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Out British actor John Partridge is 39 today!’s best known for his role as Christian Clarke on the long-running BBC soap Eastenders and like Christian, actor John Partridge is a proudly out gay man. He lives with his partner, actor Jon Tsouras, in London and the couple plans to marry.

His on-screen love life has also heated up with Christian finally beginning a life with Syed (Marc Elliot) after a long period of tumult.

John was born in Manchester, England, and trained at the Royal Ballet Lower School. John left college at 17 to tour the UK to tour with the original touring production of Cats. He has also appeared in productions of Grease, Tommy, Rent, Miss Saigon, Starlight Express and Taboo.

The actor was voted “sexiest male” at last year’s Inside Soap Awards. No surprise there!

I hope he’s having a very happy birthday today!!!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Happy birthday to “True Blood” star Anna Paquin!

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer at the 'True Blood' Panel. July  24, 2010Anna Paquin and other cast members of HBO’s True Blood drew one of the biggest crowds at the Comic.Com convention in San Diego yesterday.
Today, the Oscar-winning actress (The Piano) and Golden Globe winner for True Blood, celebrates her 28th birthday.
She’s so young and yet has accomplished so much.
Engaged to co-star Stephen Moyer, the actress has been a staunch supporter of LGBT equality and earlier this year, went public with the fact that she herself is bisexual.

Anna made the announcement in a Public Service Announcement video promoting the Give a Damn campaign, which features celebrities speaking out for equality.

“I’m Anna Paquin. I’m bisexual and I give a damn,” she says in the PSA.

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

“Sex and the City” Saturday: Anthony and Charlotte have a very frank discussion about “S-E-X”

Just love the friendship between Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Anthony (Mario Cantone).

He is so direct that it’s the perfect counter to her prissiness as we see in this scene where Charlotte tells Anthony that she has had sex with her divorce lawyer, Harry.

At this pointy, Charlotte thinks it’s just about sex but we all know it turns out to be so much more than that.

FILE UNDER: Sex and the City

Saturday Morning Man: Bob Woodruff!,bob_main_.jpgI watch at least some of Good Morning America each weekday and on Friday, I was surprised to see Bob Woodruff sitting in as news anchor.

This is a man who was tapped, with Elizabeth Vargas, to replace the late Peter Jennings as anchor of ABC World News Tonight back in 2006. He was just 44 then, as handsome as could be and was not afraid to get out there in the field and report such stories as the war in Iraq.

It was just such an assignment that almost cost Woodruff his life. Just a month into his job as co-anchor, he was seriously injured in an explosion from an improvised explosive device 12 miles north of Baghdad. He underwent surgery and part of his skull was removed to reduce pressure from brain swelling and he was in a medically-induced coma for a time. He began the slow road to recovery and the man who was fluent in several languages suffered for a year from expressive aphasia.

The injury meant the loss of the anchor chair (he and Vargas were replaced by Charles Gibson) but that hardly seemed to matter as Woodruff made a documentary about his recovery and wrote the book, In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing, with his magazine editor wife Lee.

He now reports regularly for various ABC News programs like Nightline and 20-20 and every time I see him on screen, I have so much respect for how Bob Woodruff has managed to come back.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men

See hilarious Alec Mapa on “The View”

Whenever I see Alec Mapa doing stand-up, I laugh until I cry.  A national audience got to see just how funny he is, as himself, when he guested on The View this morning. The man is a scream and here you can really enjoy him riffing on just how very gay Star Trek is when you really think about it.


Annual GLAAD TV report released: CW and ABC lead broadcast networks for LGBT inclusion, CBS failing Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today released its fourth annual report charting LGBT visibility on television – both broadcast and cable and the results are, as always, both encouraging and discouraging.

Of the five broadcast networks, the CW has surged to the lead with a “good” ranking thanks to both scripted and reality programming. It’s America’s Next Top Model series has a gay catwalk expert, gay photo shoot editor, gay fashion editor as well as a transgender model and two lesbian models.

But scripted shows also are more inclusive starting with Gossip Girl which saw the expanded role of gay teen Eric Van der Woodson (pictured, left) and also had lead character Chuck Bass kiss a man in one episode to help his girlfriend Blair out of a jam. What was really hot was that Chuck indicated to Blair that it wasn’t the first time he had locked lips with a dude.

