Archive for the ‘gorgeous men’ Category

Idris Elba

Idris Elba (1972- ) is a British actor best know for playing a cold-hearted drug dealer, Stringer Bell, on the HBO television show “The Wire” from 2002 to 2004.

On this blog at the end of 2009 he was voted the sixth most gorgeous man in the world. One commenter said he was “pure dark sexual chocolate”. Essence magazine named him one of the ten hottest men on the planet in 2004 and 2005. He made the cover of their bachelor issue in 2009. In 2007 People magazine named him one of the 100 most beautiful people in the world.

His American accent is so good that people are surprised when they find out he is British. But Hollywood has little interest in black characters with British accents – just ask Thandie Newton.

He was born in East London to African parents. His father was from Sierra Leone and his mother from Ghana. His uncle was a DJ who played music at Sierra Leonean weddings and christenings. While his uncle slipped off to chat up a bridesmaid he would leave Elba in charge. By 14 Elba was old enough to travel with uncle across England as a DJ. By 15 he was a DJ in his own right.

In his early twenties he started trying out for parts on British television. He played several supporting characters but did not become known in Britain till he got a steady part on “Family Affairs” in 1997. After a point, though, he saw there was little future for him in Britain: America had a much bigger black audience and therefore more and better characters for him to play (since blacks are mostly limited to playing “black” characters).

So he came to New York and worked as a DJ while he looked for work as an actor. It was hard. First there was his accent. Then his marriage broke apart and he was living in his brown Chevrolet Astro van for eight weeks. He got some small parts and in 2001 even played Achilles in Shakespeare’s “Troilus & Cressida” (the New York Times said he had the right “graceless egomania” for the part).

Then his fortunes turned: in 2002 he hit the big time as Stringer Bell in “The Wire”, playing one of the baddest gangsters in what some say is the best police show America has ever produced. While he loved playing the Machiavellian Stringer – the character was deep even if he was cold-blooded and narrowed by his drivenness – he was glad to see Stringer as a character come to a bad end.

Since the “The Wire” he has appeared in several films, like “Daddy’s Little Girls” (2007) with Gabrielle Union, “American Gangster” (2007), “RocknRolla” (2008) and “Obsessed” (2009) with Beyonce. In 2009 he appeared in six episodes of “The Office”, a British television comedy made American by NBC – which required him to speak with an American accent!

He has a daughter, Isan, born in 2002 to his now ex-wife. He has a house in Atlanta to be near his daughter.

– Abagond, 2010.

Update (2019): Idris Elba married beauty queen Sabrina Dhowre. She was Miss Vancouver 2014:

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James Franco

James Franco (1978- ) is an American actor. He played Daniel Desario on the television show  “Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000) and Harry Osborn, Spiderman’s best friend, in the three Spiderman films (2002, 2004, 2007).

On this blog he was voted the seventh most gorgeous man in the world in 2009, just ahead of Paul Newman. It is not just this blog either:

  • 1996: Palo Alto High School: “Best Smile”
  • 2004: People magazine: 50 Hottest Bachelors
  • 2009: Salon.com: Sexiest Man Living

Salon also named him one of ten men “who might just inspire the rebirth of Jewish male cool“.

He says he is only Jewish “technically” – you know, because his mother is Jewish. He was not brought up Jewish. Still, he hopes to have his bar mitzvah in his thirties. His mother’s family is from Russia, his father’s from Sweden and Portugal.

He has wanted to become an actor ever since his shy, buck-toothed youth when he saw “My Own Private Idaho” (1991), directed by Gus Van Sant, one of his heroes, and “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990-2000). He thought acting would be kind of cool. Cool enough to get his teeth straightened. And to drop out of university: he left UCLA after his first year to study acting for 15 months under Robert Carnegie at Playhouse West.

He landed a part as a freak on “Freaks and Geeks”, a high school comedy that NBC half-heartedly ran on television for the 1999-2000 season. Some loved it, especially television reviewers, but the masses apparently prefer their high school characters to be beautiful and as deep as spit – like on “Beverly Hills, 90210”. NBC killed it after 18 episodes.

His big break came in 2001 when he starred in “James Dean”, a straight-to-television film made by TNT. He got so into character that he picked up James Dean’s smoking habit! But it also got him a Golden Globe and the notice of the great and good of Hollywood, like Robert De Niro. He has been working steadily ever since.

