3.23.2011

we like lists: list # 9: celebrity crushes, lifetime edition

When I was a kid, pre-teen, I loved watching old movies. I don't know how I got into this, but I grew up watching Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy and a whole constellation of actors unknown to most of my peers.

[Retro aside: If you're a certain age and grew up in the New York metro area, you watched the "Million Dollar Movie" on WWOR, non-network Channel 9. The open was a montage of New York City images played to "Tara's Theme" from "Gone with the Wind". There's a version of it on YouTube, but it's a later incarnation. A 1970s image of the Broadway TKTS booth has been substituted for the clip I remember most: a woman going up an escalator, seen from behind. I can't find the original anywhere.]

In those days, my favourite actor, hands-down, was Humphrey Bogart. I would scan the TV listings for any movie he was in, and knew many of them - classics and duds alike - backwards and forwards. Recently I read a review of a new biography of Bogart, and I had a minor revelation: he was my first celebrity crush. And I started to think about who else has held that category in my life.

So this list is your celebrity crushes over the course of your life. Three elements:

- We'll define celebrity as someone widely Google-able, and known by fans of the person's milieu. Readers not into music or baseball may not know some of my crushes, but rock fans and baseball fans will. So, not Betsy Klein from your Grade 7 Algebra class.

- Crush is more difficult to define. It's not just someone you think is hot. There are lots good-looking people out there, but you don't crush on all of them. This is someone you have a "thing" for. You'll see any movie she's in, no matter how stupid. When you were younger (or maybe even now) you taped a picture of him to your desk or had a poster of her in your bedroom. It's not only about looks. This person has something that makes them magnetic in your eyes. I haven't found an adequate definition for this word anywhere; perhaps it's indefinable.

- And here's a very important part of this list: lifetime. I'm asking you to delve into your past - your childhood, your teen years, your 20s - and follow the thread all the way to the present, if you still form crushes.

I'm posting mine roughly in chronological order. I'm also linking to pics from the crush era, which you can do or not.

I've wanted to do this list for a while, but I thought it might be a little weird. I'm really curious to see if it resonates with anyone.

1. Humphrey Bogart.

2. Paul Newman.

3. Janis Joplin.

4. Keith Richards.

5. Rick Danko.

6. Thurman Munson. (Sorry! First baseball crush.)

6a. Late addition: Bruce Springsteen.

7. Chrissie Hynde.

8. Alex Rodriguez, circa 1996. (Please note year! Mariners!)

9. Jacoby Ellsbury.

63 comments:

laura k said...

I'm also curious if there'll be any surprises (to me) on Allan's list. I know many of them, but it will be interesting to see if I actually know them all.

Cool Hand Luke said...

I have never really been I "crush" person myself. However, I do always say that the young Barbara Streisand is my past crush. I have seen every movie that she has been in from Funny Girl to Hello Dolly including her current ones.

Amy said...

OK, this could be embarrassing...

1. Buffalo Bob from the Howdy Doody Show

2. Superman (comics and TV)

3. Paul McCartney

4. Jerry Grote (Mets catcher)

5. Paul Newman

6. Carlton Fisk

7. Brad Pitt

8. George Clooney

9. Jason Varitek

10. Jon Hamm

And I clearly remmeber the Million Dollar Movie! When I first saw GWTW, I was very confused as to why they were playing the theme from the Million Dollar Movie! :)

laura k said...

OK, this could be embarrassing...

Totally. That's why I hesitated to post this! But hopefully if I can post the list - and now you've taken the plunge (and CHL a bit) - we all can. :)

When I first saw GWTW, I was very confused as to why they were playing the theme from the Million Dollar Movie! :)

Me too!!! :)

And I finally figured out why my mother called that music "Tara's Theme".

PS: You see, I also once liked a catcher!

Amy said...

I see others are not so willing to join in here! I am glad to see Thurman Munson on your list, even thought he was a NYY. Such a tragic ending to his life....

I hope others add a list. I think it is a really interesting question and forced me to think back all the way to when I was four years old and used to daydream about Buffalo Bob!

deang said...

