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25 Most Intriguing People of 2013

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THE POWER PLAYER

Jennifer Lawrence

Way back in March – before The Hunger Games: Catching Fire became a blockbuster and before her haircut became international news – the 23-year-old nabbed her first Oscar. Now, thanks to the buzz she’s getting for her role in American Hustle, Lawrence might get the chance to claim another Oscar in 2014 (this time without tripping, perhaps). “It just doesn’t register,” Lawrence has said of her success. “No matter what happens, it just doesn’t register.”

THE FUTURE KING

Prince George

Prince William has said his firstborn son has “a voice to match any lion’s roar”; Prince Harry has joked about escaping from his brother’s “screaming child”; and after his blissed-out behavior at his picture-perfect christening on Oct. 23, even his adoring mother, Princess Kate, acknowledged, “He’s not always like that.” But five months after a 62-gun salute heralded his arrival at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital on July 22, the little prince with the big lungs is poised to celebrate his first Christmas with smiles, coos and maybe even a bit of babble. “He will probably be saying, ‘Dadadada,’ and he’ll recognize his name and show affection,” says Sarah Dixon, a maternity nurse who has worked with friends of the royal couple’s. “Five months is a really nice age: You are starting to get a lot back from your baby.”

For William and Kate, both 31, it is also the start of building holiday traditions with their son. As they do every year, the royals will gather at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate 110 miles north of London for several days of family, food and hunting. Presents are typically “small, inexpensive things that are thoughtful,” says royals author Judy Wade. After Christmas Day services at St. Mary Magdalene church, the family gathers for lunch, which includes turkey from the estate and a Christmas pudding topped with brandy butter. But don’t expect George to splatter the Edwardian linen with cranberry sauce: Children are not permitted at the 22-person table. “Until they can hold a conversation and hold knives and forks correctly, they would be in the nursery,” says former royal chef Darren McGrady. (Also not expected at the table: Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton. Says Majesty editor Ingrid Seward: “It’s not William’s house party; it’s the Queen’s.”) After lunch “I’m sure baby George will be wheeled into the staff dining room to see everyone,” says former royal bodyguard Ken Wharfe. Following Christmas dinner “the men would have cheese and port while the women retired,” says McGrady. “A bit like Downton Abbey really!” As for the new parents, if they think they have their hands full now, well, they’d better brace themselves.”Next year George will be 18 months old,” says Dixon, “causing havoc and ripping down the Christmas tree!”

George’s First Christmas

The Feast

A staff of butlers serves traditional British fare, including a roast local turkey, brussels sprouts with roasted chestnuts and a traditional Christmas pudding.

Family Fun

The royals enjoy stocking stuffers and Scrabble as well as “silly games,” says Seward, and playtime with the Queen’s beloved corgis.

THE BRAVE ONE

Angelina Jolie

Turning a cancer scare into a global health lesson, the actress revealed in May that she’d undergone a double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In a New York Times op-ed piece, Jolie said, “I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made … I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” Her admission kicked off the “Angelina effect” – a rise in women getting tested for the faulty gene.

4 CASES of mistaken IDENTITY

Jase Robertson

The ultrashaggy Duck Dynasty star got kicked out of a New York City hotel when he was mistaken for a homeless person.

Emma Watson

The 23-year-old actress was mistaken for an “unaccompanied minor” at New York’s JFK International Airport.

Prince Andrew

At Buckingham Palace, police apprehended Queen Elizabeth’s son, mistaking him for an intruder roaming the home’s gardens.

Zooey Deschanel

A FOX news station in Dallas mistakenly identified the actress as one of the bombers of the Boston marathon.

THE BEARDED BUNCH

Duck Dynasty

Top 3 signs the A&E reality show is taking over the world: 1. The show’s season premiere had 11.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched nonfiction show in the history of cable TV. 2. The book Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in May. 3. You can buy a talking duck that spouts classic Robertson clan wisdom like “Just ’cause you’re smart doesn’t mean you’re smart.”

THE SHAMED CHEF

PAULA DEEN

This summer the southern cook got served: After Deen admitted to using a racial slur, her culinary empire crumbled as companies like the Food Network swiftly cut ties. Looking back, Deen, 66, calls the controversy “an opportunity to grow.” Still, “I’m gonna be really, really happy to see 2013 gone.”