He tried out for the lead part in “Spiderman” (2002). He lost to Tobey Maguire, so he wound up playing Spiderman’s best friend, Harry Osborn. The Spiderman films were maybe not as good as “Freaks and Geeks” (certainly not according to voters at IMDb.com) but hugely successful nonetheless in terms of ticket and DVD sales.

In 2008 he appeared in “Milk” about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. He played Milk’s boyfriend. The great part of that is that it was directed by none other than Gus Van Sant. The not-so-good part is that he had to kiss Sean Penn, who played the lead. Franco said it made him feel uncomfortable.

He went back to UCLA, at last, and got his degree. There he studied writing under Mona Simpson, the blood sister of Steve Jobs. After UCLA he studied writing and film in New York at NYU and Columbia. While there he acted in “General Hospital”, the soap opera, for the 2009-2010 season. He played a character named Franco.

In 2010 he is set to play Allen Ginsburg in the film “Howl”.

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TJ Holmes

TJ Holmes (1977- ) is an American news reporter and presenter for CNN.

On this blog at the end of 2009 he was voted the ninth most gorgeous man in the world, coming in fourth among black men. Upscale magazine named him Maleman of the month in August 2008. Danielle Belton, on her blog The Black Snob, awarded him the 2008 Ed Bradley Award for Journalistic Hotness.

It is unknown what TJ stands for. He says it is just what his family called him growing up.

He joined CNN in 2006. He has covered news events like the Mumbai bombing (2008), the Virginia Tech shooting (2007) and the hanging of Saddam Hussein (2006).

His regular beat these days is the newsroom: you can see him presenting the news on CNN Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sometimes he fills in for Rich Sanchez during the week.

He was born in West Memphis, Arkansas. He went to the University of Arkansas, where he fell in love with television news. He liked the live element of it and has not looked back since. From there he worked his way up as a television news reporter and presenter, first in Joplin, Missouri, then Little Rock, Arkansas, then he did the weekday five o’clock news on the NBC station in San Francisco. After three years there he came to CNN.

Holmes on racism: as a local news reporter it has hurt him to see stories of interest to blacks get killed time and again. It is not that the editors are bad people but, being white, they do not see the world the same way as blacks or find the same things interesting. That means the news does not show the world as it is. He says that will change if more blacks and others, not just white men, to go into news reporting.

On a personal level he says he has been called the n-word, but he sees those people as ignorant losers. More generally he says:

I don’t necessarily consider most people racist. I have, however, seen a lot of racial bias. What I mean by that is people don’t hate me because of the color of my skin, but they simply don’t see me as an equal. Some may say that by not seeing me as an equal, that’s the very definition of racism. Rather, I believe people have so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about black people. They make assumptions based on the color of my skin.

He gives an example of washing his car: one time a white man came  up to him and asked if he was a football player. Holmes is not built like a football player, but for the white man that was overridden by Holmes being a black man owning a nice car.

He once dated Rozonda “Chili” Thomas, the C of TLC. He is set to marry Marilee Fiebig (pictured right) in March 2010. She is an Atlanta lawyer.

He likes Twizzlers and Mike and Ikes. And “The Drum Major Instinct” (1968) by Martin Luther King.

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Boris Kodjoe

Boris Kodjoe (1973- ) is a Hollywood actor best known for appearing on the television show “Soul Food” in the early 2000s. He has also been in a number of films, like “Madea’s Family Reunion” (2006). He is married to actress Nicole Ari Parker.

He will play the male lead in an upcoming television show that NBC is working on,“Undercovers”. It is about two spies who are married to each other. Not all shows make it, but look for it later in 2010.

In 2002 People magazine named him one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. A poll on this blog at the end of 2009 voted him the tenth most gorgeous man in the world – and the fifth most gorgeous black man.

He was born in Vienna, Austria to a black father and a white mother, the son of a doctor from Ghana in West Africa and a German Jewish psychologist. He is Christian by religion but since his mother’s line is Jewish, he is Jewish by race. He grew up in Germany but now lives in America. He speaks English, French and German – and a bit of Spanish.

He is named for Boris Pasternak, a Russian poet best known in the West for writing “Doctor Zhivago” (1957). The middle name of Kodjoe’s son also comes from that of a poet: Neruda.