This is harder than I thought. There have been lots of well-known people that I found physically attractive but nothing more. Combining physical attraction with obsession to form a crush is rare for me. And I know there were more from my teenage years, but I can’t remember them all now. Some of the ones here are embarrassing enough.

In chronological order:

1. Debbie Harry
2. Edie Sedgwick
3. Michael Quercio
4. Michael Stipe
5. Chris Cornell
6. Norman Finkelstein (yes, I really find him attractive)
7. Noel Fielding
8. Simon Amstell
9. Alan Davies
10. Josie Long

allan said...

I am working on mine! (Seems like 10 is the limit...)

laura k said...

Amy, I'm not worried, I'm sure people will join in.

Oo, I like Dean's list! I find many of those people (Chris Cornell, Josie Long) very attractive.

And Norman Finkelstein is a good-looking man. As was Howard Zinn. While we're on the subject of hot social justice types. :)

laura k said...

I think it is a really interesting question and forced me to think back all the way to when I was four years old and used to daydream about Buffalo Bob!

LOL. Thanks, I'm glad. As I said, I thought it was a little weird, so I'm glad it worked for you.

impudent strumpet said...

1. Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek TNG.

2. Dean Cain as Clark Kent in Lois and Clark. (Oddly, I didn't find his Superman particularly attractive.

3. 90s figureskating twofer: Emanuel Sandhu (youtube) and Jayson Dénommée (can't find a video).

4. Laura Prepon as Donna on That '70s Show. Then she dyed her hair blonde and played Karla Homolka in a movie, and that crush was gone forever.

5. Eddie Izzard (au feminin) (au masculin)

Stephanie said...

Hmmmmmm my childhood and adult crushes have included:

1. Tom Laughlin
2. David Bowie
3. Daniel Day-Lewis
4. Eddie Vedder
5. Pat Borders,Doug Gilmour,Paul Molitor (during a very short-lived sporty period during my Toronto days)
6. Peter Frampton
7. Paul Newman
8. Jean Kelly
9. Omar Sharif
10. Tie: Andrew MacCarthy & Eric Stoltz

Several short-lived crushes are not included. While admitting these crushes is a little embarrasing I could start another list of crushes I don't want to admit to...(Tom Laughlin is close to this category.

:D

Stephanie said...

Oh damn...still crushing on:

11. Colin Firth (goes back to the 1995 BBC production of Pride & Predjudice)

johngoldfine said...

1 Albert Payson Terhune

2 Jimmy Cagney

3 Bettie Page

4 Louise Brooks

5 R. Crumb

6 Clint Eastwood

7 John Caldwell Holt

8 Robert Johnson

9

10


Hard. Odd list. But mine all mine. Maybe I'll come up with two more later--I've already discarded a dozen as not quite worthy of crushiness.

deang said...

And Norman Finkelstein is a good-looking man. As was Howard Zinn. While we're on the subject of hot social justice types.

That reminds me that Alice Walker, one of his students at Spelman, has said that, before she even knew anything about Howard Zinn, she and her friends considered him so attractive that they would frequently watch him out their window as he walked across campus.

(I almost put Alice Walker on this list, too. She has been very attractive at every age, physically as well as intellectually.)

johngoldfine said...

I fucking hate my list! Leave Lousie, Bettie, and Clint and forget the rest!

laura k said...

I fucking hate my list! Leave Lousie, Bettie, and Clint and forget the rest!

LOL, that is exactly what I often sound like after I write one of these list posts! The "simple pleasures" post and the "pet peeves" post, especially, I thought, how did I forget this one, and why did I include that one??

Amy said...

Not only am I embarrassed by my list, I am embarrassed that I don't even know most of the people on some of these lists!! Sheesh, I feel so....cheap. My crushes are all based on some physical attraction, nothing intellectual, political, etc.

But the heart (or lust) has a mind of its own, so I am what I am!

laura k said...

Yay, Stephanie has baseball players on her list, too. :)

Also from Stephanie's list:

David Bowie

I had a HUGE crush on David Bowie from one of his looks - Thin White Duke / Man Who Fell To Earth. But for whatever reason, it was short-lived and I didn't recall it while making my list.

