As it is wont to do, my mind was wandering the other day and it wandered upon this little question lying in the overgrown weeds and wildflowers growing next to the tracks of my train of thought; Which celebrity would you like to have as a best friend?
These days we all know a lot more about the lives of celebrities than we probably need to know. Between People Magazine (and all its clones), newspapers, websites and TV shows galore, there’s a pretty good chance that, with a little thought and research, we could come up with enough information about a particular celebrity to make a decision as to whether we would want him or her as a best friend. I say that with the caveat that, obviously, none of us can ever really know what another person is like on the inside or what their life will ultimately consist of until it is ended.
But let’s try it anyway – shall we?
For the purposes of this little question, “celebrity” will mean:
A. An actor, TV personality, sportsperson, athlete, musician, corporate leader, author or politician of either gender. It will not mean “flash in the pan, trying to get more than their allotted 15 minutes of fame” people like “Joe the plumber.” types. And I don’t have anything against “Joe the plumber” (other than his political stand, and his actions, and his thoughts, and his words), but that is not the type of celebrity I’m referring to in my question.
B. Also, unless you typically base your best friend choices on only one aspect of their being, such as looks, political view, philosophy, vocabulary, etc. please try to make your choice based on an informed decision about the person, in other words knowing a broad range of information about the person and how they think, behave, treat other people, etc.
C. Not a dead or historical person. Unless you’re into necrophilia, please confine your choice to those who are among the living. Otherwise, I might have considered Randy Pausch, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln or Aristotle.
D. Finally, not your current best friend, spouse, parent or sibling, unless they happen to be a celebrity.
While you think about your choice, let me share with you some who fell into my consideration (in no particular order, so don’t try and draw anything from that) and then who my final choice ended up being.
10. Bill Clinton – Yeah, he’s one of those guys you either love or hate, I happen to think he is a great leader and politician; tarnished (like most of us are), but great. Intelligent, compassionate and passionate about what he believes in.
9. Neil Gaiman – comic book writer, author and screenplay writer; from his blog and interviews he seems to be kind, friendly, intelligent and a person who would be a fantastic conversationalist. I love his writing. Plus, he wears all black, something I hope to do when I’m retired.
8. Harrison Ford – If he were my best friend, my daughter would spend more time around me because she thinks he’s great. Ok, that’s only part of the reason. He’s always seemed to be level-headed in spite of the chance he had to get a big head from all the publicity of Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies. He’s quiet-spoken (like I try to be) and gives thought to answers without blurting out something. He seems genuinely nice. Plus, If he were my best friend, my daughter would spend more time around me.
7. John Walsh – Father of murdered 6 year-old Adam Walsh. My own children were 6 and 3 1/2 when Adam Walsh was abducted and decapitated in 1981. If I contemplated such a heinous thing happening to one of them, I believe I would have gone insane. Mr. Walsh took that agony that any loving parent would have felt and turned it into something immeasurably good and lasting. His actions changed laws and procedures dealing with missing children, and his show “America’s Most Wanted” has been responsible for the capture of over 1,000 felons. I’m not sure I would have had the strength of character to move beyond such a horrific event and make something so positive out of it like he has done. He is a great inspiration to me, and no doubt to others.
6. Al Gore – He was robbed of the Presidency in 2000; but instead of going off and hiding, he returned to his first love of ecology and the environment to make an even greater impact on our country and the world. I admire his intelligence, passion and dedication.
5. George Clooney – I like the way he thinks, talks and comports himself. I like his quiet philanthropy and his charitable work. And I like to watch him act.
4. Bruce Willis – He’s a man of few words (like me), seems to treat people well and is an action-movie hero (unlike me). Anyone who can take some of the outlandish scenes in “live Free or Die hard” and make them almost believable has my admiration as an actor. He seems like the kind of guy who is never ruffled by anything, including having his gorgeous ex-wife being in a relationship with a guy almost young enough to be her son.
3. Oprah Winfrey – she’s intelligent, caring, capable, principled and seems to be very loyal to her friends. And she’s the richest woman in America. How could you go wrong with that?
2. Ellen Degeneres – she’s incredibly funny in a low-key manner, intelligent, seems to treat people well and has a kind of self-deprecating humor that appeals to me.
BONUS CONSIDERATION. Brad Pitt – An excellent actor, a very cool guy who is a friend of one of my other choices (George Clooney) and has my great admiration for his charitable housing work in New Orleans. PLUS he’s set up house with the incredible Angelina Jolie!
And my top choice of a celebrity to be my best friend…
1. Will Smith – Admittedly, I never cared for Mr. Smith’s early career persona of musician The Fresh Prince portion of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, or his role as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the TV sitcom of the same name (but in all fairness I’m not a huge fan of many sitcoms). In fact, his first few movie roles such as Made in America, Six Degrees of Separation and Bad Boys left me with the impression that Smith was just another mediocre musician trying to make the crossover into film without any real talent to justify his casting. In other words, the only reason he was cast was because he was part of a “hot” musical act. And that may have been the case back then, but Mr. Smith made sure he took it even further to prove he was not going to be some “flash in the pan” whose name would be quickly forgotten.
Today, I would happily watch ANY production in which Will Smith is the star. Movies like Independence Day, Enemy of the State, I, Robot and I Am Legend are among my favorite films, but my choice of him for my celebrity best friend is not limited to his obvious mastering of the craft of acting.
I cannot recall a single interview with Will Smith that I have ever seen or read in which he was not courteous, funny, thoughtful and just plain nice; a niceness that comes through in every red carpet photo op, interview, press conference and outtake or deleted scene from any of his blockbuster movies on DVD. And it was actually an interview I read this past week that revealed the secret behind that attitude and clearly explains why he is the overall nice person that he is:
“I learned to live by a principle that my grandmother taught me. I once asked her why she was always smiling, and she said it was because she knew what she was here for, which was to make everything she touched a little better. And then she touched me.”
What a fantastic attitude and life philosophy! There is no doubt that Mr. Smith has learned to live by that principle and thus he helps to pass it along to those he comes in contact with. So, if I had to pick, Will Smith would be my choice to be my Celebrity Best Friend.
And just think, if he was, we could re-form DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince!
Who Is Your Celebrity Best Friend?
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