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First Looks

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Nicole KIDMAN

APRIL 2, 1990

WHY

Top Gunner Tom Cruise was revved up over her on the Days of Thunder set.

WHAT SHE SAID

“I do get lonely when I’m on the road.”

Jim CARREY

FEB. 6, 1984

WHY

His stand-up landed the 22-year-old the lead on NBC’s short-lived quacker The Duck Factory.

WHAT WE SAID

“The master mimic has a 200-character repertoire…including Kermit the Frog and Henry Fonda.”

Charlize THERON

OCT. 14, 1996

WHY

Having luckily failed to get the lead role in the disastrous Showgirls, the 21-year-old South African immigrant was stealing scenes in Tom Hanks’s That Thing You Do!
WHAT SHE SAID

She developed a crush on Hanks after seeing Splash at age 9: “I hated Daryl Hannah. I was sitting there saying, ‘I could have done that part so much better. That should be me!’ ”

Eddie MURPHY

JAN. 25, 1982

WHY

With characters like the “growed-up” Buckwheat, the 20-year-old comedian was credited with helping to resuscitate Saturday Night Live.

WHAT WE SAID

“It seems unlikely that the levelheaded Murphy will suffer the fate of New York’s other young comedy skyrocket, the late Freddie Prinze.”

Courteney COX

MARCH 16, 1987

WHY

Bruce Springsteen’s partner in the 1984 “Dancing in the Dark” video was set to star with Dolph Lundgren in Masters of the Universe.

WHAT SHE SAID

Cox, 22, was often asked if she was Springsteen’s daughter or girlfriend. “No,” she’d say, “I’m just a regular person.”

Drew BARRYMORE

JULY 19, 1982

WHY

The 7-year-old granddaughter of John Barrymore charmed the entire nation as Gertie in the summer box office phenom E.T.
WHAT SHE SAID

“I want to be a star. Because it makes you feel good.”

Billy JOEL

MARCH 6, 1978

WHY

The Piano Man was pounding out chart toppers like “Just the Way You Are” as well as a platinum album, The Stranger.

WHAT WE SAID

“His heavy-lidded toughness and sudden success inspire comparisons with Sylvester Stallone.”

Bruce SPRINGSTEEN

MARCH 4, 1974

WHY

With his second LP, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, the 24-year-old was heralded as the next Bob Dylan.

WHAT WE SAID

He sings of “the boardwalk saturnalia of the Jersey shore.”

Whoopi GOLDBERG

MAY 28, 1984

WHY

Her stand-up routine, A Broad Abroad, was getting rave reviews on both coasts.

WHAT WE SAID

Although the 34-year-old had worked in California theaters and as a mortuary hairdresser, “her longest stint was as a welfare mother. ‘Just got off welfare four months ago,’ she says.”

Britney SPEARS

FEB. 15, 1999

WHY

The 17-year-old was out promoting her debut album,…Baby One More Time, which had topped the charts.

WHAT SHE SAID

“I did the homecoming and prom thing, and I was totally bored,”

Sarah Jessica PARKER Robert DOWNEY JR.

SEPT. 30, 1985

WHY

Both just 20 and living together in L.A., she had played Annie on Broadway and hoofed in Footloose; he had Weird Science in the can.

WHAT SHE SAID

“The relationship was so impetuous, we were almost embarrassed for anyone to know.”

George CLOONEY

FEB. 13, 1989

WHY

Five years before ER, the rising actor (with then-love Kelly Preston) was working the sitcoms—first on The Facts of Life. By ’88 he was a regular on Roseanne. His movie credit to date? Return of the Killer Tomatoes!
WHAT HE SAID

“I don’t like to set goals. I’m afraid I might hit them at an early age, and then what?”

Tom CRUISE

SEPT. 5, 1983

WHY

Besides making Ray-Bans cool, Risky Business—the surprise hit of the summer—suddenly made its 21-year-old star one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men.

WHAT WE SAID

“Tom has no girlfriend and lives in apartments rented where he happens to be working.” His landlady “finds it a ‘treat to have such a nice quiet boy around.’ ”

Ally SHEEDY

SEPT. 8, 1975

WHY

No Breakfast Clubber in real life, the 13-year-old published She Was Nice to Mice, her novel for children.

WHAT SHE SAID

“Any kid who thinks he can write a book should do it, even if grown-ups don’t think they can.”

Michael JORDAN

MARCH 19, 1984

WHY

Before becoming the NBA’s highest flyer, the University of North Carolina junior was favored to lead the Tar Heels to an NCAA Final Four appearance.

WHAT HE SAID

“When I go against players who have gotten a lot of publicity, I consider myself the lowest on the totem pole. That makes me work harder because I want to get to the top.”

Heather LOCKLEAR

FEB. 7, 1983

WHY

The 21-year-old was starring as police trainee Stacy on T.J. Hooker and was returning as the scheming Sammy Jo on Dynasty.

WHAT SHE SAID

Before marrying Tommy Lee and Richie Sambora, she told us, “I need to find out more about myself before I commit myself.”

Will SMITH

OCT. 3, 1988

WHY

With his partner D.J. Jazzy Jeff, the 19-year-old Fresh Prince had just released “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

WHAT WE SAID

The song was a hit, even among “Walkman-toting striplings who own nary a gold chain.”

Jennifer LOPEZ

DEC. 11, 1995

WHY

The In Living Color Fly Girl had made her first big movie, Money Train, and was still dating her high school boyfriend David Cruz.

WHAT WE SAID

The 25-year-old “has all the high-profile movies she can handle.” Unfortunately, the movies were Jack and Blood and Wine.

Ricky MARTIN

MAY 15, 1995

WHY

At 23, he’d long left the boy band Menudo and was breaking corazones as hunky bartender Miguel Morez on General Hospital.

WHAT HE SAID

He was focusing on his career: “When I was with Menudo, we had many girls. We’d swap girls. I went through that already.”

Kiefer SUTHERLAND

APRIL 9, 1984

WHY

The 17-year-old son of actor Donald was shooting his first starring role, in the coming-of-age movie The Bay Boy.

WHAT WE SAID

“For too long, he had gotten the handshake, the how’s your father, but not the part.”

Jerry SEINFELD

SEPT. 5, 1988

WHY

At 34, he was a regular on Carson and Letterman, was planning his second HBO special and had been voted best male comedy club performer.

WHAT HE SAID

“I’ve always wanted to be in PEOPLE magazine tossing a salad and being at the beach.” Done.

Innocent Bystanders

Some Hollywood marquee masters made their PEOPLE debuts as mere mentions in stories about others. Pre-Pretty Woman Julia Roberts (tight-lipped at the stove, below) bowed as the sister in a feature about big brother Eric (with fiancée Dana).Three years before Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt was just a passing fancy of featured Dallas hottie Shalane McCall (“It was real sweaty-palms time for me,” he said of their screen kiss), and diva-to-be Paula Abdul was blurbed only as headliner Janet Jackson‘s choreographer. Nasty.