The Famous 50 - 2013

Who's up? Who's Down? Pat Grandjean dishes on 50 of Connecticut's best-known celebs.


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21. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE He held his own in Trouble with the Curve against veteran scene stealers Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, and cinemawise, 2013 looks like an even bigger year, with the release of Inside Llewyn Davis, Runner, Runner (opposite Ben Affleck) and The Last Drop. Timberlake also signalled that his Teen Beat heartthrob days are well and truly over by marrying his girlfriend of five years, actress Jessica Biel.

22. PHILIP ROTH Another raft of Nobel Prize announcements came and went, and again the crickets chirped, leading the Vanity Fair blog VF Daily to call him the “Susan Lucci of the Nobel Prize in Literature.” A different feather in his cap—an official biography, to be published by W.W. Norton & Co.—will be written by Blake Bailey, John Cheever’s award-winning biographer. Bailey will be working with Roth’s full cooperation, including extensive interviews and unrestricted access to the author’s papers and unpublished works.

23. MATT LAUER Last year at this time, Lauer was undisputed top dog of morning TV; but his fortunes seemed to have turned on a dime, thanks to the unfortunate removal of Ann Curry as his co-host. NBC’s “Today” ratings came in second to ABC’s “Good Morning America” for the first time since 1995, and because viewers believed that Lauer was the one to shove Curry off her perch, his TV “Q”—or popularity rating—dropped 25 percent (according to the New York Daily News). Time will tell whether NBC execs’ recent attempts to absolve Lauer of guilt will have any effect.

24. TOMMY HILFIGER Fall is the time Hilfiger reveals not only his spring collections—his 2013 golf apparel lines for men and women draw inspiration from the Arizona desert, the nautical vibe of Bar Harbor and the sun and sand of Palm Beach—but his better self. This October, for the sixth year in a row, he partnered with Breast Health International to promote his $298 limited-edition BHI handbag ($100 from every bag sold helps cover costs for women with breast cancer that insurance plans won’t). His helpmates in this initiative are actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg, who stars in a promotional video, and Drew Barrymore, who filmed it.

25. DENIS LEARY His Apostle Productions is behind two just-cast comedy series pilots: “Sirens,” for the USA network, concerning the behind-the-scenes lives of three Chicago EMTs (including “Pan Am” alum Michael Mosley and “Modern Family”’s Kevin Daniels)—“Rescue Me” redux, anyone?—and “Bronx Warrants,” for FX, which revolves around a group of less- than-ethical warrant detectives. Just in time for the holiday season, he’s released a brand-new profane “children’s book,” Denis Leary’s Merry F***in’ Christmas, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the Leary Firefighters Foundation.  

26. STEPHEN SONDHEIM Now that practically all of his major musicals have been revived on and off Broadway for the past decade, Sondheim-mania on stage seems to have cooled a bit. A bit, we said: Everyone loved Keen Company’s ardent off-Broadway revival of his odds ’n’ sods revue Marry Me a Little; in February, off-Broadway’s renowned Classic Stage Company will mount a new production of Passion. Into the Woods is headed to the big screen with star Meryl Streep—if it’s a hit, expect Sondheim to conquer Hollywood, too.

27. GARRY TRUDEAU Evidence that Trudeau has lost none of his incisive point of view or trademark effrontery after 40-plus years came last March, when his oh-so-“liberal” Doonesbury set off a firestorm over a week of strips created in response to state laws requiring women who seek abortions to undergo transvaginal ultrasound. Some newspapers pulled the cartoons altogether, citing “graphic language and inappropriate images” (words like “contraceptive,” “sonogram” and “genitals,” and a drawing of a transvaginal wand did turn up); others relegated the strips to their Internet sites—because, as we all know, online readership is so much more select.

28. CHRIS BERMAN  Few sports fans are indifferent to “Boomer”: The New York Daily News recently saluted ESPN’s most familiar face as “one of the few 300-pound gorillas left in an industry populated by assembly-line drones frantically searching for the next great pop culture/sports cliché.” On the other hand, the website Awful Announcing has skewered him gleefully for years, currently coming close to putting him on its “Mount Rushmore” of badness. Meanwhile, ESPN marked Berman’s 33rd anniversary with the network by signing him to a new multiyear contract. Love him or not, he’s a superstar.

29. LAURA LINNEY  After a couple of release-date shifts (and showcases at both the Toronto International and New York film festivals), Hyde Park on Hudson is finally set for an early December release. Linney has soldiered on in Showtime’s “The Big C,” even starring in a print PSA (for Stand Up to Cancer and the Melanoma Research Alliance) designed to raise awareness about the dangers of unprotected exposure to UV rays. In other good works, she spent a day in September with “Broadway Builds” helping revitalize eight homes in a multifamily building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to promote Habitat for Humanity.

30. MARLO THOMAS Yup, she still has clout aplenty. Though she was slated to star this fall in the play Clever Little Lies at New Jersey’s esteemed George Street Playhouse, that project got pushed aside when Thomas was offered a recurring role in the NBC sitcom “The New Normal.” At which point the Clever creative team happily put things on hold until she’s available again. And her vlog “Mondays with Marlo”­—carried on Huffington Post—features good advice from the likes of chef Rocco DiSpirito, parenting expert Carrie Goldman and fashion guru Bobbie Thomas.

The Famous 50 - 2013

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