The Perfect Storm star George Clooney proves he's a perfect 10 to women everywhere
News flash from the romance front: All the good ones aren’t taken. Okay, so 60 percent of America’s singles over the age of 18 are women. That still leaves a hefty 34 million men on the loose and looking for love. That’s where PEOPLE comes in. To prove that a good man isn’t hard to find—if you look in the right places—we present our first guide to America’s 100 Most Eligible Bachelors. We found them through an exhaustive four-month nationwide dragnet. We talked to their friends, their mothers, their siblings, their dry cleaners and in some cases even their ex-wives. (A few of our choices have been married before.) What we found was a diverse group with jobs that take them from outer space (astronaut Andy Thomas) to the depths of the sea (Coast Guard rescuer Erik Pointer). And of course there’s something for everybody. Looking for a farmer? Check out Iowa’s Clyde Hoyt. A doctor, perhaps? Chapel Hill, N.C., transplant surgeon Mark Johnson knows the way to your heart. Like a man in uniform? New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter may be a good fit.
Whether A-list celebs or regular Joes, we think all 100 are blessed with the right stuff.
1 GEORGE CLOONEY, 39, actor, Los Angeles.
He captains a swordfishing boat in The Perfect Storm, but to millions of women, the former ER hunk himself—those crinkly puppy-dog eyes, that silvery please-touch stubble, that Cary Grant-meets-Clark Gable blend of charm and sex appeal—is the perfect catch. “It’s hysterical to watch what happens to women when they’re near George,” says Julianna Margulies. “You can see them get weak at the knees. And he handles it with such grace.” Indeed, “he doesn’t have any of that snooty star stuff,” says Storm director Wolfgang Petersen. “That’s what women find sexy about him—he’s a regular guy.”
Too bad he’s so hard to hook. The star, who earns up to $10 million a movie, has romanced a long string of beauties, famous and non. (He and actress Kelly Preston, now Mrs. John Travolta, lived together for a year.) But his sole go at matrimony, with actress Talia Balsam, ended in divorce in 1992 after less than three years. Clooney shoulders the blame: “I wasn’t that good at [marriage],”he said in a Playboy interview.
His latest long-term love, French law student-turned-model Céline Balitran, 25, bid au revoir last year after three years of live-in couplehood. “I blew it,” Clooney told The Times of London in February, “because I didn’t want to deal with the issue of how all the time we were spending away from each other was hurting her.” Since then the hardworking actor has spent his rare downtime (he’s next onscreen in the musical comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou? this fall) basking in bachelorhood—shooting hoops and riding motorcycles with his rat pack of longtime buddies at his eight-bedroom L.A. “Casa de Clooney.”
All this guy’s-guy stuff, of course, only fuels fantasies of reeling in the 5’11” Kentucky native, who acquired his scorn for showbiz pretension at the knee of his TV broadcaster father, Nick, now 65, and mother Nina, 60. “Some actors forget where they came from, but George hasn’t,” says Storm costume designer Erica Edell Phillips.
Despite the example of his parents, who have been wed 40 years, Clooney has said he’s not interested in marrying again or in having kids. “I’ve made it difficult to have a relationship because my first love is work and my second love is my friends,” he told Playboy. But cheer up, ladies: “That will change, I’m sure,” he added. “There will be someone somewhere along the way who will knock me for a loop again, and I’ll be willing to sacrifice everything.” Let’s hope so—because for us, he’s the best fish in the sea.
GREAT DATE: A barbecue at home.
CAVEAT: Watch out for housemate Max—a large potbellied pig.
2 DEREK JETER, 26, pro baseball player, New York City and Tampa.
Anyone hoping to get to first base with the 6’3″ New York Yankee should know this: You will first have to face Jeter’s screening committee—African-American dad Charles, 51, a drug-and-alcohol-abuse counselor, Irish-American mom Dorothy, 47, an accountant, and sister Sharlee, 20, a college student. “My dad is the easiest one,” explains the soft-spoken, Michigan-raised shortstop, who receives an average of five crates of mail from mostly female fans every week. “Then you have to deal with my mom. Last is my sister. That’s the hardest one. She is the most protective.”
Understandably. After all, her big bro is a three-time World Series champ who earns $10 million a year. He’s a committed do-gooder who with his dad runs the charitable Turn 2 Foundation, which promotes healthy living among adolescents. Plus, the man Yankees coach Joe Torre once called “the coolest cat in town” is so discreet he’s even managed to keep his lips zipped about former flame Mariah Carey.
