with Shirley MacLaine) and the comedy Seven Psychopaths (with Colin Farrell and Mickey Rourke). It’s only his spirit that lives in the recent YouTube homage, a parody of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” in which a worldwide virus turns people into not zombies, but Walken impersonators.
 

26. DENIS LEARY: After seven seasons as lead visionary of “Rescue Me,” he’s in The Amazing Spider-Man? Really? Not that he seems out of place in the Tiffany-caliber cast—Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Campbell Scott—of this reinvented franchise, set to launch next Fourth of July weekend. But unless there’s something we don’t know, playing the police captain father of Peter Parker’s doomed true love Gwen Stacy sounds, er, pretty marginal. Perhaps he just wanted the “stupid money” from this and the Ice Age sequel to fund his production company Apostle’s ongoing projects—including the TV shows in development for his “first-look” deal with CBS Networks.
 

27. ROB ZOMBIE: Now, here’s a director we’ll salute: He’s assembled a pretty rad cast for 2012’s The Lords of Salem—beloved E.T. mom and current “scream queen” Dee Wallace, former Tim Burton regular Lisa Marie, Bruce Dern, even 1980s horror movie legend Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond)—given that the budget’s a tidy $1.5 million.
 

28. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: The reluctant thespian has re-entered the limelight (that’s a capital “L”) for the first time since Nine to star in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, due in theaters in December 2012. Then he’ll reunite with Martin Scorsese for the historical epic Silence, concerning the travails of 17th-century Jesuit priests who traveled to Japan to spread Christianity.
 

29. MARLO THOMAS: That girl is currently treading the Broadway boards—after nearly 20 years away—in Relatively Speaking, a trio of one-act plays by the winning combination of Ethan Coen, Woody Allen and Elaine May. And she’s a regular columnist for The Huffington Post.
 

30. MAURICE SENDAK: It’s rare that you admire an author of children’s books for being “uncompromising,” but the description fits octogenarian Sendak to a “T.” It may cost him readers among the junior set—and there have been reports that bookstores and libraries are more reluctant to stock his latest, Bumble-Ardy, than 2011 book releases by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein—but his dark, outlandish humor is why no one we know has claimed to outgrow him.

The Famous 50

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