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This town needs some new celebrities

Posted by Mark Leccese  July 2, 2010 12:30 PM

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Anyone else as bored as I am with the same small pack of long-in-the-tooth Boston celebrities? It’s time we got some new ones.

In a scientific effort (well, sort of scientific) to find out who our gossip columnists consider Boston’s biggest celebrities, I built a database of all of the Boston Herald’s Inside Track columns for June, ran it through some online word frequency software, and came up with a ranking for how many times the Inside Track mentioned particular Boston celebrities last month.

I would have done the same for the Globe’s Names page, but the Globe no longer appears in the LexisNexis Academic database, the only LexisNexis database I have access to (although I am told it still appears on the full LexisNexis service). Would some honcho at LexisNexis care to explain this to me?

The celebrities the Inside Track mentioned the most frequently during the 30 days of June were: Tom Brady (13 times), Dane Cook (13), Donnie Wahlberg (12), Christopher Evans (12), and Maria Menounos (11).

Gatekeeper-NKOTB1991-250px.jpgDonnie Wahlberg? Donnie Wahlberg? I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, and he’s still rolling with a fine acting career, but New Kids on the Block’s “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts twenty-one years ago. This is a guy who, under the pseudonym Dennis Cheese, cut a track with Tiffany.

Surely we can do better than that. Of those top five, the star with the most recent celebrity-born-on date is Maria Menounos, who joined Entertainment Tonight in the second year of the Bush presidency.

Here’s the rest of the list of celebrities mentioned at least three times by the Inside Track in June (I left out members of the Boston Celtics organization, since the Celtics’ appearance in the NBA Finals made them all celebrities for a month). If you’re not mentioned at least three times in a month by the Inside Track, then you’re not a celebrity. Sorry, Kelli Pedroia, but don’t give up yet.

  • Ellen Pompeo (8)
  • Eliza Dushku (8)
  • Mark Wahlberg (7)
  • Tedy Bruschi (6)
  • Anna Faris (6)
  • Tim Wakefield (5)
  • Mike O’Malley (5)
  • Josh Beckett (5)
  • John Henry (5)
  • Sarah Silverman (4)
  • Gisele Bundchen (4)
  • David Ortiz (4)
  • Cam Neely (4)
  • Adam Sandler (4)
  • Tully Banta-Cain (3)
  • Taylor Twellman (3)
  • Susan Wornick (3)
  • Paula Dasilva (3)
  • Nick Varano (3)
  • Michael Chiklis (3)
  • Julian Edelman (3)
  • Jonathan Papelbon (3)
  • Joey Mcintyre (3)
  • Jason Varitek (3)
  • Fred Taylor (3)

Joey McIntyre? (See Donnie Wahlberg, above.) Eliza Dushku was famous — costarring with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in This Boy’s Life — almost 20 years ago when she was ten years old. Ellen Pompeo is a fairly local new celebrity (she’s from Everett) and my wife loves Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ve never been able to get over that Pompeo looks, um, a little mature to playing a recent med school graduate.

That the Inside Track name-checked Gisele Bundchen only four times in June is an outrage. She’s the highest-paid model in the world! She’s married to, you know, that guy … oh, yeah, Tom Brady! The quarterback! They live in the Back Bay (among many other places)! They have a kid! She’s a big star in Italy!

I shouldn’t get so worked up. On June 19 the Inside Track published an awe-inspiring photo of Gisele walking down the street in Brentwood, California, carrying her baby. This masterful piece of photojournalism left me agog. You could have knocked me down with a feather. I studied that photo for 15 minutes. It revealed so much. The world’s most famous supermodel looked like … I don’t know if I can find the words … she looked like a woman walking down the street carrying her baby.

What I can’t figure out is how the Inside Track went an entire month without mentioning Steven Tyler, it’s number one celeb in the pre-Tom-and-Gisele days and still a Track mainstay. Perhaps that’s because the Herald ran five stories on June 30 and July 1 about Tyler and Aerosmith, including a page-one blow-out on June 30 with a two-page spread inside on how Tyler beat drugs (again) and how the members of Aerosmith are fighting among themselves (again) and how they’re playing a Fenway Park on August 14. It seems Aerosmith is “roaring back from the brink of self-destruction” (again) after “a stunning implosion” (again).

You see what I mean about the same old celebrities?

I don’t really have anyone new in mind for Boston celebrityhood — I had no idea who Christopher Evans is until I Googled him — so feel free to offer your suggestions.

No, wait, I know who should be a Boston celebrity: my mother. She’s 74, looks great, dresses stylishly, and she’s always out on the town. She’s got the Boston backstory; she’s Originally From Dorchester (Uphams Corner, St. Margaret’s, Jeremiah Burke), she worked as a saleslady at Filene’s for 33 years and she’s got a paver on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Mother’s Walk.

I could write the items myself. “…Mrs. Leccese was spotted at the Huntington Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s ‘Fences…’” “…Was that woman-about-town Mrs. Leccese we saw chatting away with her friends at the Cafe Escadrille
Tuesday night?…” “…Who’s that hoofer with the slick moves at the Line Dancing class at the Senior Center? Why, Mrs. Leccese, of course…” “…Spotted at Logan this morning: Mrs. Leccese, heading for her annual snow-bird vacation on Siesta Key. A little birdie tells us she’ll be hanging out on the beach with Anderson Cooper. …”

Not me, though. I have no interest in being a celebrity. That may not even be my picture at the top of the blog. I will neither confirm nor deny.

Follow Mark Leccese on Twitter at @mleccese.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Mark Leccese, a journalism professor at Emerson College, covered Massachusetts politics, business and the arts for more than 25 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and magazine writer. He has More »

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