People's "Sexiest Man Alive": a title without equal or a sinister curse that will rob you, world's sexiest heartthrob, of your career, your dignity, your freedom...and your life?!
You've heard of the fabled "Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx," in which any team or individual who appears on SI jinxes its career? My high school had something similar: known as the "Yearbook Curse," it doomed any couple who posed together for their "Senior Page" to a breakup by Thanksgiving. (This could also be chalked up to "being 18", but why rule out the dark arts?)
You scoff? Well, behold the evidence:
Exhibit A: Mel Gibson, 1985. People's first-ever Sexiest Man Alive was an Aussie hunk known primarily for his arresting baby-blues and his portrayal of the dystopian vigilante Mad Max. And today? Well, let's just say he's having relationship troubles.
Exhibit B: JFK Jr., 1988 The nation's prince, the 27-year-old Camelot heir had impossibly thick locks and an air of mystery. Fell tragically prey to the better-established Kennedy Curse (or bad weather) in a 1999 plane crash.
Exhibit C: Tom Cruise, 1990. "With a killer grin and eyes to sigh for," he was indeed Hollywood's sure thing: an action hero/ladies' man with no hint of dubious cult fanaticism, rumors of sinister PR-marriages or penchants for denouncing glibness and leaping on furniture. Acquired hints of all of the above.
Exhibit D: Patrick Swayze, 1991 The strapping hero of Dirty Dancing and Ghost was a Hollywood darling. This year, succumbed at 57 to pancreatic cancer.
Exhibit E: Nick Nolte, 1992 In '92, Nick Nolte was the Prince of Tides. In '02, he was prince of a notorious mug shot - apparently under the influence of the date-rape drug GHB.
Exhibit D: Ben Affleck, 2002 After a period of laying low, the curse struck again! Ben Affleck was flying high as a leading man, bon vivant and lady-killer. Under the Influence of the Curse, in the next months he was compelled to make Gigli. Arguably, his career has never been the same. (Also arguably, his life is still pretty good.)
Exhibit F: Jude Law, 2004 Then one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood and half of a golden couple, in the years following SMA, Law's tinseltown star was tarnished by a series of underperforming films; he was found to be cheating on Sienna Miller with the nanny; some proclaimed him less cute; and people finally stopped comparing him to Cary Grant. He is only now beginning to rebound from The Curse.
As of this writing, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman - and, technically, Pierce Brosnan, Harry Hamlin and Mark Harmon - are, it must be said, fine. But The Curse is deceptive. It may not strike at once. Know this: once you have sold your soul for the title of Sexiest Man Alive, you will pay. And as to those arrogant souls who've earned the title twice? Gere and Depp must be looking over their shoulders. And Pattinson: beware.