The Famous 50 - 2013
Who's up? Who's Down? Pat Grandjean dishes on 50 of Connecticut's best-known celebs.
(page 2 of 5)
11. GEORGINA CHAPMAN In addition to that little film project she’s doing with Ron Howard and that minor benefit she and husband Harvey Weinstein threw for President Obama in August, Marchesa’s Chapman—who specializes in red carpet couture for folks like Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bullock and Halle Berry—has created a “must-have” T-shirt (at $110 each) for deep-pocketed New York Jets fans, with a logo made of black Swarovski beads and pearls. Now she’s reportedly being inundated with offers from rival NFL teams.
12. JUDITH SHEINDLIN Fans admire her common sense, fairness and knowledge of the law—so we suppose that it was inevitable that someone posted a petition on Change.org proposing she moderate one of this year’s presidential election debates. Alas, only 50 people signed said petition, hardly an impressive showing for a woman whose signature show, “Judge Judy,” is still the highest-rated daytime TV series on the air. “Judge Judy” marked its 17th season this fall by broadcasting in HD; meanwhile, the professional mentoring program that Sheindlin and her daughter Nicole started for high school senior girls in Westchester County, N.Y.—called Her Honor—is back in session for its sixth year.
13. JIM NANTZ Yup, the veteran CBS sportscaster has called everything from The Super Bowl to The Masters golf tournament (and even some winter Olympics). But, thanks to an alliance forged with Greenwich neighbor and wine importer Peter Deutsch, of W.J. Deutsch & Sons—the man who made America love Yellow Tail—Nantz has now fulfilled a decade-long dream of launching his own label, The Calling. He and Deutsch have developed four varietals: Dutton Ranch Chardonnay ($30 a bottle); Rio Lago Cabernet Sauvignon ($35), Jewel Vineyard Chardonnay ($40) and Our Tribute Red Blend ($60). What better way to toast Super Bowl XLVII?
14. CONAN O’BRIEN Is Conan getting serious? Nah. Sure, he launched a Charlie Rose-style web show (“Serious Jibber-Jabber”) on his official site, Team Coco, in September—it debuted with a lengthy one-on-one with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edmund Morris—and accepted an honorary patronage from Trinity College of Dublin’s Philosophical Society the following month. But this is still the guy who made good on a promise to celebrate a successful donation drive to Autism Speaks (the goal: $100,000) by hosting his late-night TBS show in a full-body, bright orange spray tan; looking, as he put it, “like a member of the ‘Jersey Shore’ cast with acute hepatitis.”
15. PAUL SIMON This was Simon’s year to celebrate two silver anniversaries: the release of his seminal album Graceland, which was marked with a spring tour and a 25th anniversary box-set edition; and his charitable organization The Children’s Health Fund, which has helped 350,000 needy kids in America receive crucial medical care. An October fund-raising blowout at Radio City Music Hall, featured Stevie Wonder, Sting, James Taylor, Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Simon’s wife, Edie Brickell. As for the future, Simon told National Geographic that he was getting into the music of Mali and NASA’s recordings of sounds from space.
16. NICOLLE WALLACE This fall, the political novelist and former GOP strategist—who had worked as President George W. Bush’s communications chief, communications director of his 2004 reelection campaign and senior adviser (along with her husband, Mark) to the 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign—joined ABC News as political analyst-contributor. Her role in the 2008 campaign was immortalized in the Emmy-winning HBO movie Game Change, which she has called “true enough to make me squirm.” She and Mark, who served as Bush’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, welcomed their first child, Liam, to the family in January.
17. BARRY LEVINSON The defining quality of Levinson as a film director is that as much as he loves to work in well-traveled genres—political satires (Wag the Dog), biopics (Bugsy), coming-of-age stories (Diner), feel-good epics (The Natural)—he often manages to revitalize them at the same time. That explains all the appreciation he’s gotten for this fall’s brutal The Bay, a pseudodocumentary-style ecological horror film built on “found footage” that makes predecessors like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project look like dopey child’s play. He’s also struggling to overcome bad karma: Gotti: Three Generations, which stalled when co-star John Travolta’s on-set masseurs accused him of sexual assault. But new offers keep coming Levinson’s way, such as a biopic of baseball’s Hank Aaron and a drama about the Oklahoma City bombing.
18. DUSTIN HOFFMAN Looks like he might finally be emerging from Meet the Fockers/Kung Fu Panda limbo. His directorial debut Quartet—starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins—earned him honors from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Hollywood Film Awards, at which he was given the Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award. With a Dec. 28 limited release date (the film goes wide Jan. 4), Hoffman might even win an Oscar nod. Whether he does or not, he still has starring roles in The Contortionist’s Handbook (with Channing Tatum) and The Song of Names (co-starring Anthony Hopkins) to look forward to.
19. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN As usual, he keeps piling up movie offers like matchsticks. Seven Psychopaths won him kudos as dognapper Hans; next year will bring Stand Up Guys (with Al Pacino and Alan Arkin) and Freezing People Is Easy (with Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson). However, at press time our favorite Walken performance ever was “Cooking with Walken,” a segment for the website Funny or Die in which he prepared a chicken from Stew Leonard’s in his Westport home, accompanied by Bridgeport native Richard Belzer, as well as Belzer’s dog and mandolin-playing son-in-law. Somebody find this guy his own planet, stat.
20. CHRISTINE BARANSKI Around the time of the 2012 Emmy Awards she was doing a lot of promotion for “The Good Wife,” noting that the CBS drama’s fourth season would be “cataclysmic” for the law firm of Lockhart & Gardner. Her onscreen power as Diane, she told The New York Times, translates to real life: “I’m getting a lot more respect when I order my smoothies.” Just think of the respect she’ll get when she finally earns a drama Emmy of her own to bookend the one she won for “Cybill” in 1995—maybe a third nom in 2013 will prove to be the charm.