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Celebrities capture attention on Valentine’s Day

Analise Lipari | Friday, February 9, 2007

Given the current holiday climate of love, romance and downright commercial sentimentality, I figured I’d factor one of my favorite subjects, celebrities, into the Valentine’s Day equation. How so? By way of the omnipresent celebrity crush.

C’mon, you know you’ve got one. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, all of us are infatuated to some extent with a given celebrity. Or two. Or, in my case, five and counting.

But what is it about celebrities that captures our emotions? What makes us do crazy things like send marriage proposals to fan mail addresses or wait hours for a nanosecond-long glimpse of Matt Damon?

For one thing, they’re ridiculously beautiful. Hardly surprising, given the primping and airbrushing that most celebs undergo to look remotely acceptable to the public. You’ve seen those “Celebrities are just like us!” columns in “Us Weekly,” when Brooke Shields and Kate Hudson are left without makeup or stylists. Scary stuff.

Maybe it’s the films they choose, but there’s usually some semblance of realistic emotion coming from our favorite actors, too. There’s something we can connect with, and, in the depths of our crazy minds, this makes it easier to picture ourselves marrying Colin Firth and having 2.5 kids and a white picket fence together.

So on that note, and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’m opening myself up to the world and offering my own carefully guarded top five celebrity crushes. They’re engaging, they’re sweet (well, most of them anyway) and, frankly, they’re just plain cute.

5. Jeffrey Dean Morgan

If he sounds unfamiliar, picture a scene from ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Young surgeon Izzie Stevens finds herself falling in love with her funny, sweet and downright adorable patient, Denny Duquette. Yes, that affable donor-list dweller was none other than Jeffrey Dean. Despite his tendency to play roles in which he dies (his turns on “Grey’s,” the CW’s “Supernatural” and even Showtime’s “Weeds” are disturbingly mortality-happy), I’m a fan. Slightly morbid? Perhaps, but he’s one of a select few who has mastered the “five-o-clock perma-shadow and dimples” combo.

4. Russell Crowe

This occasionally ponytail-sporting Aussie needs no introduction. Those who doubt his talent are silenced by the two Oscars in his closet, and those who doubt his sanity, given his tendency to attack anyone from a hotel concierge to the paparazzi, well, we can just forget about that. Anger management? Details, details. Superfluous, really, when you consider that this Renaissance man even plays in a band, the elegantly titled Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. “Maximus! Maximus!” indeed.

3. Ioan Gruffudd

Why put a virtual unknown on this list? Well, let’s face the facts – his last character was, after all, named “Mr. Fantastic.” Best known for playing Reed Richards in “Fantastic Four,” as well as the male lead in Disney’s immortal “102 Dalmatians,” Ioan is my favorite Welsh import, right down to his almost unpronounceable name (YO-an GRIFF-ith, if you’re interested – which you shouldn’t be, because he’s mine. Alas.), and with the upcoming “Amazing Grace,” he’ll soon be a secret no longer.

2. Hugh Jackman

He sings! He dances! And … he’s married. Despite that minor obstacle, Jackman’s versatility alone puts him in my top two, as he manages to pull off intensity (“The Prestige”), action (“X-Men”), romance (“Kate and Leopold”) and even Broadway (“Oklahoma,” “The Boy from Oz”), all while keeping his trademark smile. Plus, his accent is pretty much amazing.

1. Harrison Ford

Han Solo, Indiana Jones, John Book from “Witness” – no need for clarification. Harrison is officially the perfect man. ‘Nuff said.

Happy Valentine’s Day, kids – from my boys to yours.

Contact Analise Lipari at alipari@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.