Boy, Mariah, did you strike out. Jeter will make an all-star husband, says close pal and fellow PEOPLE bachelor Alex Rodriguez, a Seattle Mariners shortstop: “If I had a daughter, Derek is the kind of guy that I would want [her] to marry.”
WHAT HE’S LOOKING FOR: A woman who’s “very independent, intelligent and generous.”
CAVEAT: He says that he’s not ready for marriage. Yet.
3 MATT DAMON, 29, actor, New York City.
The Beantown native learned his lesson. After incurring flak for airing his breakup with Minnie Driver, 30, on Oprah in 1997 (“I didn’t understand the impact of speaking about something like that,” he later told The London Guardian), Damon kept mum following his April split with actress Winona Ryder, 28. He’s been equally tongue-tied about rumors of romance with Spanish beauty Penélope Cruz, 26, his lady love in this fall’s All the Pretty Horses, for which he earned a reported $5.5 million. Cruz recently told PEOPLE she and Damon are “just very good friends” but went on to gush, “He’s a very, very nice, very humble man. He’s a very wise man. And I think he’s a great actor.”
It’s easy to excuse the superlatives. Damon’s smart (he attended Harvard, leaving two semesters shy of graduation), industrious (he’s completed five flicks in three years), handsome and sweetly devoted to his mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, 56, a professor of early-childhood education. Most importantly, “when he does settle down,” says his friend Costas Panagopoulos, “he’ll commit to it with full force.”
BIG PLUS: He’s modest (“There are times I’ve been rejected that would spin your head around,” he told Time last year).
CAVEAT: He has said that his nonstop work schedule has left him “out of gas.”
4 GEORGE PRESCOTT BUSH, 24, paralegal, Los Angeles.
With his chiseled features, movie-star smile and hard-to-ignore moniker, Bush doesn’t need to consult Grandpa for dating advice. But in e-mails, the former President told his namesake “to ‘relax, give things time, get to know her,’ ” says the younger Bush. ” ‘If the girl’s the right one, it will fall into place.’ He’s a very wise man.”
A wise man whose grandson, so far, is winning the women’s vote. The oldest of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his Mexican-born wife Columba’s three children, the 6-ft. Rice University grad nicknamed P has drawn cheers at rallies for his presidential-candidate uncle, George W. Bush—especially when he blew kisses to an L.A. crowd. “That’s my Latin heritage coming out,” says Bush, who just left his job at an L.A. law firm to campaign full-time (he’s W’s right-hand man in his quest for Latino and youth votes) before starting law school at the University of Texas at Austin in September. The avid mountain biker doesn’t foresee a political future “right now”—but has his grandfather’s endorsement in his search for a mate. “He is strong, decent and honorable,” says ex-President Bush. “He’d never let ‘the right one’ down.”
GREAT DATE: “Walking on the beach.”
CAVEAT: He vetoes “girls obsessed with politics.”
5 MARCUS SAMUELSSON,29, chef, New York City.
When kitchenware company Vita-Mix asked Samuelsson to pose nude in 1999 with one of its blenders strategically placed, he agreed. Almost. “I didn’t want to run around naked,” he recalls, and so he chose to don a swimsuit instead.
Never mind the modesty—a blender still never looked so sexy. Credit the bewitching Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised foodie whose English is as smooth as his velvety gravlax. Orphaned at age 3 and raised in Göteborg by adoptive parents Lennart, a geologist who died in 1996, and homemaker Anne Marie, 71, he honed his culinary skills at the knee of his grandmother Helga, a professional cook. Now executive chef and co-owner of the acclaimed Aquavit eateries in New York City and Minneapolis (a third is set to open in Manhattan this fall), Samuelsson captured the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef award last year. The globetrotter and art lover says he is so committed to his craft that he often dreams up recipes in his sleep. (“I write directions down in the middle of the night”) Samuelsson—who has had one live-in relationship (at age 20) and says he remains friends with all his ex-girlfriends—approaches his search for a mate with equal gusto: “I’m looking for a ‘wow’ experience.”
SEEKING: A woman who loves “fashion, food, wine, travel, skiing.”
CAVEAT: He admits he’s less than handy around the house.
