NEWLN: Compiled by VALERIE KUKLENSKI UPI Entertainment Editor
MOST INTRIGUING: O.J. Simpson and Marcia Clark are on it, but Johnnie Cochran is not. Elizabeth Hurley is, but Hugh Grant isn't, Jay Leno is, but David Letterman isn't. And Nicole Kidman is, but Tom Cruise isn't. It's People magazine's '25 Most Intriguing People of 1995.' Princess Diana was cited for 'spellbinding candor' in her November television interview, while paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve was included for his adjustment from movie star to inspirational role model. The rest of the roster: retired Gen. Colin Powell, child killer Susan Smith, anti-rap crusader C. Delores Tucker, 19th-century author Jane Austen, country singer Shania Twain, actor Brad Pitt, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, media mogul Ted Turner, Hootie & The Blowfish, the UNABOMber, TV actress Jennifer Aniston, lawyer-turned-editor John F. Kennedy Jr., tennis star Monica Seles, children's book author R.L. Stine, slain pop star Selena, baseball's Cal Ripken Jr., President Clinton, and a porcine movie star -- Babe the pig.
INTRIGUING IN A DUBIOUS WAY: A number of the people who made People's list also have cropped up in Esquire magazine's annual Dubious Achievement Awards, including this year's cover guy, O.J. Simpson. The magazine's tongue-in-cheek and knife-in-the-back look at the past year includes Marcia Clark, Colin Powell, Louis Farrakhan, John F. Kennedy Jr. and President Clinton. And the mysterious UNABOMber also made the grade in two magazines, showing that apparently there's more to getting important press coverage than just a well-paid publicist.
HOT HUNKS: The January issue of Playgirl magazine has its own top 10 list of 1995's sexiest men. It includes actors George Clooney of 'ER,' David Schwimmer of 'Friends,' David Duchovny of 'The X-Files,' Hugh Grant of 'Nine Months,' Vincent Perez of 'Queen Margot,' Matthew Fox of 'Party of Five,' and Chris O'Donnell of 'Batman Forever,' Fox football commentator Howie Long, singer and record producer Babyface, and NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. O.J. Simpson witness and struggling actor Kato Kaelin did not make the grade, but he is featured in the same issue with an interview and photo layout. There's even a contest for a lucky Playgirl reader to win a dinner date with Kaelin.
OSCAR ODDS IMPROVE: Nicolas Cage already has picked up two best actor awards for his performance as an alcoholic screenwriter in 'Leaving Las Vegas,' one from the National Board of Review and another from the New York Film Critics Circle. They're two of the earliest in a flurry of annual movie awards leading up to the Academy Awards in March. But all the attention after the fact is gravy to Cage. 'I made the movie for myself,' he told USA Today. 'I had no idea people would respond in such a way. It gives me encouragement to keep it in mind to do these things from the heart. The business aspect is important, and the two go hand in hand. If not for 'Tess' and 'It Could Happen To You'' -- two of his recent box-office successes -- ''Vegas' might not have been green- lighted.'
INTREPID: Marylou Whitney, widow of transportation and film tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, may be 70-something but nothing is slowing her down, not even deep freeze. Whitney, an intrepid traveler, has just returned from a six-person expedition to the U.S. South Pole Station, where she lived in a pup tent on ice 3 miles thick. She said the main problem was going to the 'ig-loo.' 'You really had to think twice about how badly you needed to go in the minus-50 degree temperatures,' said the elegant blonde. One of her trek companions was explorer Norman Vaughan, who mushed teams of huskies for Adm. Richard Byrd during his pioneering 1928 trip to Antarctica. Vaughan celebrated his 90th birthday at the station. Now Whitney is off to Alaska to compete in the Iditarod dogsled race. Her next stop is the North Pole, in March.
TV, HERE COMES SPIKE: Filmmaker Spike Lee says there isn't enough drama about blacks on television and he is going to do something about it. Lee told TV Guide he has three TV projects in the works -- directing a segment of 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' for HBO, producing a TV movie version of 'Hoop Dreams' for TNT, and developing a dramatic series pilot for CBS. 'I find it amazing that there's not one black drama on television,' he said. 'It's all sitcoms, and a lot of that stuff is bordering on 'Amos 'n' Andy' or minstrel shows. I knew if I criticized TV people would ask me to get off my butt and do something on it myself. I want to do more TV. So all you network executives -- you have my number.' As for the proposed CBS series, Lee said it is called 'Slim's Table' and takes a look at older black men who gather every day at a Greek restaurant and talk about life. 'This is a drama, but that doesn't mean it has to be devoid of humor,' he observed. 'I look at all these comedies -- and I won't name names -- but they're not about us.'