The annual “People” magazine “sexiest man alive” issue hit the newsstands about ten days ago. Actor Bradley Cooper won “the title role” this year and “People” has a big article about him with photos. About a dozen other guys are “honored” with an individual bio sketch and pics. Included in this group are ANTON YELCHIN, 24, and JOSH CHARLES, 40. The magazine’s judgment about “sexiness” is quite influenced by acting success and Yelchin is now in a hit indie movie (“Like Crazy”) and Charles co-stars in a hit TV show (“The Good Wife”).
Also in this issue is actor Armie Hammer (the Winkelvoss twins in “Social Network” and Clyde Tolson in “J Edgar”). Last September, Hammer, 25, told “W” magazine that his WASP-y good looks (blonde, blue-eyed, six-foot five) has prevented him from getting some roles he’s drawn to and nobody believes him when says he’s “half Jewish.” Hammer, raised Methodist, has only one Jewish paternal great grandparent: the late ARMAND HAMMER, a famous oil company head. Yes, it’s possible that Armie may have a little Jewish maternal ancestry. But his claim of being “half Jewish” makes no sense.
Celebrity Hanukkah Quotes
I recently received a copy of a book called, “Hanukkah Stories: Thoughts on Family, Celebration, and Joy.” Written by NANCY RIPS, it can be obtained on Amazon or via the publisher’s website (www.fellpub.com). It includes a number of quotes from famous people about Hanukkah. Here are a few:
Magician DAVID COPPERFIELD, 55: “We’re taught in the Jewish tradition the same story over and over, whether it’s the Holocaust or the Maccabees, we have to rise above persecution and do our best, just as the magic is about making people dream, we learned to take things that aren’t supposed to be and turn them into something beautiful.”
Astronaut JEFRREY A. HOFFMAN, now 67, who flew on five space shuttle missions, including the successful mission to repair the Hubble telescope: “When I realized the Hubble mission would occur during Hanukkah, I decided to carry along a few appropriate Jewish objects. An Israeli artisan presented me with a miniature menorah and some dreidels…When I had free time toward the end of the mission I decided to try spinning a dreidel. Because of gravity in space, it never stopped spinning. The top floated magically in the cabin, suspended in mid-air. I was stuck by the juxtaposition of the Jewish tradition, one of humanity’s oldest, with space flight, one of humanity’s newest. Our religion proved to be extremely portable as well as long lasting.”
Poet EMMA LAZARUS (1849-1887), most famous for her poem on the Statue of Liberty, also penned the poem, “Feast of Lights”. Here are first few lines, which also appear in the book: “Kindle the taper like the steadfast star/Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth/ And add each night a luster till afar/An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.” (Published in 1882, the rest of this poem becomes a call for a Jewish national revival, well before the term Zionism was even coined. Just google the title and the author’s name, and you will easily find the full text on the internet).
You probably heard that film director BRETT RATNER resigned earlier this month as the producer of the upcoming Academy Awards telecast. His departure was prompted by a very negative reaction to an anti-gay slur that Ratner made (and promptly apologized for). Ratner’s buddy, Eddie Murphy, who was set to host the show, decided almost immediately to follow Ratner out the door.
Murphy’s departure left the Academy scrambling for a replacement. They turned to “old reliable” BILLY CRYSTAL, 63, universally viewed as “the gold standard” of Oscar hosts. Crystal’s quick acceptance led one of the Academy’s Governors to tell the NY Times: “He’s a mensch.”
Meanwhile, comedian Ricky Gervais, who will host the Golden Globes awards this year, for the third straight time, tweeted: “Just told Billy Crystal he’d better not use any of my holocaust or pedophile material at The Oscars. He agreed (true).” Gervais is a lot more acerbic host than Crystal ever was—poking sharp fun, for example, at Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism last year. Despite some industry kvetching, the Globes people re-hire Gervais because he keeps things lively and TV ratings high.
Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for InterfaithFamily.com. If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.