Denzel Washington named ‘America’s Favorite Movie Star’ for 2nd straight year

denzel.jpgDenzel Washington is America’s Favorite Movie Star, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll.

Harris polled 1,114 American adults online from Dec. 4 and 12, releasing the findings Jan. 15.

Last year, the Mount Vernon-raised Academy Award-winner bumped the previous year’s No. 1, Tom Hanks, into second place, where Hanks remains in ’08.

Rounding out the top five: Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts and Will Smith.

(Photo: Matthew Brown/The Journal News)

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: ‘General Lee’ payday, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ mayday and Aidan Quinn’s heyday

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At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s quiz: Didi Conn, who played Frenchie in the movie version of “Grease,â€? once visited visited Nyack Middle School to see its production of that musical. In that show, the role of Danny Zuko was played by what actor who would go on to star in “Freaks and Geeksâ€??

A. John Francis Daley
B. James Franco
C. Seth Rogen

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Diddy searches for favorable witnesses, personal assistant

Mount Vernon-raised Sean “Diddy” Combs can’t stop (won’t stop) making headlines.

diddy2.jpgFour witnesses have stepped up and bolstered lawsuit claims that Diddy assaulted a man at an Oscar party last year. Or as the Daily News puts it, the four say “Diddy did it.”

In addition, the “Making the Band” boss has another reality TV show in the works to find his next great… personal assistant?! It appears 20 finalists will be selected to compete on Vh1 to land what’s being called the “job of a lifetimeâ€? on RealityWanted.com.

Classic case of life imitating art. Anyone else remember the “Chappelle’s Show” spoof of “Making the Band,” when Dave Chappelle, as Diddy, sends out the hip-hoppers to return with a sugar cookie? The Vh1 show will probably be like that, except unintentionally hilarious.

(AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Goodbye to a beard (David Letterman), a camera (Stephen Baldwin) and 2007 (Hayden Pannetierre and Lindsay Lohan)

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At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s quiz: Of the following celebrities who have called Mount Vernon home, who was scheduled to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today?

A. Sean “Diddy” Combs
B. Sidney Poitier
C. Phylicia Rashad
D. Denzel Washington

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Unlike members of ‘Making the Band,’ Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs to be immortalized on Walk of Fame

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Mount Vernon-raised Sean “Diddy” Combs will be the newest celebrity to be represented on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony scheduled for this Friday.

In a quote posted by Hip Hop Galaxy, Combs was thrilled about the honor during an interview conducted by Jaime Foxx on Foxx’s Sirius satellite radio show:

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I’m from Harlem, New York, so to get a star in Hollywood is just mind-blowing. You can get a lot of things but when you see those stars on the ground… that’s something I can’t even say I dreamed of and to be getting recognized for it is definitely something I’m gonna have my whole family out there for.

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I’m not taking anything away from Harlem, and he might have mentioned Mount Vernon at another point during the interview, but here’s hoping he shows more love for his Westchester roots.

Arguably, Diddy’s least relevant contribution to pop culture could be his rapping skills. (His most memorable lyrics might be a tie between “Uh” and “Yeah” on Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.”) But as a music producer, clothing mogul and music icon, it’s hard to argue against his overall success. Even if he’s merely famous for being famous, he’s done it successfully for more than a decade.

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People of the Year — 2a. Denzel Washington

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Last minute addition here. I can’t explain why the Mount Vernon native didn’t figure into our pre-countdown planning, given that he’s had easily the best year of his career — his Oscar-worthy performance as real-life heroin kingpin Frank Lucas in “American Gangster”; starring in, directing, producing, and filling just about every other production credit in “The Great Debaters” (which I haven’t seen yet, but, given its Golden Globe Best Picture nod, I’m figuring is pretty decent).

Sure, Denzel doesn’t live in Westchester any more, but when you factor in all the times he returned to the area (to film “Gangster,” to stump for mayor candidates in Mount Vernon) — well, the omission would be inexcusable.

Fortunately, I happened to read that today is the man’s 53rd birthday. What better time to right that wrong and celebrate This Year in Denzel?

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Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Kevin Kline hears ghosts, Chaka Khan phones it in and Howard Stern reflects on Westchester

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At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s quiz: In what year did “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” hit No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts?

A) 1938
B) 1948
C) 1958
D) 1968

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SAG Award nominees announced, more lovin for the LoHud

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For a full list of the TV nominees, check out our sister blog, Remote Access, or for film nominees, go to the SAG site. But here, in short, are the locals you’ll be rooting for:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
ANGELINA JOLIE / Mariane Pearl – “A Mighty Heartâ€? (Paramount Vantage): Jolie grew up in Sneden’s Landing

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
AMERICAN GANGSTER (Universal Pictures): Denzel Washington is a Mount Vernon native and Russell Crowe lived in Nyack while filming the movie.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Kevin Kline / Jacques – As You Like It (HBO): Kline lives (or at least used to live) in Garrison with Phoebe Cates.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Ellen Burstyn / Posey Benetto – Mitch Albom’s For One More Day (ABC): Burstyn lives in Nyack