3 ROLES that sparked RAGE

Charlie Hunnam

Fifty Shades of Grey fans were whipped into a fury when Hunnam got cast as Christian Grey. Ultimately he dropped out.

Zoë Saldana

“I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that,” said Saldana, as a retort to critics of her casting as Nina Simone.

Ben Affleck

The typical Twitter response to Affleck’s taking over as Batman? “Christian Bale, why have you forsaken us?”

KURIOUSER & KURIOUSER

The Kardashians

The Kardashians’ merry-go-round finally spun out of control – which may be why their holiday card is a lurid babescape that looks like a Las Vegas mural by Salvador Dali. 1. Kim. In a testament to true love and TMI, the mother to baby North had motorcycle sex with Kanye West in a music video. 2. Kylie and Kendall used a selfie to tweet their décolletages. No, thank you! 3. Khloé sank into tabloid hell because of her troubled marriage to athlete Lamar Odom. Her gaze suggests she’d like to join nephew Mason’s nap of innocence. (That’s his mom, 4. Kourtney, with daughter Penelope.) 5. Kris Jenner launched a terrible talk show, split from husband Bruce and palled around with a lesser Bachelor. She poses beneath her motto “Money, fame.” 6. Bruce. Encased in glass. Possibly suffocating.

TV’S FIRST LADY

Kerry Washington

Just like a savvy politician, the Scandal actress – who received her first Emmy nomination this year – is good at keeping secrets: She pulled off an under-the-radar wedding to ex-NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha, 32. The two are expecting a child in 2014. “I’m really happy,” said Washington, 36.

6. STARS who wore GRILLS

Rihanna

The fashionable singer finished off her metallic style with gold-covered teeth.

Lady Gaga

Only Gaga could recycle a tooth-inspired bracelet to produce this macabre grin.

Miley Cyrus

The pop star toned it down with one of her more subtle mouthpieces.

Madonna

She flashed her gold in Rome before tweeting,”The Grilzz Are here to. Stay!”

Beyoncé

Mrs. Carter opted for vampire glam with her mouth accessory.

Katy Perry

The “Roar” singer’s rainbow-hued bling sparkled at the MTV Video Music Awards.

HERO OF THE YEAR

Malala Yousafzai

The Taliban’s bullets couldn’t silence her: A year after she was shot in the head for supporting education for Pakistani girls, Yousafzai, 16, continues to speak out. Now living in England with her family, she wrote a bestselling memoir, I Am Malala, and has won multiple human rights awards. Conditions in her homeland remain too dangerous for her to return, but she intends to someday. “I have seen death,” she told PEOPLE, “and I am not afraid of it.”

COURAGEOUS WOMEN

The Cleveland Survivors

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were chained, beaten and raped for roughly a decade before escaping on May 6, 2013. In a YouTube video released this summer, the women thanked the public for their support. “I will not let the situation define who I am,” said Knight, 32, in the video. Since their escape, Berry, 27, who had a daughter with their captor, has visited family in Tennessee while DeJesus, 23, adopted a dog. Knight is working on a book.

THE BEST BAD GUY

BRYAN CRANSTON

Once upon a time, Bryan Cranston was a light comedian best known as the dad in Malcolm in the Middle. That actor is now dead—so dead he could have been dissolved in acid. The new Cranston spent five seasons playing TV’s baddest, unlikeliest antihero: Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad. As a chemistry nerd metamorphosed into drug-cooking outlaw, Cranston became a star. And White, whose violent run ended Sept. 29, wound up a legend.

3 FOOD myths BUSTED

Oreo Double Stuff

A high school math class discovered it only contained 1.86 times more filling.

Cap’n Crunch

With only three stripes on his sleeve, the iconic seafarer is really a commander.

Subway Footlong

The popular sandwich left customers short-changed, measuring only 11 inches.