The now-canceled Melrose Place had a lesbian character as did 90210 where next season a major male character will come out of the closet. Also, on the now-canceled One Tree Hill, the character of Josh came out as gay. was able to surpass ABC, leader in previous years, because it has less hours of programming so its percentage of LGBT inclusion was higher. But ABC retained a “good” ranking and remains strong with several continuing, rich characters.

Let’s start with gay married couple Mitchell and Cameron on the new comedy Modern Family which is a ratings hit and scored several Emmy nominations in key categories. The series kicked off with Mitchell and Cameron bringing home their newly adopted daughter and has remained an integral part of this breakout hit. Grey’s Anatomy, Calle and Arizona remain a lesbian couple and on Ugly Betty, Justin Suarez not only came out to his family, he also got his first boyfriend and had the support of older gay friend Marc.

Desperate Housewives brought back the character of Andrew Van de Kamp on a regular basis mid-season and continued to feature gay couple Bob and Lee who revealed they are trying to become parents. A lesbian relationship also began on Wisteria Lane with Dana Delaney’s character of Katherine in love with a stripper played by Julie Benz.

On Brothers & Sisters, Scotty and Kevin remained a solid couple and are trying to have a baby via surrogate while Kevin’s uncle Saul deals with not only coming out as a gay man at an older man, but with the knowledge that he is HIV positive.

Fox received an “adequate” ranking thanks to its breakout gay character of Kurt on Glee which earned actor Chris Colfer an Emmy nomination. After that, it can only point to having openly gay people as judges on its reality shows: Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol and Adam Shankman on So You Think You Can Dance., the network that brought us Will & Grace but had not built on that legacy for several years, saw its LGBT inclusion improve from “poor” to “adequate” with a male gay nurse of Mercy, a gay paramedic on Trauma and the better-late-than-never revelation that Law & Order: SVU chracter Dr. Hwang (played by out actor BD Wong) is gay.

As far as CBS, which received a “failing” ranking, it is clear that LGBT visibility is simply not a priority when it comes to scripted shows. The network has more hit ensemble dramas than any other with the CSI and NCIS franchises as well as Criminal Minds and The Mentalist but not a single regular character is gay – not ONE. Ditto for its comedies which include Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, Rules of Engagement and the now-canceled New Adventures of Old Christine.

But CBS has featured gay contestants on its hit reality shows Amazing Race, Big Brother and Survivor.

Mike O'Malley received an Emmy nomination for his role as Burt, a  dad struggling to understand his gay son, in the hit show 'Glee.'GLAAD reviewed a total of 4,787.5 hours of primetime programming for inclusion of LGBT characters or issues on the five major networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC) from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010. GLAAD also examined 1,227.75 hours of original primetime programming on 10 highly-rated cable networks. Each hour was reviewed for on-screen LGBT representations. Based on the quantity, overall quality and diversity of these representations, a rating was assigned by GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Program to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing.“When television networks share real stories of our community, audiences begin to see the common ground that we all share,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Over the last year, viewers across the country celebrated the arrival of Mitchell and Cameron’s baby on ABC’s ‘Modern Family’, while teens and parents everywhere were moved by Kurt Hummel’s relationship with his father on Fox’s ‘Glee.’ These images and stories are being noticed by viewers, critics and Awards programs and we urge other networks to open their airwaves to such powerful and inclusive messages.”

While the networks could not finish any higher than “good,” GLAAD awarded its first “excellent” ranking ever to MTV [more on cable rankings tomorrow] Of MTV’s 207.5 hours of original primetime programming, 42% included LGBT-inclusive images that reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of the LGBT community as well as a strong cross-section of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“It is with great pride that GLAAD honors MTV with our highest mark of excellence in recognition of the network’s commitment to fair and accurate representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said Barrios. “From their inception, MTV programs like ‘The Real World’ and ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ have offered richly diverse portrayals of gay and transgender people that help Americans better understand and accept our community.”

In addition to MTV’s groundbreaking “Excellent” rating, five networks (ABC Family, HBO, Lifetime, Showtime and TNT) received “Good” ratings, marking the first time that a majority of cable networks received higher than an “Adequate” rating.

Here is a LINK to the full GLAAD Report.

FILE UNDER: Television

“True Blood” hunk Joe Manganiello’s got it, flaunts it


This guy kinda leaves me speechless (hey! It’s been known to happen once or twice!) Joe Manganiello, who is new to HBO’s True Blood as new werewolf Alcide has gotten so buff for his role (or maybe he was already that way?) that he will be featured in a photo spread in the next issue of Muscle & Body.

Am I too old to hang centerfolds on my wall?


