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En español | DEC. 16: His acting creds include Demolition Man and Miss Congeniality, but Bratt’s most known for his longtime role as Det. Rey Curtis on Law & Order (and, to be honest, for his four-year stint as Julia Roberts’s beau). Influenced by his Peruvian-born mom, he’s active in Native American causes.
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DEC. 18: Pitt has been a fixture on “Sexiest Men Alive” lists since he played the seductive hitchhiker in Thelma & Louise (1991). He then went on to become a movie megastar (and is betrothed to one, to boot). Next year he’ll be in the WWII film Fury, playing an army sergeant called Wardaddy.
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DEC. 19: Her role as a steel worker with a passion for dance in 1983’s Flashdance — along with the ripped-sweatshirt craze her character inspired — is forever nestled in our pop-culture memories. The Yale grad later starred in Showtime’s The L Word (2004-09), about a group of lesbians in L.A.
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DEC. 8: She's been a Breck shampoo model, Bond girl, vegetarian PETA supporter, tabloid-magnet (thanks to a bitter divorce from Alec Baldwin) and Oscar winner for her supporting role in 1997’s L.A. Confidential. Her 18-year-old daughter with Baldwin, Ireland, is (of course) a model.
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DEC. 9: He’s a bit weird and evil looking, yes, but maybe it’s just the roles he picks. He was perfectly sleazy as Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons and psychotic in In the Line of Fire. Yet, last June, he saved a man who’d fallen and cut his throat, staunching the bleeding until help arrived.
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DEC. 13: When the Federal Reserve chairman speaks, markets move. Bernanke helped steer the country away from the fiscal cliff a few years ago, possibly preventing the near downfall of Western civilization (though critics said Fed policies caused the crisis). He steps down next month.
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DEC. 17: From 1963 to 1972 he was Ernie on My Three Sons, the adopted brother of Chip — played by his real brother, Stanley. Since then he’s had small parts in big hits, including Argo and Mad Men, and he’s been cast in the upcoming Clint Eastwood-directed movie musical Jersey Boys.
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DEC. 17: Pullman must have the look of a leader. He was cast as presidents in both Independence Day and the TV comedy 1600 Penn (though he’s also played a murderer). In June he and his wife, Tamara, will appear in a Washington, D.C., theatrical dance production called Healing Wars.
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DEC. 30: She began on radio, made it big hosting ABC’s The View, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and, starting in 2006, the Today show. She’s planning a daytime talk show called The Meredith Vieira Show for next fall that she’s said will include “the three H's: Heat, Heart and Humor.”
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DEC. 11: Weird: “John Kerry face lift” is the first phrase that pops up when you type his name into a search engine. Not just a pretty face, the former Massachusetts senator and the Democrat’s 2004 presidential contender now has one tough job as U.S. secretary of state.
Jason Reed/AP Images
DEC. 18: The hard-partying Rolling Stones guitarist has been praised by Rolling Stone magazine as having “created, and immortalized on record, rock's greatest single body of riffs,” including on classics “Satisfaction” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” In March the Stones kick off a new tour in Australia.
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DEC. 23: The former SNL comedian was the bassist Derek Smalls in the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, which he cowrote. But Shearer’s greatest cultural contribution may be his work on The Simpsons, where he voices key characters such as Mr. Burns, Smithers and Ned Flanders.
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DEC. 27: Raised in the shadow of politics (her father, Hale Boggs, was a congressman), Roberts has been a go-to political pundit for years — including on ABC’s This Week. Declared a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, she now offers her analyses on NPR and ABC News.
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DEC. 31: The British actor’s breakout (and Oscar-winning) role was in the 1982 movie Gandhi. Since then he’s been in hits such as Schindler’s List, Sexy Beast and Hugo, and he was knighted in 2002 (so do call him “sir”). He plays an alien-fighting hero in the new sci-fi flick Ender’s Game.
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DEC. 15: Conway’s been making us laugh for decades now: in the ’60s as the bumbling Charles Parker in McHale’s Navy, then while costarring (and cracking up fellow cast members) on The Carol Burnett Show. In recent years he’s been the voice of Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob SquarePants.
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DEC. 19: Her first big part was in Sounder (1972), after which she became a respected figure on stage and screen. This year she won a Tony as star of The Trip to Bountiful. She took the part, she said, because, “I had this burning desire to do just one more great role.” Let’s hope it won’t be her last.
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DEC. 12: Barker was a game show host for half a century, hosting Truth or Consequences in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007. Upon his retirement, Time magazine praised him as, “quick-witted but never showy, mocking but never cruel, warm but never maudlin.”
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