The Famous 50

 

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31. Rob Zombie: We’ve been waiting—and waiting—for Zombie’s fourth solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool, which may be his last. Next directing gig: The Blob (a remake) or Tyrannosaurus Rex (an original drama). We’d bet on the former.

32. Ann Coulter: Can’t seem to outbray Rightie pals Beck and Limbaugh, though her recent “liberals are racists and assassins” diatribe on Joy Behar’s talk show was classic. Still, we’d bet that her next goddess-in-a-black-cocktail-dress-covered sociopolitical screed won’t beat Sarah Palin’s Amazon numbers.

33. Dustin Hoffman: Actors this iconic are allowed to slum—for now. Evidence? Midnight Cowboy, Lenny and All the President’s Men vs. Little Fockers and Kung Fu Panda. Step up your game, Dusty.

34. Lisa Lampanelli: When she was 48 (in 2009), it was a very good year for standup’s “Queen of Mean”: She headlined her first HBO comedy special and published a memoir with HarperCollins, Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat, and Freaks.

35. Michael J. Fox: Won an Emmy for his guest gig on “Rescue Me” (and earned a nom for last spring’s special “Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist”); ended the year by jamming with Elvis Costello, Steven Tyler and Roger Daltry at the “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s” benefit.

36. Barry Levinson: Our go-to guy for smart, funny, snarky film fare like Wag the Dog spent last year pursuing his love of the documentary in Showtime’s PoliWood and HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack. He also returned to his native Baltimore to promote the Maryland Film Fest alongside John Waters and David “The Wire” Simon.

37. Maurice Sendak: Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are gave him a late-career boost-by-association despite middling box office. Beyond that, you have to respect a guy who, asked what he’d say to parents concerned that the movie might frighten their kids, retorted, “I’d tell them to go to hell.” Oh, snap!

38. Brian Dennehy: Desire Under the Elms, this courageous Tony winner’s much-acclaimed 2009 collaboration with Goodman Theatre’s Robert Falls, lasted only a month on the Great White Way—but it’s said they’ll be back this year in a one-act twofer: Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie and Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett.

39. George David: The legendary former United Technologies CEO is stepping down at year’s end as the corporation’s chairman, but he also makes the list for his riveting divorce case, dubbed by the New York Post a “countess-vs.-mogul smackdown.”

40. Regis Philbin: His recent hip surgery has reminded us (as did his heart surgery in 2007) how barren TV is without him (he is the Guinness World Record holder for Most Hours on Camera, after all). When he’s gone, we feel like Brandon de Wilde in Shane: “Reege, come baack! Come back, Reeeeege!”

The Famous 50

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