Eddie Vedder

Very high on my hot list, and if I had been in a different phase of my life when he was first around, I'm sure a crush would have formed.

There's this huge gap where for some reason I don't have anyone. I don't know why that is.

Amy said...

I have a gap also, Laura--somewhere between Jerry Grote and Carlton Fisk. Paul Newman is listed there, but he was sort of a lifelong crush from my teen years on, so I just placed him there. But I would say that somewhere between around ages 17 and 25, I had no real celebrity crushes. Maybe it was because I was too busy having crushes on real people??? And then once I settled down into a real relationship, they started up again!

laura k said...

Not only am I embarrassed by my list, I am embarrassed that I don't even know most of the people on some of these lists!!

They're outside your sphere and/or age group. I'm sure plenty of people don't know some of the ones on your list!

My gap is most of my 20s and all of my 30s! No idea why. I'm sure there were plenty of people I found attractive in those days, but (I think) I was crush-less until Alex Rodriguez came along. :)

New Nova Scotian said...

Great Crush listing, my friends.

Here is mine in no particular order.
1) Chuck Connors (Lucas McCain)
2) Anne Francis (Honey West)
3) Cher
4) Carolyn Jones (Morticia Addams)
5) Denny McLain
6) Joe Namath
7) Bruce Springsteen
8) Jeanne Moreau
9) Warren Beatty
10) Georgia O'Keeffe

laura k said...

My crushes are all based on some physical attraction, nothing intellectual, political, etc.

I think every crush has a huge element of physical attraction, or it wouldn't a crush. And then (I think) there's always something else - that's what makes it possible to narrow down the list from the universe of "people I find attractive" to a short list of crushes.

I think this must be the case for all of us.

Hey, playing guitar and looking really cool onstage is not exactly intellectual or political. ;)

laura k said...

Here is mine in no particular order.

New Nova Scotian, that is one varied list! :)

I couldn't decide if Springsteen was a crush or not, then figured if I couldn't decide, he was not.

Bruce is more like an obsession for me, along with Bob Dylan and my idol Joni Mitchell. It goes beyond crush, into deep attachment. :)

laura k said...

5. Eddie Izzard (au feminin) (au masculin)

Whoa. Nice pics.

Obviously I knew Eddie would be on your list, and I was curious who else would be.

Amy said...

Hey, playing guitar and looking really cool onstage is not exactly intellectual or political. ;)

Yes, I agree---it wasn't your list I was referring to. I have heard of everyone on your list---except Chrissie Hynde--and I can even relate to why you would have had a crush on them! I guess it was Dean's list and John's list that threw me off. :)

Seeing Wil Wheaton listed reminded me that I had a huge crush on Jon Provost, who played Timmy on Lassie, when I was a little girl.

johngoldfine said...

Hey amy--even my list threw me off. I'm still grumpy about it--about negotiating the gray area between people who really get me physically and people whose work or life get me very powerfully but not physically.

Then today I started thinking about the vast universe that separates crush-fantasies about Louise Brooks or Bettie Page from the reality of sitting next to Ms. TB with a desire that was like an encyclopedia of desire and that shrunk all the rest of the things I had ever desired to the proportions of a period in that encyclopedia.

laura k said...

the gray area between people who really get me physically and people whose work or life get me very powerfully but not physically

For me the people whose work and life fill me with awe, wonder and appreciation is very different than crushes. Joni is the perfect example. I describe her as my idol, and for most of my life I have thrilled to her work and her life. But it's something deeper and more important than a crush.

But everyone's different, maybe for some of us there's more overlap.

New Nova Scotian said...

"Deep attachment" its true for me too. Dylan is right there for me, kind of a stand alone.

Chrissie Hynde is fantastic, in a kick ass way. I saw her once throw a wad of crumpled paper at Bob Dylan on national TV.

And Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box is wildly erotic in a kind spiritually ravishing, almost dangerous, way. Perhaps that is a deep attachment for me as well.