Happy 21st Birthday to Daniel Radcliffe!

Our Harry Potter has grown into such a nice young lad.

Daniel Radcliffe has a thriving film career thanks to the Harry Potter franchise and has also triumphed on the Broadway stage in Equus and will next star in a revival of  the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

He’s straight but a staunch ally of the LGBT community even making a public service announcement for The Trevor Project which offers crisis services and a suicide prevention helpline for LGBT youths.

In an interview with Moviefone last year he said: I grew up around gay people my entire life, basically, that’s possibly why I’m quite camp, and some people think I’m gay when I meet them, which I think is awesome. It’s always good to keep them guessing [laughs]. I don’t go on any blogs or chats or anything, but my friends are demons for them, and apparently someone said “Daniel Radcliffe is gay. He’s got a gay face!” [Laughs] I really don’t know what a gay face is.”

I’d say he’s got handsome face!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Friday Morning Man: Cesc Fabregas! Spanish soccer star is not only a World Cup champion and incredibly sexy, but Cesc Fabregas looks like a good kisser too!

He recently fulfilled reporter Raul Gomez’s dream of kissing a world champion by giving Raul a smooch on Spain’s TV show Caiga Quien Caiga.

Wow. Is that all it takes? Kissing a world champion is also MY dream so if I ever meet Cesc, I’ll be puckered up and ready!

What a sweetie this Spanish footballer seems to be. The central midfielder is just 23 and has played for the Premier League team Arsenal since he was 16 and by the 2006-07 season, had emerged as one of the key creative players for the team.

He has been club captain since November 2008.

In the World Cup final, Fàbregas set up the extra-time winner for teammate Andres Iniesta to win Spain the World Cup for the first time in their history.


FILE UNDER: Morning Men

“I Love Lucy” Friday: The Ricardos sell the Mertzs their old washing machine and a big fight ensues!’s always so funny when the Ricardos and the Mertz’s have a big fight and boy, have they had some doozies over the years.

This one erupts after Lucy and Ricky sell Fred and Ethel their old washing machine for $35. After the machine starts going beserk, the couples begin to feud over who really owns the machine and who should pay for the repairs.

The insults are hilarious and especially classic is the scene where Lucy and Ethel are on the balcony trying to push the machine over to each other’s property.

The classic line is from Mrs. Trumble who comes out and says: “Mrs. Ricardo, your temper’s as hot as your red hair.”

Lucy says: “ME? What about HER?”

Ethel: ‘Oh, mine’s as cold as your dark roots!”

FILE UNDER: I Love Lucy Friday

Darryl Stephens and Jensen Atwood among guests slated for this weekend’s GLAAD “Top Chef” event,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,noah.jpgAm really looking forward to attending GLAAD’s Chef Invasion event in Hancock Park on Sunday.

Chef Paul McCullough (Next Food Network Star) celebrates the 13th year of bringing supporters together for a mid-summer afternoon with fabulous fare from celebrity and Los Angeles chefs and restaurants. The 2010 event features a Chef Challenge with Elizabeth Falkner and Mark Peel from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, celebrity judges including Gretchen Rossi, tasting stations from LA restaurants, and a food & wine-themed auction.

Chef Susan Feniger, executive chef/owner of Street in Los Angeles (and one-half of the Hot Tamales team!) will serve as host. Also participating: chef Elizabeth Falkner, owner/partner of Citizen Cake in San Francisco and chef Mark Peel, executive chef/owner of The Tar-Pit in Los Angeles and The Point in Culver City.

To make things really sexy, Darryl Stephens and Jensen Atwood (pictured) of the Noah’s Arc TV series and feature film will appear.

I went to this event last year and had a wonderful time. I’m told there are still some tickets available so it’s not too late!  Patron tickets are $150 and includes VIP admission ticket with judging entry for Chef Challenge. General Tickets are $100.

For more information:

Participating restaurants: Bastide, Cream by Crystal, Dominick’s/Little Dom’s, The Foundry on Melrose, Paul’s Kitchen, POM Wonderful, Barefoot Wine and Zico Pure Coconut Water.

FILE UNDER: Benefits

Julianne Hough: “I thought Ryan Seacrest was gay”’m not sure why this coupling reminds me of Jake and Vienna from The Bachelor but it does.

So singer-dancer Julianne Hough of Dancing With the Stars fame is dating American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

No one is more surprised than she is it seems.

TMZ reports Julianne as admitting to friends at a dinner in North Carolina: “He was after me since I was 18 … he totally wasn’t my type … I thought he was gay. … After a few years, he was persistent … so I went out with him on a date and I realized how much I liked him.”

