Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Leary and Kate Bosworth saluted their movie star pal Kevin Spacey on Wednesday night (09Apr14) at a special gala hosted by officials at New York's Museum of the Moving Image. Kim Cattrall, Tony Bennett, Penn Badgley, Chazz Palminteri and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were also among the guests who turned out to honour the two-time Oscar winner as he was presented with a career achievement award.
A number of his film co-stars took the stage to reminisce about their experiences of working with Spacey in between clips of films such as Margin Call, American Beauty, Glengarry Glen Ross, L.A. Confidential and Beyond The Sea.
Leary recalled how the actor's famous mimicry skills would keep them entertained in between takes on 1994's The Ref, and he couldn't help but take a swipe at his old friend as he closed his speech, quipping, "Kevin, I love you like a brother and I'm so happy that you've reached the age now that they're giving you glass awards, and I hope some day soon we can work together again."
Spacey's The Negotiator and A Time To Kill co-star Jackson praised the 54 year old for making acting "exciting", adding, "He makes it fun. He reminds us why we wanted to do it in the first place... He lights up the screen alongside any of the greats, because he is just that."
Meanwhile, tribute notes from U2 rocker Bono and former U.S. President Bill Clinton were also read out to the crowd.
Speaking to WENN before the gala kicked off, Spacey admitted that following in the footsteps of previous honourees such as Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Steven Spielberg meant a lot to him having trained and perfected his craft in the Big Apple.
He said, "It's humbling, when I look at the list of people who have gotten this award in the past... But I love this city, I love New York, I love film and it's a big deal."
But the night wasn't without drama - museum co-chairman Herbert S. Schlosser, 88, fainted downstairs at the Manhattan event before the dinner even got underway and had to be taken to hospital by paramedics.
Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan and U2 were among the stars who turned out on Monday (17Feb14) to help TV presenter Jimmy Fallon launch a new era of America's The Tonight Show series. The comedian took the long-running talk show back to New York for the first time since iconic host Johnny Carson moved it to California in 1972, and a slew of celebrities stopped by the NBC studios to celebrate the big move.
Fallon opened his first Tonight Show by thanking his predecessors, including Jay Leno, who stepped down from the programme after 22 years earlier this month (Feb14), before taking aim at a friend who had bet against him ever hosting the legendary series.
Looking into the camera, Fallon said, "To my buddy who said that I'd never be the host of The Tonight Show - you know who you are. You owe me $100 buddy!"
The comment prompted De Niro to begrudgingly walk out onstage and hand the host a $100 bill, but the movie veteran wasn't the only one - he was followed by the likes of Tina Fey, Joan Rivers, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mariah Carey, Mike Tyson and a scantily-clad Lady Gaga, who each parted with $100 as part of the joke.
Fallon's first Tonight Show interviewee, Smith, then showed off his moves in a sketch titled, The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing, in which the pair ran through popular dance trends over the years, from the Running Man to the Robot to the Carlton, which was named after the actor's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro's geeky onscreen character, Carlton Banks.
U2 provided the musical entertainment for the night by performing new song Invisible from the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where the NBC studios are based, and later joining Fallon and his house band The Roots inside for an acoustic version of their Oscar-nominated song Ordinary Love from the Nelson Mandela biopic, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Bono marked the occasion by gifting Fallon a red electric guitar from his line of instruments for the (RED) charity, which raises awareness of the fight against AIDS.
The big star guests will continue throughout the week as Gaga, Jerry Seinfeld, Bradley Cooper, Will Ferrell and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama are all booked to make appearances on The Tonight Show.
U2 star Bono has penned a tribute essay for Time magazine honouring his friend Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday (05Dec13). The rocker reveals that the former South African leader was his mentor and hero - and the leading figure behind his decision to become an activist for world change as a teenager.
In the 1051-word piece, titled The Man Who Could Not Cry, which was published on Time's website hours after the news of Mandela's death was released, Bono writes, "As an activist I have pretty much been doing what Nelson Mandela tells me since I was a teenager."
The singer, who has become a leading light in the fight against AIDS and world poverty and an international rights advocate, calls Mandela a "forceful presence" in his life, adding his idol was a "hardheaded realist" and a "compromiser without being compromised".