Kodjoe wanted to become a tennis player but a back injury he suffered while studying at Virginia Commonwealth University made that impossible. Then a model scout noticed him. In the late 1990s he modelled for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and The Gap. That in turn got him noticed by Hollywood. He got a part in “Love & Basketball” (2000) and the rest is history.

He met Nicole Ari Parker on the set of “Soul Food” (not the film but the Showtime television series). He played her love interest there and again in another television show, the short-lived “Second Time Around” (2004). Fiction became fact and in 2005 they got married.

They moved to Atlanta – Hollywood is no place to bring up children and Atlanta has a strong black professional class. They have two children: Sophie Tei Naaki Lee, born in 2005, and Nicholas Neruda, born on Halloween in 2006.

Sophie was born with spinal bifida. That means her backbone was not complete. Doctors can fix the backbone part of it, but not that part that means you have to either walk with crutches or not be able to go to the bathroom on your own. Sophie is the second kind: her bladder does not work properly.

Spinal bifida is one of those reasons women of child-bearing age need to eat right: most cases can be prevented getting enough vitamin B-9 in what you eat.

To help other families going through the same thing Kodjoe founded Sophie’s Voice Foundation.

There is a MySpace page under his name. It seems to be his: he talks too much about his daughter just like a true father would.

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Here are the ten most gorgeous men in the world who are famous enough to have an article in the Wikipedia. See below for how the list was produced.

1. Oh Ji Ho (1976- ) is a South Korean actor. He made his name by starring in “Couple or Trouble” (2006) on Korean television.

2. Barack Obama (1961- ) is the current American president.

3. Johnny Depp (1963- ) is an American actor, best known for playing Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films (2003- ).

4. Keanu Reeves (1964- ) is a Canadian actor. He starred in the “Speed” and “Matrix” films.

5. Will Demps (1979- ) is an American football player.

6. Idris Elba (1972- ) is a British actor. He was in “The Wire” on American television.

7. James Franco (1978- ) is an American actor.

8. Paul Newman (1925-2008 ) was an American actor and is a Hollywood legend.

9. TJ Holmes (1977- ) is an American news presenter on CNN.

10. Boris Kodjoe (1973- ) is an Austrian-American actor. He was on the American television show “Soul Food”.

In time I will do a post on each one of these men. I already did one on Obama.

Honourable mentions: Michael Jackson (when he was black), Wentworth Miller, Morris Chestnut, Brad Pitt, Tupac Shakur, Hill Harper, Tyson Beckford, Shemar Moore, Russell Wong, Nigel Barker, Laz Alonso, Djimon Hounsou.

The top ten black men:

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Will Demps
  3. Idris Elba
  4. TJ Holmes
  5. Boris Kudjoe
  6. Michael Jackson
  7. Wentworth Miller
  8. Morris Chestnut
  9. Tupac Shakur
  10. Hill Harper

The following men did way better than expected (they did way better among voters than nominators):

  1. Oh Ji Ho
  2. Keanu Reeves
  3. Paul Newman
  4. James Franco
  5. Barack Obama
  6. Will Demps

These men did way worse than expected (they got way fewer votes than nominations and seconds):

  1. Chingy
  2. Omarion
  3. Blair Underwood
  4. George Clooney
  5. Derek Luke
  6. Mark Wahlberg
  7. Matthew McConaughey

Chingy and Omarion did not get a single vote even though they each got four nominations and seconds, beating out over 200 men to make it into the poll.

How I made the list: I hade three days of open nominations on my blog followed by four days of an online poll. Commenters were allowed any number of nominations and seconds, but voters could only vote for one man. There were 487 nominations and seconds for 253 different men. All those who were at least fourthed made it into the poll: 36 men. The poll got 264 votes.

Hardly a perfect process:

  • Oh Ji Ho’s fans caught wind of this poll are started linking to it, driving him to first place.
  • Because of the nature of this blog, the nominators mostly seemed to be black American women – not, admittedly, “the world”.
  • Yet they did not seem to make up most of the voters. In fact, even apart from Mr Oh’s fans, this blog got ten times more hits from East Asia than it ordinarily gets.

In the end it produced a far, far better list than I could ever have done on my own or as a straight man. And better than People magazine or anyone from Hollywood could have done.

Thank you to everyone who took part (even if your favourite lost)!

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