As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the most fascinating people of 2019 in entertainment:
Let’s start with “THE BRADY BUNCH” CAST. 50 years after the sitcom debuted, fandom reached an all-time high with HGTV’s “A Very Brady Renovation” series, which shattered ratings records for the channel (and viewer expectations). A half century after we were introduced to the story of a lovely lady, a man named Brady, their six kids and housekeeper, people just can’t seem to get enough of this family. Not to mention that the actual Brady house on the outside now looks exactly like it on the inside.
Another television revival came in the form of FOX’s “BH 90210” limited series. GABRIELLE CARTERIS returned to the role of Andrea. As the six-week show was airing, Carteris was also in the middle of a controversial re-election campaign for SAG-AFTRA president, beating opponent Matthew Modine by less than 2,900 votes. And as Ryan Seacrest revealed on “LIVE”, one of her daughters just auditioned for the new season of “American Idol” (the clip will likely air when the show returns in February).
Two-time Oscar winner TOM HANKS could receive his first Academy Award nomination in nearly two decades for his performance as Fred Rogers (last year’s Most Fascinating Person) in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”. The fact that Hanks and Rogers are actually related is fascinating itself. Hanks also reprised the voice role of Woody (for possibly the final time) in Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” – a major gamble that paid off.
BOB IGER is overseeing the continuing box office reign of Disney with blockbusters like “The Lion King”, “Avengers: Endgame”, “Frozen II” and this week’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”. The Mouse House’s overall presence in pop culture just keeps rising. Iger, who published a memoir earlier this year called “The Ride of a Lifetime”, was able to bring Spider-Man back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Sony wanted Spidey out for good. His latest creation, Disney+, is taking the streaming world by storm. And Iger is in the middle of an ongoing, heated debate with “The Irishman” director Martin Scorsese over whether Marvel movies are considered legitimate “cinema”.
Singing extraordinaire ELTON JOHN is currently on his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road World Tour. This year he also contributed original songs to the new version of “The Lion King” (“Never Too Late”) and “Rocketman” (“I’m Gonna Love Me Again”), a biopic on… him. Taron Egerton is up for the Best Actor Golden Globe and SAG Award for his work as John in the dazzling musical.
She’s a singer, media mogul, fashionista and all around superstar. Could Oscar winning actress be added to JENNIFER LOPEZ’s list of accomplishments? We’ll find out in the new year. In the meantime, Lopez broke through this year like never before as Ramona in the drama “Hustlers”. That same month of September, she got engaged to former baseball player turned businessman Alex Rodriguez. In the middle of her upcoming awards season run, Lopez is also set to headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Everywhere you looked in 2019 – there was LORI LOUGHLIN in the headlines. Felicity Huffman only served a handful of days in prison for the college admissions scandal. But what makes Loughlin’s saga even more fascinating is that she’s still fighting what feels like a never-ending legal battle. Loughlin’s “Fuller House” cast members have also had to walk the fine line of either flat-out commenting on the situation or subtly inserting their opinions (even during an acceptance speech at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards of all places).
The biggest career revival witnessed in 2019 belongs to KEANU REEVES. “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” easily broke box office records for the franchise. Reeves also voiced a key role in “Toy Story 4”. The internet has deemed him simply the coolest guy on the planet. And now he’s set to star in 4th installments of “Wick” and “The Matrix” franchises. Plus, he’s in the new “SpongeBob” movie coming next summer.
TAYLOR SWIFT was recently named the Artist of the Decade by the American Music Awards. This year she also settled her feud with Katy Perry, while igniting another one with Scooter Braun over the rights to her music. This week, Swift can be seen in director Tom Hooper’s big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Cats”. Swift has already earned her 3rd career Golden Globe nomination for the new original song “Beautiful Ghosts”, which she co-wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Will she next be performing it on the Oscars stage?
AND NOW… for The Most Fascinating Person of 2019: Who is… ALEX TREBEK?
The “Jeopardy!” host announced his Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis in March. Since then, he’s received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, viewers and colleagues across the globe. But the 79-year-old isn’t letting the disease slow him down. He has continued to tape dozens of “Jeopardy!” episodes – during one of its biggest years of the iconic game show’s 36 on the air.
February’s “Jeopardy All-Star Games” was a major success. In April, contestant James Holzhauer broke single-day earnings records and gave the show some of its biggest ratings ever. In June, Trebek won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host. Holzhauer returned for the “Tournament of Champions” in the fall. And next month, ABC is set to air “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All-Time”, with Holzhauer facing-off against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in primetime.
ABC tweeted out a promotional image of the special series, which features Trebek in the upper half, and the three contestants below. Rutter’s comment: “Seriously though everybody knows the real Jeopardy! GOAT is the guy in the top half of the frame.”
Trebek has been incredibly open over this past year about what he’s been going through. As a lifelong game show fan, I’ve admired Trebek, not only for the skill it takes to host a fast-paced, complicated show like “Jeopardy!” but for having a confident presence and constant sense of honesty. His life, especially this past year, has been nothing short of fascinating. But it goes beyond that. Alex Trebek is inspiring.