Ben Kallen, author of The Year in Weird: A Comical Look at the Shocking, Strange and Just Plain Silly Events of 2005 (Booksurge Publishing) offers his list of the 10 weirdest celebrities of 2005.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: There was plenty of weirdness in the entertainment world this year, says Ben Kallen, author of The Year in Weird: A Comical Look at the Shocking, Strange and Just Plain Silly Events of 2005 (Booksurge Publishing).

The following is his list of the 10 weirdest celebrities of 2005:

10. Nicolas Cage. He and his wife named their newborn son Kal-el, the name Superman was given when he was born on the planet Krypton. As the boy is sure to find out on the schoolyard in eight years or so, that's weird.

9. Sylvester Stallone. At nearly 60, Stallone began positioning himself as the action hero for the Centrum Silver set. He announced that he's preparing to star in new sequels to his Rocky and Rambo movie franchises; appeared on the cover of Sly, a fitness magazine intended to help guys "stay in the game past 40"; and marketed his own line of high-protein pudding.

8. George Clooney. Through no fault of his own, the star suffered what can only be called a weird injury: After gaining weight for his role in the film Syriana, then falling backward in a chair during the filming of a violent scene, he suffered a tear to the dura, which is sort of a wrapper around the spinal cord. Clooney's friends reportedly said that doctors only diagnosed the painful problem after spinal fluid began dripping out of his nose.

7. Ashlee Simpson. A few months after Jessica's faux-punk little sister caused a lip-syncing scandal when the wrong vocal tracks played behind her during an appearance on Saturday Night Live, she performed at the Orange Bowl and was soundly booed. Later in the year she returned to the scene of the crime, performing on SNL again in an attempt to prove once and for all that she can sing without the help of electronic vocals. As it turned out, she can... just not very well.

6. Fergie. It was strange enough when the attractive Black Eyed Peas singer was photographed during a San Diego concert with an unexplained wet spot on a particular area of her pants. Then Scotland's Daily Record had this to say about a recent show in Australia: "The singer wet herself on stage -- and was forced to drench herself in champagne to disguise the evidence." If you combine Fergie's troubles with Ashlee's, the idea of becoming a rock star is starting to seem less like a dream and more like the stuff of everyone's weird nightmares.

5. Christian Slater. Early in the year, the Jack Nicholson sound-alike actor was accused of sexual harassment on Manhattan's Upper East Side when a woman claimed he grabbed her behind. Later on, a gossip column reported that Slater had been kicked out of a London strip club because he wouldn't take off his Richard Nixon mask. And later still, he reportedly fell off a roof while attending a party given by Paris Hilton in West Hollywood, California. That's a little weirdness everywhere.

4. Martha Stewart. By far the most elegant celebrity to be released from prison this year, Stewart told David Letterman that her euphemism for jail was "Yale." But perhaps the weirdest thing in Martha's year was the fact that she had to get the Canadian government to speed up a permit required for people with criminal records to enter the country, all so that she could participate in a charity race in which contestants paddle giant hollowed-out pumpkins across a lake. And if a British newspaper's report that the "domestic diva" is buying rights to some of late grunge-rocker Kurt Cobain's songs turns out to be true, that's just icing on the weirdness cake.

3. Russell Crowe. The combustible actor always seems weird in the same way: "Fightin' around the world," as a song on South Park once put it. This year, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault charges following an incident when -- after the staff at New York's Mercer Hotel failed to help him get a phone connection to his wife -- he threw a telephone that hit a hotel concierge in the face. He later made fun of the charges during an appearance at the Australian Film Industry Awards, where he held up an old-fashioned phone threateningly and said, Scarface-style, "[Say] hello to my little friend."

2. Michael Jackson. To most people, poor Michael is nothing but weird now, a creepy figure whose appearance, lifestyle and legal battles have completely overshadowed the fact that he once created some of the world's greatest pop songs. This year alone, Jackson faced child-molestation charges in one of the oddest (and most celebrity-studded) trials of all time; moved to Bahrain as the guest of the king's son; reportedly caused a scene in a Dubai shopping mall by entering a women's restroom; and was embarrassed by old voice recordings of what some called bigoted remarks about a former advisor. Yet, even with all that, he announced plans to release "music plus video" singles of his old songs, knowing people will still buy them because the music is just that good.

1. Tom Cruise. Still one of the most bankable leading men in Hollywood, Cruise puts so much intensity and charisma into his weirdness that he makes being strange seem almost cool. Still, let's recap: He started dating 16-years-younger Katie Holmes, only to face rumors that the relationship had been arranged for publicity value (disclaimer: no such suggestion is being made here); famously jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey's couch in a display of love-induced mania; criticized former costar Brooke Shields for having taken medication to deal with postpartum depression; harangued Matt Lauer for being "glib" on the same topic during an interview on The Today Show; and, after he and Holmes announced her pregnancy, revealed that he had purchased his own sonogram machine to monitor the child's development. So will all of this behavior have a negative effect on his career? Only if Mission: Impossible 3 stinks, and it probably won't. The lesson: Star power and big box office trump weirdness any time.


About the Author

Ben Kallen is a journalist, humorist and magazine writer whose work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Movieline, Men's Fitness, Shape, Natural Health, Playboy, L.A. Style and the Los Angeles Times. He keeps a constant eye out for weirdness from his home base in Santa Monica, California.

For more information, please Contact or visit

The Year in Weird: A Comical Look at the Shocking, Strange and Just Plain Silly Events of 2005 is available for purchase from, BookSurge,, and Alibris.

Here are some of the newsmakers you'll find in mentioned "The Year in WEIRD": Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Pamela Anderson, George Clooney, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears, Homer Simpson, Elisha Cuthbert, Madonna, William Shatner, Willy Wonka, Barbie, Elmo, Darth Vader, Vladimir Lenin, Tiger Woods, the Smurfs, Brad and Angelina, Superman, Oprah Winfrey, Renee Zellweger, Dave Chappelle, Woody Allen, Borat, O.J., Robert Blake, Celine Dion, Prince, Wesley Snipes, Bruce Willis, President Bush, Dick Cheney, Dave Matthews, John Lennon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mary Kay Letourneau, Cheech & Chong, Reese Witherspoon, Heidi Fleiss, Shaquille O'Neal, Prince Charles, Galileo, Stewie from "Family Guy," and those two pro cheerleaders... you know the ones.

Weird-news fans: If you like "News of the Weird," "Oddly Enough," "The Onion," "Wireless Flash," "The Darwin Awards" or, you'll want to buy The Year in Weird!

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