And he recalls confronting Mandela about accepting money and friendship from his former foes, like late British leader Margaret Thatcher.
He writes, "He told me once how Margaret Thatcher had personally donated £20,000 to his foundation. 'How did you do that?' I gasped. The Iron Lady, who was famously frugal, kept a tight grip on her purse. 'I asked,' he said with a laugh. 'You'll never get what you want if you don't ask.'
"Then he lowered his voice conspiratorially and said her donation had nauseated some of his cohorts: 'Didn't she try to squash our movement?' they complained. His response: 'Didn't (former South African leader F.W.) De Klerk crush our people like flies? And I'm having tea with him next week... He'll be getting the bill.'"
Bono also recalls one touching moment with his late friend - when he joined Mandela at his former prison home on Robben Island.
He adds, "It was... in the courtyard outside the cell in which he had spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. He was explaining why he’d decided to use his inmate’s number, 46664, to rally a response to the AIDS pandemic, claiming so many African lives.
"One of his cellmates told me that the price Mandela paid for working in the limestone mine was not bitterness or even the blindness that can result from being around the bright white reflection day after day. Mandela could still see, but the dust damage to his tear ducts had left him unable to cry.
"For all this man’s farsightedness and vision, he could not produce tears in a moment of self-doubt or grief. He had surgery in 1994 to put this right. Now, he could cry. Today, we can."
Bono and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin helped raise $26 million (£17.3 million) for charity by singing at a star-studded auction in New York on Saturday (23Nov13). The U2 frontman teamed with top designers Sir Jonathon Ive and Marc Newson to put together a collection of specially designed luxury items, from companies such as Hermes and Apple, for Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction at Sotheby's in Manhattan.
The event included a performance by Bono and Martin, who joined forces to sing a medley of U2's Beautiful Day and Lou Reed's Perfect Day, with the Coldplay star playing a custom-built red grand piano which was sold for $1.9 million (£1.3 million).
Other items featured in the sale included a storm trooper helmet from the Star Wars franchise signed by George Lucas which sold for $245,000 (£163,333).
The auction was attended by more than 1,000 guests including Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Courtney Love and Hayden Panettiere, and it raised around $13 million (£8.7 million) for Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The final total came in at around $26 million (£17.3 million) after executives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to double the sales figure.
Several Irish politicians have criticised U2 frontman Bono for moving his band's business overseas to slash its tax bill. The singer and anti-poverty campaigner claims the decision to move U2's business to the Netherlands is in line with Irish government policy on tax competitiveness, dismissing the band's critics as "the cranky left".
But some Irish Members of Parliament (MPs) are adamant the Beautiful Day hitmakers should be paying more tax in their native country to help its economic recovery.
Irish MP Roisin Shortall tells Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, "Everybody needs to put their shoulder to the wheel in terms of bringing Ireland back to recovery and it would be great to see U2 and Bono play their full part in that."
U2 rocker Bono introduced Bill Clinton at a charity event in New York this week (beg23Sep13) by performing his best comedy impersonation of the former U.S. president. The Irish singer was among the guests who were invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in Manhattan on Tuesday (24Sep13) and the star found himself with time to spare on stage when the statesman was late taking over.
Bono tested out his comedy skills by doing an impersonation of Clinton, mimicking his famous southern accent and raspy tones in a short skit, which drew laughter from the audience.
In his impersonation of Clinton, the star said, "When I first met Bono, he walked into the Oval Office and I actually thought it was a member of his own road crew. (He) wasn't really dressed right. I actually, I felt like the rock star on that occasion. But together, you know, we did this Drop the Debt (initiative) thing and my God there's 51 million children going to school in Africa 'cause of the Drop the Debt and that's pretty good, is that right?"
Rumor has it that Ben Affleck is very strongly considering running for a seat in the Senate — specifically, the one John Kerry will (presumably) vacate when he (presumably) becomes Secretary of State.
While the thought of entrusting your representative democracy to the man who starred in Phantoms will take a little time to get used to, it's comforting to think that many other people who became famous for things other than government have embraced a second career in politics.
