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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31. MICHAEL J. FOX Perhaps the only thing more gratifying than the spontaneous, heartfelt standing O Fox received at the 2012 Grammy Awards—he’d been nominated for two different guest shots last season on “The Good Wife” and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”—is the news that he’ll be back in his own prime-time comedy series next fall (NBC has committed to airing a full 22-episode season sight unseen). Meanwhile, still a hugely influential role model for those with Parkinson’s and other disabling diseases, he provided inspiration aplenty in his appearance at this year’s Atlantic Dream Festival, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

32. JASPER JOHNS Prior to the 2012 presidential election, Johns participated in an initiative called “Artists4Obama”—along with Richard Serra, John Baldessari, Ann Hamilton and 15 others—for which he made prints of his 1961 lithograph “Map” available to art collectors for $28,000 (a particular bargain given that prints of his works have been known to sell for up to $75,000). A new book by Veronica Kavass, Artists in Love, details his 1955-61 affair with Robert Rauschenberg.

33. KYRA SEDGWICK She exited “The Closer” leaving ’em wanting more, and fans are excited about seeing her as Marian Carr in the movie Kill Your Darlings, about the 1944 murder that brought beat poets Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) together—it also stars David Cross, Michael C. Hall and Martha Marcy May Marlene’s Elizabeth Olsen. Sedgwick, along with her husband, Kevin Bacon, and Meryl Streep, is part of the Center for Reproductive Rights’ “Draw the Line” campaign, and has been speaking out about the dangers of plastic water bottles.

34. KEVIN BACON Just how gory is “The Following,” Bacon’s highly anticipated new Fox series, in which he stars as a hard-drinking ex-FBI agent on the trail of a charismatic literature professor turned serial killer/cult leader (James Purefoy)? No matter—we suspect its January debut will easily win fans of the star and creator Kevin Williamson (of “Dawson’s Creek” and Scream franchise fame).

35. GIANCARLO ESPOSITO  Looks like he who got blown up on “Breaking Bad” has since landed on his feet. He’s gone from playing criminal mastermind Gus Fring on the AMC show—which earned him a 2012 Emmy nom—to a stint as murderous militia member Capt. Tom Neville on NBC’s current breakout hit “Revolution,” and while critics seem ambivalent about the series, they love Giancarlo. Icing the cake this year was his role in the October movie Alex Cross, Tyler Perry’s take on author James Patterson’s serial-killer hunter. Esposito seems well-positioned to join the Hollywood A-list before long, and about time.

36. SAM WATERSTON Now an integral part of HBO’s “The Newsroom” (as TV news division president Charlie Skinner), Waterston, like many Connecticut celebs, has ramped up his activism during this election year. Alongside fellow Litchfield County-ans Christine Baranski and Oliver Platt, he performed at Vice President Joe Biden’s October fundraiser for President Obama in Kent—and also went anti-Citizens United by making a video pitch on behalf of Fair Elections for New York, a state campaign backed by a coalition of labor unions, environmental organizations and good-government groups. In January, he’ll be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame with actress Betty Buckley, director Trevor Nunn and playwright Christopher Durang.

37. OLIVER PLATT  This year, he’s moved from helping retrieve the 12 bronze heads of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac—Jackie Chan’s December film release—to mucking about with the 12 top deities on Mount Olympus in Gods Behaving Badly (which we’d heard about for so long, we doubted it would ever hit the streets, but it finally filmed this fall). Platt was recently seen in the family comedy-drama The Oranges, and at Stanley Tucci’s fall wedding to literary agent Felicity Blunt (he was a groomsman). And yes, he’ll be back for the final season of Showtime’s “The Big C.”

38. STEPHEN SCHWARTZ He participated in the re-imagination and revival of the musical Working, playing through the end of the month at off-Broadway’s Prospect Theater Company, and has been hired as lyricist for Dreamworks’ Mumbai Musical, based on the Indian epic Ramayana and debuting on movie screens in 2015 (ostensibly the first animated film done Bollywood-style). As a cool sidenote, he’s contributed to a new audio-guided walking tour of Broadway, sharing personal anecdotes and music with listeners along the way.

39. BRIAN DENNEHY Theater-mad as always, Dennehy just starred in the off-Broadway Culture Project’s 10th-anniversary production of The Exonerated—an award-winning dramatization of the real-life stories of six death-row inmates ultimately declared innocent and released from prison—along with rotating celebs Stockard Channing, Steve Earle, Delroy Lindo and Brooke Shields. Next summer, he’ll star in Waiting for Godot at the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for his guest shot this season on “The Good Wife.”

40. TOM BERGERON In an era when reality-show hosts range from sappy (“Extreme Home Makeover”’s Ty Pennington) to rankly obnoxious (Simon Cowell) to simply “Whaaa . . .?” (Donald Trump), Bergeron’s laid-back Mr. Congeniality-with-a-side-of-knowing-snark routine is welcome, especially amidst the cheesy insanity of “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” They should have awarded him that 2012 prime-time Emmy years ago.

The Famous 50 - 2013

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