THE VIRAL VICAR

Pope Francis

In March, Argentine Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio, 77, became Pope Francis, then quickly added another title: King of the Internet. His every surprising move went viral: He takes selfies! (Above, in Rome.) He passed up the Vatican’s luxe papal suite for a room in the guesthouse, where he takes meals buffet-style; he said of gays, “Who am I to judge?”; and he cold-called those who wrote him. (“I got the call, ‘Hello, Michele, it’s Pope Francis,’ ” says an astonished Michele Ferri of Pesaro, Italy.) Pictures of his tender mercies – indulging a boy who ran onto his stage, kissing a man’s tumor-ravaged cheek—racked up millions of hits online. And when word leaked this month that Francis slips out at night in disguise to minister to the homeless, Stephen Colbert admiringly quipped, “He’s the Batpope!”

GROWING UP ABSURD

Miley Cyrus

VERSUS

Justin Bieber

She turned 21 and he hit 19, but each had their own take on how to preen like a postteen.

Their Signature Poses

Twerking overtime and apparently proud of her tongue depressor.

Shirtless, buff and lurched forward like a bent sapling.

Their A-List Exes

She got dis-engaged from Liam Hemsworth in September.

He and Selena Gomez ended things (mostly) in January.

Shouldn’t Have Done That!

Smoked what looked like a joint on TV in Amsterdam.

Got caught allegedly urinating into a janitor’s bucket.

What They Abandoned

Hannah Montana. “She was murdered!” said Cyrus of her TV alter ego on SNL.

Mally! His pet monkey was quarantined in Germany.

3 CHILD STARS in crisis

Lindsay Lohan

Still on probation for various legal infractions of yore, the actress agreed in May to do a 90-day rehab stint to settle criminal charges related to a 2012 traffic accident.

Zac Efron

The High School Musical star, who’d been secretly battling substance abuse, checked himself into rehab this summer. Soon after he got out, an accident at home left him with a broken jaw.

Amanda Bynes

After months of odd behavior – including throwing a bong out of her N.Y.C. window – the Nickelodeon star was committed to a psychiatric facility.

THE NEW FAMILY MAN

SIMON COWELL

He is known as Uncle Simon to the boys of One Direction, but the X Factor mentor learned he would become a dad in classic Cowell style – with lots of melodrama. His girlfriend Lauren Silverman, 36, was married to Cowell’s friend when she became pregnant this summer. “I love Lauren, and I love that I’m having a baby,” says Cowell, 54. “You have to have a legacy in life.”

THE CONTENDER

Chiwetel Ejiofor

“It was the most challenging role of my career,” said the British actor, 36, of his heart-wrenching performance in 12 Years a Slave, which has catapulted him to frontrunner status in this year’s Oscar race.

4 NEWBIES who hit the BIG TIME

Lorde

The 17-year-old New Zealander made her mark with the Grammy-nominated “Royals.”

Austin Mahone

His female fans – known as Mahomies – helped turn the 17-year-old singer into a pop star.

Ariana Grande

The 20-year-old singer’s debut album, Yours Truly, topped the Billboard charts.

Michael B. Jordan

The 26-year-old actor had critics raving over his first major film role in Fruitvale Station.

THE CHARMER

Adam Levine

His swagger won over fans of NBC’s The Voice while his penchant for being naked helped earn him the title of PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive (not to mention his fiancée, Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo, 24). “I’m not going to be like, ‘But you don’t understand, I’m such a dork,’ ” says Levine, 34. “There’s nothing wrong with being confident in who you are.”

4 Star Secrets Revealed

Ronan Farrow

Mom Mia Farrow said Frank Sinatra might be the MSNBC host’s dad.

Brad Pitt

The actor told Esquire he forgets people so often, he thinks he might suffer from face blindness.

Linda Gray

The Dallas star revealed it was her leg dangling in front of Dustin Hoffman on the 1967 poster for The Graduate.

James Lipton

The Inside the Actors Studio host was a pimp in 1950s Paris.

JOCKS IN LOVE

Tiger Woods & Lindsey Vonn

Let naysayers cluck about his cheating past and her perhaps naive heart. The golf champ and the gold-medal skier seem blissful since coming out as a couple in March. Love clearly suits them: Woods regained his No. 1 ranking, and Vonn – triumphing over a knee injury – has the Sochi Olympics in her sights.