Come on, the Terminator spent eight years running the state of California, the most populous state in the U.S. Surely the man who gave us the thought-provoking historical drama/Oscar contender Argo wouldn't do much worse representing his home state.
Affleck has not officially denied reports, though it's hard to believe he'd want to leave his showbiz career at such a high, well-regarded point. (Other actors rumored to be turning to politics, like Alec Baldwin, have denied rumors outright.)
In Affleck's honor, here are a few pop culture figures who entered politics after successful careers in the public eye.
After winning a recall election in 2003 to replace California governor Gray Davis, Ahnold served one more term leading the third-largest state in the union before returning to what he might arguably do best: action movies.
Another actor-turned-director, Eastwood entered politics in the 1980s when he served as the non-partisan mayor of the California town Carmel from 1986 to 1988. After his notorious empty chair speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, though, it's clear where his allegiances lie these days.
Ventura became a pro wrestler after his stint in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He ran for his first political office in the 90s, serving as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota from 1991 to 1995, and later the governor of Minnesota (1999-2003). He's now a visiting fellow at Harvard's JFK School of Government. Not too shabby!
McMahon and her husband, Vince, started the WWF (now the WWE). After serving as President and CEO of the professional wrestling organization, she has run unsuccessfully for two different Senate seats in Connecticut.
Talk about an overachiever — Bradley is not only a former professional basketball player, he's also a Rhodes Scholar, an Eagle Scout, an Olympic gold medalist, and a three-term Senator from New Jersey. He ran for president in 2000, but we all know how that turned out.
Another pro basketball player, Johnson is entering his second term as mayor of Sacramento, Calif.
The well-respected boxer ran for Congress in his native Philippines, where he has served since 2007. He's up for re-election in 2013.
After making a name for himself as a singer and actor, Bono became mayor of Palm Springs, Calif. in 1988. In 1994, he ran for Congress, where he served until his death in 1998. His wife, Mary, finished out his Congressional term.
Perhaps the most famous actor-turned-politician, Reagan was a film and television actor — and even president of the Screen Actors Guild — before he went into government. The two-term California governor also served two terms as President of the United States in the '80s.
You were first introduced to Duffy when he was a roommate on The Real World: Boston in 1997. His reality show past didn't seem to hurt when he became district attorney of Wisconsin in 2002, a post he left in 2010 to run for Congress. Duffy was recently re-elected to his second congressional term.
So, how would Affleck stack up against the likes of these men and women? Are any of your favorite pop culture politicians missing from the list?
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo]
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Fans flocked to see the legendary fighter receive the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after he was announced as this year's (12) honouree by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is chairman of the institution.
Ali, who has suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than 30 years, struggled to the stage with the help of his daughter, Laila, to be handed the award.
His wife Lonnie addressed the crowd on his behalf, saying, "It is especially humbling for Muhammad, who has said on many occasions, 'All I did was to stand up for what I believe'."
Previous recipients of the award include filmmaker Steven Spielberg, U2 rocker Bono and South African civil rights icon Nelson Mandela.
The Oscar winner has been a long-time champion of the country and he set up the J/P Haitian Relief Organization in the weeks after the 2010 earthquake to help rebuild schools and homes, and provide for locals left destitute by the disaster.
He recently put together a charity gala at the Cannes Film Festival in France which raised millions of dollars for the cause, and he is now reportedly working on plans to stage a massive gig in Haiti with some of the world's most famous stars.
The New York Daily news reports Penn has already signed up Bono and McCartney for the gig, but is looking for more high profile artists to join the bill.
A source tells the publication, "So far, he has secured Bono and Paul McCartney, but there are more musicians signing up...
"He's in serious talks with Rihanna, Jay-Z and Beyonce, as well as Eminem and 50 Cent. Sean wants this to be huge and raise a lot of money, with sponsors he is working really hard to get."
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the chairman of the National Constitution Center, named the retired sports great as the 2012 honouree on Thursday (05Jul12).
He said, "Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution - freedom, self-governance, equality and empowerment - and helping to spread them across the globe."
Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, will be presented with the prestigious medal at a special ceremony at the National Constitution Center on 13 September (12).
Previous recipients of the award include filmmaker Steven Spielberg, U2 rocker Bono and South African civil rights icon Nelson Mandela.