Amy said...

John, I must confess that I had not heard of anyone on your list aside from Albert Payson Terhune and R Crumb! I can understand enjoying their works, but could not figure out the "crush" part. And who is Ms. TB? (I googled the rest, and I still had never heard of them even after reading about them.)

As for the differences between crushes and admiration/respect, etc., I would say that no one on my list is someone I admire or respect in any significant way, although I enjoy their contributions to their respective fields. For me, it's all about fantasy and lust. Sure, it's nice that George Clooney's and Paul Newman's political views were consistent with mine, but the attraction, as Rod Stewart sings, "was purely physical."

(On that note, I should say that the three catchers on my list are not really in there based on their looks. I just like catchers!)

laura k said...

(On that note, I should say that the three catchers on my list are not really in there based on their looks. I just like catchers!)

That's why I said earlier that I think it's likely more/different than only physical attraction. I remember talking about this on a JoS gamethread - your saying your "thing" for Tek wasn't that you think he's hot.

I think what I mean by "not only physical" is that attraction is not only about looks. Surely there are better looking guitarists than Keith Richards! And why do I love Paul Newman but could never stand Robert Redford and don't care about Brad Pitt? (Just to use some examples.) Because there are other factors - a personal style, a way of moving or speaking, a prescence, a charisma - that go beyond mere appearance.

allan said...

1. Kristy McNichol
2. Bonnie Raitt
3. Winona Ryder
4. Peter Buck
5. Susanna Hoffs
6. Julie Delpy
7. Jennifer Aniston
8. Pedro Martinez
9. David Foster Wallace
10. (an obvious choice, but my brain is a sieve I)
11. (an obvious choice, but my brain is a sieve II)

laura k said...

PS: there was no number for this one. I forgot David Bowie, so only came up with 9.

johngoldfine said...

Amy--Ms TB, alas, was no celebrity though she was the star who made my universe bright for a while, if I may indulge in a little sentimental figure of speech after struggling with that damned list....

Like Allan, doing this turned my brain into a sieve.

laura k said...

Ms TB, alas, was no celebrity though she was the star who made my universe bright for a while

Link? Wikipedia? Something?

If she's not in Wiki, she probably doesn't belong on this list.

johngoldfine said...

That's what I was trying to get at, laura k. No, Ms. TBe doesn't belong on the list and isn't on the list or on Wiki, but trying to do the list made me realize the abyss between a crush and the Other Thing, represented in my mind and life by Ms TB, a real personage, person, personality, and Other Thing. Sorry for the confusion--this was a sidetrack, but I don't think really off-topic as the topic quickly evolves into trying to define crushes and separate them from other emotions.

laura k said...

Oh, ok. I don't get it, but whatever works - or in this case, doesn't work - for you is fine with me.

allan said...

Repeating my list, with one addition, and with pics:

1. Kristy McNichol (Anyone else remember Dynamite?)
1.5. Pamelyn Ferdin
2. Bonnie Raitt
3. Winona Ryder (of whom a bad picture has yet to be taken)
4. Peter Buck (w/guitar)
5. Susanna Hoffs (who is probably hotter now, at 52, than she was in the mid-80s)
6. Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise/Before Sunset)
7. Jennifer Aniston (Tala agrees)
8. Pedro Martinez (sexiest shot of the bunch)
9. David Foster Wallace

Amy said...

Allan, I love that shot of Pedro!

I thought Kristy McNichol was adorable when she was a kid. Whatever happened to her? She was such a good child actor.

laura k said...

Pics - good!

I see Dean has Michael Stipe, Allan has Peter Buck, and I always liked Mike Mills (although not on a total crush level). Anybody have a thing for guys with a monobrow? We'd have all of REM covered.

laura k said...

Yeah, that is a pretty great pic of Pedro. :)

To answer my earlier question, the first comment on this thread, no surprises until he threw in 1.5 (never heard of her) and I was pleased he included a few men.

(of whom a bad picture has yet to be taken)

Wow, that she's hot there, and I don't even really like her.

