Sunday, December 16, 2007

C. Thomas Howell

C. Thomas Howell (the "C." is an abbreviation of Christopher) is a former child star best known for his lead role as a young white man pretending to be black to get a minority scholarship to Harvard Law school in the 1986 comedy, Soul Man.

Howell was born in Los Angeles, California on December 7, 1966. He is son of a stuntman and rodeo rider. As a child, he was more interested in pursuing the rodeo circuit than in having an acting career. Howell traveled quite a bit with the rodeo and was named the California Junior Rodeo Association’s All Around Junior Boy’s Champion for 1980 and 1981.

His acting career began in television at the age of four, when he was a regular on the TV series Little People. In 1977 he had a minor role in the TV movie, It Happened One Christmas, a remake of the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life. Howell's next role was a minor one in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, one of the biggest box office hits of all time. After E.T., Howell landed choice roles in the hit movies The Outsiders and Red Dawn.

By the mid-1980s Howell must have felt like he was on Cloud 9. He had already appeared in several huge hit movies and was being offered many more top roles. He was also a teenage heartthrob, the object of affection of many young girls. In 1986 he acted in The Hitcher, a horror cult classic where a psychopathic hitchhiker antagonizes Howell while going on a killing spree along a highway in the southwest. Howell also landed his career-defining role as Mark Watson in the smash hit comedy, Soul Man.

In Soul Man, Howell played a young white male who was accepted into Harvard Law School, but had to pay his own way because his parents cut him off financially. When he was unable to secure private loans on his own, he decided to load up on tanning pills to fool everyone into thinking he was black so that he could secure a minority scholarship. I personally thought that Soul Man was very funny. It basically gave an over-the-top view of the black-white stereotypes. However, the black community did not take kindly to the humor, given that Howell wore black face make-up throughout the film.

Although Soul Man was a hit, garnering $27 million at the U.S. box office, it was Howell's last major role. His career quickly hit the skids and has yet to recover. Has appeared in many productions over the past 20 years, but none of them are choice roles. For example, he appeared in a War of the Worlds movie in 2005, but it wasn't the big hit in which Tom Cruise starred. He also appeared in a remake of The Poseidon Adventure in 2005. Again, it was not the big remake that hit theatres in 2006. Instead, it was a crappy made-for-TV movie that hardly anyone watched.

On the personal side, Howell married his Soul Man co-star, Rae Dawn Chong, in 1986. In 1990 they divorced. He later remarried his current wife, Sylvie Anderson, and now has three kids.

C. Thomas Howell was a big star in the mid-1980s and was very bankable at the time. Unfortunately, after Soul Man, his career went down the toilet and has yet to recover. It's a shame because I always thought that he was a good actor. He is now relegated to acting in made-for-TV and straight-to-video flicks. Accordingly, there is no doubt that C. Thomas Howell is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - May 1, 2008 ***

C. Thomas Howell is currently appearing on the VH1 reality show, Celebracadabra. He is competing with other washed-up stars to be the best magician in a contest for cash and prizes. I watched a portion of the first episode last week. Howell impressively made a dollar bill appear to float while out on the street performing magic. After pulling off his trick, he raised his hands in the air and shouted, "Wolverines!," a line from his 1984 movie, Red Dawn.

*** Update - July 28, 2012 ***

C. Thomas Howell  recently appeared in the 2012 hit Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, where he plays Ray.  It remains to be seen whether this role will springboard Howell back into choice roles in the future.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Brigitte Nielsen

Brigitte Nielsen is a Danish actress best known for her mid-1980s marriage to Sylvester Stallone and her acting roles in Rocky IV and Beverly Hills Cop II. Nielsen has morphed from being internationally known as one of the most beautiful women in the world in the mid-1980s into a washed-up overweight skank a mere 20 years later.

Nielsen, sometimes called "The Great Dane," was born on July 15, 1963 in Rødovre, Denmark. Nielsen physically developed at an early age and was devastatingly beautiful by the time she reached her teenage years. She dropped out of high school at 16 and moved to continental Europe to pursue a modeling career. She got married in 1983, at age 20, to Kasper Winding and quickly got pregnant and gave birth. She abandoned her first husband and child a year later, in 1984, to come to America to pursue a career as an actress.

Nielsen made her film debut in Red Sonja with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nielsen reportedly had a hot affair with Schwarzenegger, who took Nielsen home to meet his mother in Austria. The couple parted ways when Maria Shriver, Schwarzenegger's other girlfriend and future wife, made him to decide between her and Nielsen.

Nielsen allegedly met Stallone, her second and most famous husband, by sending him a nude photograph of herself to Stallone's hotel room. Shortly thereafter, she was cast in Rocky IV, as Ludmilla Vobet Drago, the wife of Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Nielsen married Stallone in December 1985. Nielsen claims that Stallone was so obsessed with her that he had her likeness carved into the furniture in their mansion. There marriage, however, only lasted 18 months until she left amid rumors over an alleged lesbian affair with her female secretary.

Nielsen was on top of the world in the mid-1980s. She gained a worldwide audience with her role in Rocky IV and also posed several times for Playboy. She also scored a major role in Beverly Hills Cop II, as Karla Fry, a master thief.

Nielsen's star, however, has quickly faded since Beverly Hills Cop II hit the theatres in 1987. Nielsen recorded an album of dance music, Every Body Tells A Story, and sang the pop duet "Body Next To Body" with Austrian singer Falco. During the 1990s Nielsen continued acting, but was relegated to appearing in crappier and crappier B- and C- movies.

Nielsen has remained in the tabloids over the years primarily due to her numerous romantic relationships. She became engaged to professional football player Mark Gastineau in the late 1980s, and bore him a son. She then married Swiss racecar driver Raoul Meyer from December 17, 1993 to 2005.

Nielsen appeared on The Surreal Life 3 in 2004. Most of America was shocked to see how fat, nasty, and skanky Nielsen had become. Nielsen hooked up the diminutive and extremely ugly Flava Flav during the show, disgusting viewers.

After the completion of The Surreal Life, VH1 gave Nielsen and Flava Flav their own reality TV series, Strange Love, which showcased their odd relationship.

Nielsen and Flava Flav broke up shortly after the show ended and Nielsen got married to Italian bartender Mattia Dessi in July 2006.

It is truly amazing how fleeting beauty and fame can be. Nielsen's looks have quickly faded over the years. She used to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Nowadays, she is known primarily for her skanky/whorish ways and only the most hard-up guys would even stoop so low as to call her a MILF. Nielsen looks a good 10 years older than her biological age of 44. She also recently checked herself into rehab.

Accordingly, there can be no doubt that Brigitte Nielsen is one washed-up celebrity!