THE UNDAUNTED

VALERIE HARPER

In January doctors diagnosed the 74-year-old actress with incurable brain cancer. Since then she’s touched millions with her upbeat attitude, even competing on Dancing with the Stars. “Life,” she says, “is a miracle.”

THE LEAKER

Edward Snowden

After disseminating classified details about the U.S.’s surveillance programs in June, the 30-year-old former intelligence analyst fled the U.S. and was granted asylum in Russia.

THE SCREEN QUEEN

SANDRA BULLOCK

She went from doing Spanx-snapping slapstick in The Heat to enduring a nail-biting space trek in Gravity. The key to making a good film for Bullock, 49? “It has to be a great time for my son [Louis, 3],” she said. “I can’t miss him. If I miss him, I will be of no use.”

THE MIX MASTER

Justin Timberlake

He channeled Sinatra on his No. 1 album The 20/20 Experience, rapped with Jay Z on the Legends of the Summer tour, hosted SNL for a fifth time and reunited with ‘N Sync at the VMAs. “I don’t see myself as someone who’s ever going to be defined by one moment,” Timberlake, 32, told GQ.

4 dispatches FROM SPACE

Chris Hadfield

The Canadian astronaut sang David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the International Space Station.

Edgar Mitchell

The sixth man to walk on the moon says extraterrestrial life exists.

Sunita Williams

The former Space Station commander showed how astronauts use the bathroom.

Karen Nyberg

The astronaut’s YouTube shampoo demo went viral.

THE HITMAKER

Robin Thicke

No blurred lines about it- his ridiculously catchy song was the ultimate jam of 2013. And whether you loved it or hated it (most loved it: It sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. alone), it shot Thicke, 36, to worldwide stardom after 20 years of trying to make it big in the music industry – to say nothing of what it has done for the foam-finger industry. As for the controversial lyrics? “I wrote it about my wife [actress Paula Patton],” Thicke told the BBC. “She’s my good girl, and I know she wants it because we’ve been together 20 years.”

THE FIGHTER

TOM HANKS

While earning stellar reviews for his work in Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks, Hanks, 57, revealed that he’s been coping with a personal drama – type 2 diabetes. “I do want to live,” said Hanks. “And it means I have to stay skinnier.”

The Hall of Shame

Rob Ford

The mayor of Toronto staunchly denied having smoked crack but finally admitted he had—”probably in one of my drunken stupors.” Still, he refuses to resign.

Vladimir Putin

As Russia prepares to host the Winter Games, its president signed a law allowing police to arrest tourists and foreigners suspected of being gay.

Anthony Weiner

The ex-congressman, plagued by yet another sexting scandal, lost his campaign to become mayor of New York City.

Bob Filner

The San Diego mayor pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three women. He resigned and is now under house arrest.

Chris Brown

Another year, another assault charge – this time for a fight outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. A judge ordered Brown into a 90-day anger-management rehab for a separate incident.

TRIUMPHANT RETURN

Robin Roberts

After undergoing a bone marrow transplant for a rare blood disorder in 2012, Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts, 53, returned to the anchor chair this February, inspiring millions with her determination. “I hope seeing me back in the anchor chair symbolizes to others, especially those facing challenges, that this too shall pass,” says Roberts, who is also credited with pushing GMA colleague Amy Robach to undergo the screening that caught her breast cancer. “I’m grateful for how far I’ve come.”

SHUTDOWN KING

TED CRUZ

His 21-hour filibuster and idea to tie passage of a federal budget to the defunding of the Affordable Care Act led to a 16-day government shutdown. The ACA survived, yet the Texas GOP senator said of his plan, “I think it succeeded in many ways.”

3 WOMEN who ROARED

Marissa Mayer

Fifteen months after becoming CEO of Yahoo!, Mayer, 38, became the first woman to top FORTUNE’s list of the top business stars under 40.

Sheryl Sandberg

The Facebook executive topped the bestseller list with Lean In, a book geared toward helping professional women prosper in the corporate world.

Wendy Davis

The Texas state representative received national attention by filibustering an anti-abortion bill. Her rise in popularity convinced her to run for governor in 2014.