Well, isn’t that special?

I wish these crazy kids all kinds of luck!

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black goes from Harvey Milk screenplay to one about the “Barefoot Bandit” pal Ted Johnson has this scoop in Daily Variety: Dustin Lance Black has been set to pen the screenplay for 20th Century Fox’s film about infamous 18-year-old outlaw Colton Harris-Moore, a.k.a. the Barefoot Bandit.

The bandit was arrested on July 11 after evading capture for years during which he committed scores of crimes, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, including allegedly stealing at least five small aircraft, a boat and two cars, as well as burglarizing at least 100 private residences.

“It’s clear that there’s a reason the country has become so enamored with this story, and that is worthy of investigation,” Black told Variety. “Like any great outlaw story, it speaks to the social and political mood of a generation.”

David Gordon Green is in final talks to direct the film based on a book proposal, “Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw,” by Bob Friel who profiled Harris-Moore in the January edition of adventure magazine Outside.

Since winning the original screenplay Academy Award for Milk last year, Black wrote and directed the upcoming film What’s Wrong with Virginia? and recently wrote the screenplay for 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man.


Brad Rowe joins ABC’s “General Hospital”

We first fell in love with Brad Rowe when he starred opposite Sean Hayes in Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss then again a few years ago when he starred in one of the better gay love stories ever done: Shelter.

On August 13, Brad checks into the ABC soap General Hospital the role of Murphy Sinclair, an internationally famous movie star who is involved with supermodel Brenda (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo).

In his younger years, Brad was sometimes confused with a real international movie star named Brad whose last name is Pitt!

“It’s definitely been something that’s referenced a lot,” Brad told me back in 2008 while promoting Shelter. “I wouldn’t venture to guess whether it’s hurt or hindered me. It’s been something people have latched onto but I think it’s waned as I’ve gotten a little older. Physically, I have changed and he has changed. But anytime people have a little hook to think about, it can never be a bad thing.”

In between Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and Shelter, Brad starred in the short-lived TV series Wasteland and Leap of Faith and has done scores of episodic guest spots on such shows as The Mentalist, The Closer, CSI, Ghost Whisperer, Cold Case, How I Met Your Mother, Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, 1-800-Missing and NewsRadio.

Brad has also had roles in the films National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Lucky 7, Four Corners of Suburbia, Fish Without a Bicycle and Love for Rent.

Married to Lisa Fiori since 1999, Brad got a bit of a late start in Hollywood because he had an earlier career as a finance manager for political campaigns in Washington, D.C. He’s made up for lost time though and it will be fun to see him on General Hospital!


Say goodbye to Luke and Noah and Reid and say hello to much more of JULIE CHEN? what will CBS replace As the World Turns with when it goes off the air in September?

With a View-like talk show headed by Julie Chen!

Why does everything have to star Julie Chen?

The Big Brother host and CBS Early Show co-host (and wife of CBS head honcho Les Moonves) will be joined on the weekday chatfest by Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

What do they all have in common?

They are all mothers!

According to a CBS press release, “The co-hosts — moms with children ranging in age from infant to adult — will swap stories, challenge each other on issues and engage the studio audience and viewers at home about events in the headlines and their own homes through the lens of motherhood. Show segments will include guest interviews with entertainers and newsmakers, live remotes from the field and personal home footage shot by the co-hosts themselves.”

Hey, as long as they don’t add the insufferable Elisabeth Hasselbeck to the crowd, I wish them all the luck in the world.


“Designing Women” Thursday: Delta Burke’s weight gain was comedy gold for Suzanne Sugarbaker Delta Burke is one of the most beautiful women to ever grace a television screen, much was made of when she started packing on pounds during seasons two and three of Designing Women.

While the weight gain signaled trouble in the actress’s personal life, it was comedy gold for her character of Suzanne Sugarbaker, the self-absorbed beauty queen who simply got funnier and funnier as time went on.

By season four, Suzanne’s weight was written into several episode including the classic episode – They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They - in which she attends her high school reunion and has to face judgment from classmates who remember a far more svelt Suzanne. The first clip is from that landmark episode which earned Miss Burke the first of her two Emmy nominations for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.

Thursday Morning Man: Gerald McCullouch!’s Morning Man is, quite simply, the sexiest man alive.

At least that was my feeling after discovering Gerald McCullouch in the terrific gay comedy BearCity which was a big hit at Outfest and has a special screening in Long Beach tonight.

