The Famous 50

 

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Who are Connecticut’s 50 hottest celebrities? Here’s this year’s list, the ranking based on standing in their fields, recent accomplishments and, well, buzz! And, yes, they all live in Connecticut, at least part of the time.

1. Meryl Streep: Her bravura turn in Julie & Julia, voice work in Fantastic Mr. Fox and big-buzz role in the rom-com It’s Complicated make Streep the screen actor who owned the year 2009. Just like nearly every other year for the last, uh, 30.

2. Glenn Beck: All he needs is tears and a blackboard. Recently named the Anti-Defamation League’s No. 1 Right-wing bad boy, he’s also the No. 1 meal ticket at Fox News, earning bigger viewer numbers than CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined.

3. Johnny Depp: Now that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Alice in Wonderland and The Rum Diary are in the can, what will People magazine’s 2009 Sexiest Man Alive do next? The Incredible Mr. Limpet? The Lone Ranger? Pirates of the Caribbean 4? The fact that he makes us care is why he’s No. 3.

4. Justin Timberlake: His sexy never left. Both his solo albums have sold more than 9 million; he’s got six Grammys, two Emmys and a movie career (look for him soon in The Social Network).

5. Renee Zellweger: Streep, Linney and Sedgwick all seem thoroughly modern dames, but something about Zellweger suggests she’s time-traveled the 20th century to drop at the new millennium’s doorstep: Few can rock a 1920s con-woman (Chicago) or an Audrey Hepburn dress (Jerry Maguire) as convincingly as she.

6. Jim Nantz: Anchoring the trifecta of Super Bowl XLIV, the NCAA men’s basketball finals and The Masters golf tournament for CBS will make Nantz a ubiquitous TV presence in 2010—maybe even enough to make people forget one of 2009’s ugliest-but-most-interesting divorce proceedings.

7. Philip Roth: The New York Times castigated Mr. Book-a-Year Pulitzer-winner for his latest, The Humbling, calling it “lazy” and “lacking his genius.” Hardly matters. He’s as lionesque as the literati get—in critic Harold Bloom’s words, “one of the four major American novelists still at work.” So for the luvva Herta Müller and Orhan Pamuk, will someone please give this man the Nobel?

8. Brian Williams: Coolly confident and silky-smooth as NBC news anchor, but never takes himself too seriously (despite being recipient of last year’s Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism). Could have a second career on “SNL” or the inevitable “Sopranos” revival (he’s a superfan).

9. Denis Leary: Found his mojo with “Rescue Me.” Guys like Tommy Gavin are close to his heart; Leary’s Firefighters Foundation has distributed more than $2 million to fire departments in Boston and NYC and a similar sum to families of The 343 Bravest killed on 9/11.

10. Mark Teixeira: Not for nothin’ he comes to the Bronx, plays a wonderful first base, hits for power, exerts a likable presence—and the Yankees end their World Series “drought” of eight years. It looks like he’ll be around for some time to come.

The Famous 50

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