(who is probably hotter now, at 52, than she was in the mid-80s)

Now that's not something you hear often, very cool. Bonnie Raitt has also aged beautifully, although in a different way.

allan said...

Re Ms. Hoffs: I'm removing the "probably".

McNichol retired from acting when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992, although she has done voiceover work here and there.

Getting the pics, I was surprised to see a remarkable resemblance between Ferdin (who is now an animal rights activist) and the woman I was dating before I met Laura. I have no idea if that ever dawned on me at the time; I would say it did not. (Q&A interview with Ferdin from a 1995 zine called Feminist Baseball (!).)

allan said...

... with a desire that was like an encyclopedia of desire and that shrunk all the rest of the things I had ever desired to the proportions of a period in that encyclopedia.

+1

Amy said...

Thanks for link about Kristy McNichol. Sounds like she had a rough time.

laura k said...

Getting the pics, I was surprised to see a remarkable resemblance between Ferdin (who is now an animal rights activist) and the woman I was dating before I met Laura.

I was surprised to see pics of Keith and Chrissie Hynde that looked a lot alike!

laura k said...

So Allan and I have been talking about this crush thing over dinner, and he thinks the way I have always felt about Bruce Springsteen puts Bruce on my crush list. I was certainly obsessed with him for a long time, and to some extent I still am. And I've always thought he was hot. Yet I don't think of him as a crush. Which gets back to that whole indefinable thing.

allan said...

So Allan and I have been talking about this crush thing over dinner,

When L first posted this, I wrote a comment asking for a clearer definition of "crush". But I never posted it.

She wrote: "Crush is more difficult to define. It's not just someone you think is hot. ... This is someone you have a "thing" for. You'll see any movie she's in ... you taped a picture of him to your desk or had a poster of her in your bedroom. ... This person has something that makes them magnetic in your eyes."

This definition seems to overlap with the list of people you have a lot of respect for, have some seemingly personal connection to, or you wish you could be friends with. It doesn't appear to necessarily have anything to do with sex.

I said I wanted to try to explain this and L said anyway I did it, I would sound homophobic. And maybe without a day or two to fine-tune it, I will. ... I hope not.

W/r/t the three guys on my list - Buck, Pedro, DFW:

I am in awe of their talents. And all three have given me a tremendous amount of happiness. In the mid-80s, Buck seemed like the perfect hip older brother, who played in the best band around, and recommended tons of bands and records. Pedro had so much talent, and a defiant attitude and sense of humour to match, that it often took your breath away to watch him work. DFW was similar to Pedro in that way. Much of his writing hits me in the head and heart like nothing else has (or will, I'm willing to bet).

I would read everything they write, listen to every album they make, or watch them pitch for any team any time. I love all three of those guys, but I don't think there is anything sexual about it.

(Well, besides the raging boner I get every time I watch my 2004 playoff videos.)

laura k said...

I am in awe of their talents. And all three have given me a tremendous amount of happiness. . . .
I would read everything they write, listen to every album they make, or watch them pitch for any team any time. I love all three of those guys


I very much relate to this feeling, but I don't call that a crush. For me, there's also the element of pure physical attraction - not only to looks, but to that certain something, the style, the presence.

So perhaps this crush thing means different things to different people.

Amy said...

Allan, I don't think that sounded homophobic at all. FWIW. Was it homophobic that I did not list any women? I just never had any real crushes (as I define them) on women. There are lots of women celebrities I think are beautiful (Elizabeth Taylor being the one who immediately comes to mind right now), charismatic, talented, etc. But no, I never fantasized about them in the way that I would define as a crush. This seems like one of those situations where everyone may have a different definition of crush. To me it is definitely something sexual, although I am not sure how much I was aware of sexual feelings with Buffalo Bob---I was only four or five years old.

I clearly remember seeing "Cat on a Hit Tin Roof," not being able to take my eyes off Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. I had never seen two more beautiful people. But it was Paul Newman I thought about long after the movie was over.

Like I said above, "the heart wants what the heart wants." We have no control over that.

laura k said...

Allan, I don't think that sounded homophobic at all. FWIW. Was it homophobic that I did not list any women?