Gerald plays the sexy and single Roger in BearCity who surprises himself and everyone else in his crowd when he falls in love with a young 20-something “twink” in this movie set in the gay “bear” scene in New York City.

I would have already been familiar with Gerald had I ever watched CSI: Crime Scene Investigation because he has the recurring role of Bobby Dawson on the long-running CBS show.

The actor has been doing guest spots and multi-episode arcs on various television series for 20 years now with credits that include the original Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, In the Heat of the Night, NCIS, 7th Heaven, Chicago Hope and episodes of both Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Gerald, who is 43 and openly gay (hooray!) was the writer-director-star of the award-winning short film The Moment After, also has many stage credits including playing Jesus in the European tour of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Last year, the actor was attacked in a subway while traveling in New York. A man tried to grab his laptop so Gerald, a trained boxer, flattened him. But then the man produced a knife. According to new reports, Gerald was able to hit him several more times and avoid injury.


FILE UNDER: Morning Men

Is publicist Howard Bragman developing coming out TV show? THAT would be must-see TV!

Howard Bragman by you.

That’s the word from Deadline Hollywood which reports that Howard Bragman is developing a TV show tentatively titled Coming Out.

The man best known for helping such stars as Meredith Baxter, Chely Wright and former NBA player John Amaechi come out publicly is reportedly working with  JUMA Entertainment and A&E on the project project which will feature multiple public figures coming out of the closet.

If this comes to pass, wouldn’t that be GREAT! People lining up to come out rather than hide in the shadows.

I saw Howard over the weekend at the Coming Out In Hollywood panel at Outfest and while he did not provide me with this scoop (dammit) but did drop a hint during the panel that if anyone knows a high-profile celebrity coming out of the closet he has a great TV opportunity.

I was so busy chasing Don Roos after the panel didn’t think to follow-up with Howard on that.

Here is more of what Howard said during the Outfest panel: “If there are superstar male actors who are in the closet and they are worth $100 million and they have this whole fake life, there’s just nothing sadder.”

Cheyenne Jackson: “[He's] has never been in the closet, credibly plays Tina Fey’s boyfriend on 30 Rock, nobody questions it. If you saw him in Xanadu, little girls didn’t go ‘Oh he;’s gay, he doesn’t turn me on.’ He turned everybody on. It was the shorts in Xanadu.”

Howard Bragman by you.On whether or not to come pout: “It’s your personal life versus the professional. I always find it ironic I’ll meet a 20-something attractive actor and he’s like, ‘Well, I could never come out because I’m the leading man type. It’s like you have a better chance of winning the California Lottery and in the end, you’re going to be much happier in your personal life if you come out. But you have to do what’s inside your soul.”

“The number of working actors that are out of the closet is pretty much something you can count on your hands and your ties. It’s still a miniscule number. It’s getting better every day. Since Meredith [Baxter] came out it;s been the biggest time for celebrities coming out in popular history between Meredith and Chely [Wright] and Sean [Hayes] and Ricky Martin. … But it’s just scratching the surface.”

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about all the wonderful famous people who have come out in recent years and whatever happens down the road, they deserve such credit for paving the way. They include: Chad Allen, T.R. Knight, Luke Macfarlane, Cynthia Nixon,  Jonathan Groff, Meredith Baxter, Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Urie, Anthony Rapp, Kd Lang, Amanda Bearse, Ricky Martin, Scott Evans, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sir Ian McKellen, Gavin Creel, John Barrowman, Chris Colfer, Sean Hayes, David Hyde Pierce, Cheyenne Jackson, Robert Gant, Wilson Cruz, Peter Paige, Harvey Fierstein, Randy Harrison, Leslie Jordan, Martina Navratilova, Darryl Stephens, Portia de Rossi, Jane Lynch, Nick Adams,  Mario Cantone, Sam Harris, Bryan Batt, Doug Spearman, Sarah Paulson, Thom Bierdz,  Gerald McCullough, Rosie O’Donnell, John Waters, Jason Stuart, Bruce Vilanch, Matthew Montgomery, Stephen Guarino, Tab Hunter, Steve Callahan, Charlie David, Mitchell Anderson, Ellen DeGeneres, Lance Bass, Phillip Keene, David Pevsner, John Partridge, Richard Chamberlain, Dan Butler, Alan Cumming, Jim J. Bullock, David Burtka, Greg Louganis, Rupert Everett, Bill Brochtrup, Malcolm Gets, Jonathan Slavin, Nate Berkis, Cherry Jones, and Adam Lambert.

