The Famous 50
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41. Kevin Bacon: Few joke about being “six degrees” from this guy anymore—perhaps because they see it as a privilege. May never be named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” but then, many who are don’t have his cred as a character actor. And people love the Bacon Brothers. Who knew?
42. John F. Lundgren: Double the number of wall sockets in the executive suite! The Stanley Works CEO grabbed business headlines all across America last fall with the New Britain company’s widely praised acquisition of Black & Decker.
43. Wally Lamb: The No. 1 nice guy on everybody’s list, every year. But what we’re admiring right now is his lighthearted Christmas novella Wishin’ and Hopin’, and preliminary word (shhh) that his No. 2 Oprah’s Book Club choice, I Know This Much Is True, may be a movie in 2011.
44. Jeff Immelt: CEO of General Electric, the 12th-largest company in the world. Immelt has from time to time felt the wrath of analysts and shareholders, as well as of predecessor Jack Welch, but—need we repeat ourselves?—he’s CEO of the 12th-largest company in the world.
45. Mia Farrow: Phenomenally successful UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador on behalf of the people of Darfur, Chad, the Central African Republic and, most recently, Gaza; still manages to keep one toe in her acting career (she’s currently Granny in French director Luc Besson’s “Arthur” adventures).
46. Candace Bushnell: Love ’em or hate ’em, those “Sex and the City” spinoffs have been all win. Next up, the author’s Carrie Diaries (an intimate look at fashion-ista Bradshaw’s formative years) and the big screen Sex and the City 2 (due in May).
47. Stephen Schwartz: He could live off those Wicked/Godspell/Disney royalties forever, but he’s too in love with the innovative life. Last year’s big shift in direction: the opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon.
48. Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo: His “outrage” may be a shtick that wears thin from time to time, but the Doggie’s got his own sports channel on Sirius/XM these days. He’s at his best when the subject turns to baseball and extended dorm-room discussions of players and teams.
49. Oliver Platt: His patrician family ties—son of U.S. career diplomat Nicholas Platt, distant cousin of Diana, Princess of Wales—either belie or befit the fact that he excels at playing high-profile weasels (Carl Anheuser in 2012 and, we hope, Buddy Cianci in the forthcoming The Prince of Providence).
50. Gus Van Sant: Began 2009 on a high note with an Oscar nom for directing Milk; new irons in the film fire include the mortality tale Restless, which he was personally tapped to direct by producers Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard and Brian Grazer.