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Glenn Close / Patty Hewes – Damages (FX): Lives in Bedford
Edie Falco / Carmela Soprano – The Sopranos (HBO): Attended SUNY Purchase

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin / Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock (NBC): Brother of Bedford’s Billy Baldwin and Upper Grandview’s Stephen

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Vanessa Williams / Wilhelmina Slater – Ugly Betty (ABC): Grew up in Millwood, currently lives in Chappaqua

(Nominations ceremony photo with President Alan Rosenberg, left, and actors Jeanne Tripplehorn, center, and Terrence Howard on Thurs., Dec 20 — AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Mount Vernon man (eventually) gets call from Chaka Khan

chaka.jpgChakaChakaChaka — ahem — Chaka Khan chatted on the phone for five minutes last night with Mount Vernon resident Ted Amoruso, a fan who won a contest for promoting her show via his MySpace page.

The only catch? After being told he would receive Khan’s khall at 4 p.m., he didn’t hear from the pop/R&B star until 7 p.m., according to Journal News reporter Aman Ali.

But before you say, “I Feel For You” to Amoruso, he said the wait calmed him down:

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I’m actually glad the call came later because almost all of my nervousness went away by the time she called.

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I’ll use up my puns (I’m not exactly Chaka full of them) by saying that “Ain’t Nobody” does Amoruso better and that he didn’t incur any wrath of Khan. Ahem.

Check out Ali’s full article and the exclusive LoHud.com video interview with Amoruso.

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Support your local Boys & Girls Club … by going to see ‘American Gangster’

washington_and_crowe_in_american_gangster.jpgJust because Mount Vernon native Denzel Washington always plays such phenomenal villains in the movies doesn’t mean he’s a baddie in real life. In fact, quite the opposite. One example: For the premiere of his upcoming crime drama “American Gangster” on October 19, AllHipHop reports that he arranged for all the proceeds to be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of America.

You may remember that Washington is a huge advocate for the B&G Clubs — in particular the Mount Vernon chapter, which he grew up with — and has been the group’s national spokesperson for the past 15 years.

If you haven’t seen the movie’s trailer yet, be sure to check it out (YouTube link). It appears to be Washington’s best bad-guy part yet, with him playing a 1970’s crime lord who smuggles heroin in the coffins of American soldiers returning from Vietnam. And Russell Crowe plays the detective trying to take him down. The movie goes wide on November 2.

Fun fact: Russell Crowe lived over in Nyack, at the Pretty Penny estate, while the movie was filming locally.

(Photo: Universal)

Which celebrity offers the best political endorsement?

Our sister blog, Politics on the Hudson, raised an interesting point last week, after the primaries: Even though some candidates had the backing of the county’s Democratic party machine (as was the case for some candidates in Greenburgh), that didn’t always translate into a win. However, in the Mount Vernon mayoral race, another kind of endorsement did yield results. I’m talking, of course, about the celebrity kind.

tjndc5-5fqd9i9g6f7euo93cc8_layout.jpgThe winner, in that election, appears to be Clinton Young, who narrowly beat incumbent Ernest Davis by 349 votes. And while we may never know exactly how many of his overall votes came thanks to the endorsement of hometown hero Denzel Washington, you can bet it was more than a thumbs up from Andy Spano would have gotten him.

All of which got me to thinking: With all the political activists in the county, which ones have the most sway? Would a plug by Pound Ridge’s Susan Sarandon help give Hillary’s camp a popularity jolt? Could Peekskill/Verplanck native Mel Gibson hurt or help a candidate with his endorsement? What about Rosie?

You tell us. Vote in the sidebar poll.

(Matthew Brown/The Journal News)

Sarandon, Imperioli, and Tucci make up lovely cast of ‘The Lovely Bones’

Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli

Too soon to start making Best Picture Oscar predictions for 2009? Naah.

The one movie I’m already set to place my bets on is Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones,” an adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel about a murdered 14-year-old girl who looks on from the afterlife to see what happens to her family when she goes missing. In addition to the amazing source material, what’s also exciting is that this flick will have an even more LoHudalicious cast than “City of Ember” (starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins) and “Dancing with Shiva” (Debra Winger, Bill Irwin). Yes, in this one we have not one, not two, but three stars with ties to the Lower Hudson Valley.

First, there’s Pound Ridge resident Susan Sarandon, set to play the grandmother of the murdered girl. Then you’ve got Michael Imperioli, who grew up in Brewster and Mount Vernon, playing a cop searching for the girl. And finally, according to the Hollywood Reporter, North Salem’s Stanley Tucci may play the molester/murderer (Jackie Earl Haley, you started a trend!). And with Jackson behind the camera and DreamWorks footing the bill, this project is essentially a stacked deck. If only this movie were listed on the Hollywood Stock Exchange, I’d begin gobbling up futures today.

UPDATE: Spoke too soon. The movie is listed on the Exchange. Current price: H$42.91. Ticker symbol: LVBON.

Buy! Buy! Buy!