ICONS One definition of an Icon is somebody widely and uncritically admired, but that would eliminate the most hallowed in the pantheon, like Muhammad Ali, Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Pablo Picasso, Cervantes, Dante, Dickens, Mozart, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Michael Jordan, John the Baptist, Abraham Lincoln….the list can go on and on, the point being none of these truly iconic figures were universally and uncritically admired. They all had their detractors.  But they were also all beloved and admired for their individual talents.

I’m sure the people in this collection have their detractors—Lord knows, Anthony Hopkins and Sharon Stone have pissed me off in the past—but I don’t think you can deny them their iconic status. All of the women are stunning, certainly among the most attractive in the world, and the men all bring smiles to our faces just saying their names. Are there any better actors today than De Niro, Hopkins, Foster and Nicholson? Is there a rocker you enjoy more than Anthony Kiedis? Or a songwriter with a scruffy voice and even scruffier persona than Tom Waits?

I’ve been in parlor games with friends who have asked me to choose the woman among the eight presented here who I’d most like to spend time with. I found myself talking up the virtues of each of them, for different reasons. I’ve shared food with all of them, five of them have come to my house, two of them are phone friends, and each of them makes me feel special when I’m with them.  As far as the men go, I’ve known Anthony Kiedis since he was two years old, I’ve listened to Tom Waits as much as I have to Bob Dylan (which is a lot!), I’ve argued with De Niro, eaten with Hopkins, and admired the art on Jack’s walls.

Because I’ve been able to spend time with most of them, what I’ve written is often personal. Sometimes I become part of the story, other times I try to stay out of their way. But what they all have in common is that they have nothing in common (their egos excepted, as we can take for granted that stars such as these have healthy egos). Yes, they’re all attractive. Yes, they’ve been through a number of different spouses and lovers. And yes, they all have audiences who are willing to fork over hard-earned money to see them perform. They are, after all, part of the Dream Machine that keeps us entertained.  But they are all singular and unique, and that’s why we keep coming back to them, and why we want to read about them.

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