I look forward to adding to this list!


Nick Adams cast as a lead in Broadway bound production of musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” excited for Nick Adams.

The muscular openly gay actor who came to fame as Mario Lopez’s co-star in A Chorus Line of Broadway a few years back will be  headlining on Broadway in the role of Felicia/Adam in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

The musical will make its North American debut for a 12 week run in Ontario beginning October 12, with plans for a spring 2011 Broadway transfer. Adams will join previously announced stars Will Swenson as Tick and Tony Sheldon as Bernadette in the leading roles.

The show was written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott and had its world premiere in Australia in 2006.

Nick, 27, is currently on Broadway in the Tony winning revival of La Cage aux Folles as Cagelle Angelique and has also appeared in Broadway productions of Guys and Dolls and The Pirate Queen.

His last day in La Cage is August 8. Rehearsals are currently being held to find his replacement.

It was during the run of A Chorus Line that Nick came to fame because when Mario Lopez joined the show as the star, Nick was forced to cover up his very buff body in order to not upstage Mario’s buffness. Nick was very diplomatic about the whole thing and his classiness earned him many more fans – including me!

FILE UNDER: Out Stars, Stage

Leonardo DiCaprio on the cover of Rolling Stone

So many child stars not only have trouble transitioning to adult stardom, they have trouble transitioning to adulthood period.

Not Leonardo DiCaprio.

The kid who got his start on Growing Pains has always had the talent and as a teenager starred in such provocative movies as Total Eclipse, The Basketball Diaries, This Boys Life and an Oscar-nominated performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Superstardom came in 1997, when he was just 22, with the phenomenon that was The Titanic.

Instead of losing his way, DiCaprio became more choosy than ever about his projects and worked with top-flight directors such as Martin Scorsese (The Aviator, Gangs of New York, The Departed and Shutter Island), Steven Spielberg (Catch Me if You Can) and Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road). Leo was also nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Blood Diamond directed by Edward Zwick.

His latest collaboration is with director Christopher Nolan in Inception which opened at number one at the box office last weekend. Taking in $62 million in its first three days, the film was the biggest opening of Leo’s career!

I met Leo at the Academy Awards nominees luncheon the year he was nominated for Blood Diamond. It was a surreal event for me because I was seated right next to Jennifer Hudson and Leo and Mark Wahlberg were at the next table.

Then about a year later, I made a late night stop at the Taco Bell near Beverly Center and Leo was there with two female friends. He was low-key and not drawing attention to himself but when a couple of employees asked him to pose for pictures with them, he happily obliged.

He’s someone who seems comfortable with his stardom but whose main priority is being an actor.

But this does not mean he does not have anxious moments: “[My stomach churns over] really stupid stuff,” DiCaprio reveals in the new Rolling Stone cover story. “Things that shouldn’t make you anxious whatsoever. It’s crazy how your mind will become this database to make you worry about things that are so arbitrary. I have a well-organized life, and I’ve put a lot of thought into the things that I do, and then, you know, my stomach will be…I’ll just be sitting there, totally anxious about something ridiculous.”

More excerpts:

On growing up:
“I was essentially a dwarf with the biggest mouth in the world. I would talk back to anyone and be up for any fight, and when you tell a kid that’s three years older than you to shove it, you’re going to get your ass beat…I was a real punk, there’s no question about it.”

On partying in the pre-TMZ age:
“I got to be wild and nuts, and I didn’t suffer as much as people do now, where they have to play it so safe that they ruin their credibility. I didn’t care what anyone thought…. It was also about avoiding the tornado of chaos, of potential downfall. It was, ‘Wow, how lucky are we to not have hung out with that crowd or done those things?’ My two main competitors in the beginning, the blond-haired kids I went to audition with, one hung himself and the other died of a heroin overdose… . I was never into drugs at all. There aren’t stories of me in a pool of my own vomit in a hotel room on the Hollywood Strip.”

On dating:
“I had better success meeting girls before Titanic. My interactions with them didn’t have all the stigma behind it, not to mention there wasn’t a perception of her talking to me for only one reason.”

On dealing with his Titanic fame:
“It was like there was a separate entity out there,” he says. “Not to use a James Cameron reference, but it was like being in a little bit of an avatar.” He cringes. “That’s going to sound extremely self- indulgent. It’s going to sound like, ‘Oh, I was a frickin’ avatar,’ give me a break, I’m already vomiting.”