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Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar listed on Calendarlive.com’s best of the worst from 2005

Patrick Goldstein

Tuesday 3 January 2006, by Webmaster

Acting up just goes with the territory

OK, roll the highlights, the best of the worst from ’05.

Everyone knows about Russell Crowe’s little escapade last year when he was charged with assault after throwing a telephone at a New York hotel clerk. But for me, his most classic celebrity-style gaffe came during an interview with USA Today promoting "Cinderella Man" last summer. Noting that his character, boxer James Braddock, won his heavyweight title during the worst of America’s economic woes, Crowe launched into a didactic lecture on the role FDR, the New Deal and a battery of new laws passed by Parliament played in helping battle the Great Depression - when director Ron Howard gave him a nudge.

"Psst," Howard said, leaning over, cupping his mouth. "It’s Congress. Congress passes the laws in the U.S."


Celebrities are like that. Their hearts are in the right place, they do mountains of research and then, well, send them to Iraq and they just can’t seem to tell the difference between the grumpy Sunnis and those pesky Kurds.

2005 was the year Tara Reid scolded terrorists after a London bus bombing, Britney Spears advised Michael Jackson on child-molestation trial behavior and Diane Sawyer bravely followed Brad Pitt to Africa to see his efforts to end poverty there, all so she could get to the important stuff, those brow-furrowing queries about his love life, battles with the tabloids and, oh yes, his new movie, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

It was also the year when a seemingly endless array of celebs had breakdowns right in front of our eyes, as if they were all secretly filming episodes of a "Truman Show"-style reality TV series. From Dave Chapelle to Nick & Jessica to powdery substance-sniffing Kate Moss, it was the gift that kept on giving, the undercard for the WMD of all celebrity crack-ups, Tom Cruise’s sofa-jumping meltdown on "Oprah," after which the star proceeded to yell at Matt Lauer, lecture Brooke Shields and give a mad-scientist interview to Entertainment Weekly where he claimed the drug methadone was originally called Adolophine because it "was named after Adolf Hitler."

Is it any wonder some folks weren’t so excited to hear the news that Mel Gibson, whose father is now perhaps the world’s best-known Holocaust denier, was producing a nonfiction TV miniseries about - ahem - the Holocaust. Or as Nicole Richie put it, having decided to publish a novel last year instead of a memoir: "It’s more exciting to make things up."

Celebrities just can’t keep their mouths shut. When "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria, leaving a San Antonio Spurs basketball game with boyfriend Tony Parker, got into an altercation with a traffic cop who said her car was stopping traffic, she got a ticket after, according to police, loudly deconstructing for Parker the difference between celebs and mere mortals: "He’s just a Mexican bike cop. He only wants your autograph."

Keeping that in mind, here’s our annual look at the bad behavior, bizarre moments and other dubious achievements from 2005 that make show business the capital of self-involved entitlement in America.

Where is Paris Hilton when you really need her? Seventy-year-old actress Eileen Atkins told reporters last summer that Colin Farrell, her co-star in the upcoming "Ask the Dust," repeatedly asked her to sleep with him, but she turned him down. "I spent 2 1/2 hours saying no," she explained. "But it cheered me up fantastically."

Actually, we meant "nothing" in the best sense of the word: Just days after a New Yorker story quoted William Morris Agency chief David Wirtschafter as saying Sarah Michelle Gellar was worth "nothing at all" before she landed a starring role in the horror hit "The Grudge," the actress quit the agency in a huff, prompting a Morris spokesman to say, "We are deeply sorry if any remarks have caused any hurt feelings or ill will."

And besides, i’m way too young for Colin Farrell: Saying she had given up on dating other actors, "Fantastic Four" star Jessica Alba explained: "I have decided I am too high-maintenance to have another relationship with an actor. I do not need somebody who wants as much hair and makeup time as me."

Who says Donald Trump hasn’t influenced a whole generation of tycoons? After it was discovered that Russell Simmons’ Phat Fashions firm had made only $14.3 million, not the "$350 million" in sales he had publicly boasted about, the rap entrepreneur explained, "It’s how you develop an image for companies.... You give out false statements to mislead the public so they will then increase in their mind the value of your company."

And by the way, i’m offering $2 million to anyone who can find me a hit movie: Bruce Willis said he would give a $1-million reward to anyone who turns in Al Qaeda terrorist chief Osama bin Laden, saying: "I want to live in a world, and so do the Iraqi people, where they cannot have to fear being killed. Who doesn’t want that?"

Now that you mention it, we were getting a little confused ourselves: Rap impresario Sean "Puffy" Combs, formerly known as P. Diddy, announced in August that he was dropping the ’P’ from his name, explaining, "I started to get confused myself, and when I called someone on the phone it took me too long to explain who I was."

At least he didn’t say, "Awgh, save your bellyaches for the Dalai Lama": Two severely disabled fans, one of whom is deaf and breathes with the aid of a trachea tube, complained that when they approached Richard Gere to pose for a photo at the White House correspondents’ dinner last year, the star snippily responded, "Maybe later. I’m hard of hearing and have a bad hip. We all have problems."

All in all, we’d say he’s ready to make a movie with Harvey Weinstein: In Iran, meeting with dissident filmmakers, Sean Penn asked one young director if he had any government interference on set. "Not really," he was told. "All they did was beat up my leading actress and shoot tear gas into my car window when I drive home every day."

Or perhaps Tara and Britney and Jessica could buy a country together and ... : Interviewed after the London terrorist bombings last year, Tara Reid helpfully suggested a new anti-terrorist strategy, saying: "I wish all the mean people, if you want to be mean to each other, just buy a country together and blow each other up. Then we’d have no terrorists left."

Personally we think casting Tara Reid would’ve made all the difference: After "The Island" producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald blamed Scarlett Johansson for the movie’s dismal box-office performance last summer, saying, "Even lesser TV actresses, quite honestly, would’ve had more connection to [our] audience," her reps retorted, "It is unforgivable that the producers continue to blame everyone but themselves," noting that they were on vacation in Italy, "basically uncontactable" in the weeks before the film’s release.

Actually, we thought you bore a striking resemblance to Sean Penn: After bodyguards for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger detained nurse Kelly DiGiacomo at a Sacramento screening the governor attended of "Be Cool," the nurse asked them why she would be considered a threat to Schwarzenegger’s safety. She said the bodyguard replied: "Because you were wearing a nurse’s uniform."

And all along we thought it was Brad and Angelina: During a one-on-one interview with President Bush, Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto offered a novel theory for Bush’s trouble with Social Security reform, saying, "I mean, Michael Jackson’s trial and his ongoing saga has gripped the nation for the past five months...I know this is a little outlandish, Mr. President ... do you think that the focus on Michael Jackson has hurt you?"

And while we’re at it, let’s get you a new nose too: When Michael Jackson was in the midst of his child molestation trial early last year, Britney Spears said one of his friends should get him to loosen up, explaining, "He needs someone to be like, ’OK, let’s give you a mustache, let’s rough you up, let’s go to a bar, let’s get drunk and be a man.’ "

Is this all virginity is worth these days?: An EBay auction for tickets to a "40 Year-Old Virgin" premiere benefiting an L.A. homeless shelter turned into a fiasco after movie blogger David Poland bid $4,050 for the tickets but refused to pay, saying he thought he was bidding on the virginity of the fictional character in the film. "I thought it was a joke thing and that other people would bid ... up to $10 million or $20 million."

Universal, which released the film, cut a check to the charity instead.