Oh no, that isn't what I meant at all. I suspected that Allan posting a disclaimer that his interest in any of those men was not sexual would sound homophobic - as it turned out, it didn't. Because he's a good writer. :)

If someone posted a crush list with both men and women on it, but made a big deal of saying "don't worry, this isn't sexual" about one gender, it could easily sound homophobic. That's all I meant.

Of course I agree that our hearts (and the rest of the package!) has no control over who it lusts after.

laura k said...

I clearly remember seeing "Cat on a Hit Tin Roof," not being able to take my eyes off Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.

An un-bee-leave-ably gorgeous couple.

Another one for me, in a different vein, is Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief. Not the raw heat and sexual power of Newman/Taylor, more like royalty of elegance and class.

Amy said...

Laura, that reminds me of the conversation we had on a game thread once about use of the term "man crush." :)

Amy said...

Yes, those two both had something truly regal about them (Kelly and Grant). But I never had a crush on either of them! :)

laura k said...

Laura, that reminds me of the conversation we had on a game thread once about use of the term "man crush." :)

Look under the tab "wmtc greatest hits" for a post called "have you hugged a man today?". It's one of my better moments. IIRC, it was either inspired by that conversation or the other way round.

Amy said...

Yes, I remember that post. In fact, I see that I was the first commenter!

deang said...

I was unfamiliar with Pamelyn Ferdin, but she did Lucy's voice in the Charlie Brown specials in the 70s! How cool! Thanks for making me aware of her, Allan. I can still hear her voice. It was kind of sexy.

And I remember Christy McNicholl (and her brother, Jimmy) being real popular in the late 70s, more among my female junior high classmates than among the males, for some reason.

And crush is hard to define for me too, yeah. There has to be an element of physical attraction to it, one that can overcome common sense and cause you to watch even bad shows they're in or listen to bad music by them. That kept Janeane Garofalo off my list. Even though I like her as a person and find her physically attractive, I would never watch "24" just because she's in it (even though I know that she herself is opposed to the show's message), so I couldn't include her.

laura k said...

she did Lucy's voice in the Charlie Brown specials in the 70s!

Wow! I can hear it in my mind, too.

Janeane G almost made my list too. Allan and I once saw her standup/monologue act in a small club, and we were both smitten.

johngoldfine said...

Thanks for the +1, allan--for a moment writing about Ms TB, she was again my muse, and out or nowhere suddenly came the 'encyclopedia of desire' metaphor, which, if do say so myself, I thought was nicely put.

I too was nervous about listing men on my list and went through the whole disclaimer-is-homophobic argument with myself.

laura k said...

Now I've decided that Bruce was indeed a crush.

I'm sure everyone will sleep better knowing that.

johngoldfine said...

There have been certain identifiable refrains in Western writing on beauty. One is that it must be apprehended disinterestedly: that you have to step back from the pleasure part, or rather sternly set aside the liking for pleasure we usually call desire. Beauty should somehow be its own reward rather than something which stimulates or satisfies an appetite for something else. This is easier said than done: Greek statues perturbed Kant sexually; Dutch still lifes made Schopenhauer feel hungry. Love comes in at the eye, says Yeats in “A Drinking Song”, echoing the Neoplatonists of fifteenth-century Italy; and so should beauty, engaging nothing of us below the neck, let alone the waist.

--Keith Miller via Andrew Sullivan

laura k said...

John, thanks for sharing that.

Reading it, I feel lucky that I've never subscribed to such a sterile, limited concept of beauty - or of any pleasure. Life's much too short to spend so much of it in one's head.

allan said...

I don't know who subscribed to this post, and thus who will see it besides Laura, but I have an addition from teenage-hood that I remembered for some unknown reason this afternoon:

Barbara Barrie, who played Barney Miller's wife.

laura k said...

Barbara Barrie, who played Barney Miller's wife.

That's so cute.

I didn't know that, so you didn't know that she worked at MTC while I was there.

Amy said...

And I thought you were going to add Pedroia to your list. Or to mine!