6 CHRIS ISAAK, 43, musician, San Francisco.
Afraid pop stars are too rowdy to be husband material? Check out the “Wicked Game” singer. He claims to have never set foot in a strip club, smoked pot or even puffed a cigarette. He’d like to “live at Disneyland” and he waxes nostalgic about a favorite date: “We picked lemons in her yard, cut them up and made lemonade, and then sat out there and drank it.”
The 6’1″ crooner and sometime actor (Friends and films) was reared by factory-worker parents in Stockton, Calif. He wants to have kids someday but says he came close to the altar only once. (His 1995 album Forever Blue mourned his breakup with that girlfriend.) Isaak, who has recently gone out with actress Bai Ling (Anna and the King), says he likes ladies “smarter than me.” Which makes him, of course, a very smart man.
A GOOD CATCH BECAUSE: “I don’t forget the little things.”
CAVEAT: His workaholism will “drive you nuts,” says drummer pal Kenney Dale Johnson.
7 VINCENT PAN, 27, nonprofit executive, Washington, D.C.
In a sea of pols and pinstripes, this son of Taiwanese immigrants stands out. First, there’s the smile: “Sometimes sheepish, sometimes cocky,” says pal Joanne Nelson. Then there’s Pan’s job running Heads Up, a $1.6 million tutoring program for needy inner-city kids that he cofounded in 1996 after collecting a Harvard economics degree. One of three kids of William, 58, a lawyer, and Ruby, 54, a homemaker from Millburn, N.J., he heard the call to service doing volunteer work in one of Boston’s most downtrodden neighborhoods. “Some people, especially kids,” he realized, “just need someone to listen to them.”
Today, “anything Vinny tackles, he does with a full head of steam,” says Nelson. Even golf, guitar and hanging out in his boxers watching episodes of Boy Meets World. And women? An avid dater, the never-wed Pan says his past relationships ended just “when they were supposed to, like a good book.” But take heart. This moody romantic still wants happily-ever-after.
HIS VOW: “I’m never going to get divorced; I’m never going to cheat.”
CAVEAT: Addicted to late-night Chinese takeout.
8 JOHN STARK, 36, prosecutor Washington, D.C.
As the Eliot Ness of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Stark heads up the agency’s 15-person Cyberforce team, earning his $93,000 salary by tracking down Internet thieves who try to manipulate the stock market. “I love doing justice,” says this gallant Long Island native, “what’s fair and right.”
And what’s chivalrous. After graduating from Duke Law School, Stark spent a stint as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C, where on Sundays he’d call victims of domestic abuse to make sure they weren’t still getting harassed over the weekend. Former girlfriends have complained that he’s a workaholic, a charge to which Stark, a fitness buff, pleads guilty: “I have a pretty big responsibility, and sometimes it has to take priority over a social life.”
Indeed, this never-wed 6-ft. straight arrow does not “go out until 3 or 4 in the morning to the latest bar,” says longtime pal Amanda Embrescia, 29. He’d rather croon country tunes for women he’s sweet on. To be sure, Stark’s wooing does seem to put them of a mind to wed. His parents, Richard, 68, a retired orthopedic surgeon, and Betty, 65, an interior designer, who live on Long Island, point out that “whenever I’ve broken up with women, the next guy they meet, they marry.”
LOOKING FOR: “A woman who understands why I’ll wake up on Saturday at 6 a.m. and work out.”
CAVEAT: He’s set in his ways, says Embrescia.
9 CASEY MARTIN, 28, pro golfer, Eugene, Ore.
Born with a rare disease that limits blood flow in his right leg, Martin made headlines in 1998 when he won a court battle for the right to ride a cart on pro golf’s Nike Tour. His sporty looks also make this former Stanford teammate of Tiger Woods a swingular sensation with female fans. One sent Martin a photo of herself naked; little did she know that Martin’s mother, homemaker Melinda, 55 (dad King, 54, is a stockbroker), opens his fan mail. “My mom,” says Martin with a laugh, “was scared for her little baby.”
You’ll have to give him up sometime, Mom—though probably not to any clothes-doffing bunker bunny. A devout Baptist, Martin says he has “dated a lot of girls” but vows he’s “waiting until I’m married” to have sex. “I’m sold on God’s way of doing it, but I need some help from Him to meet the right person,” says Martin, who qualified for the elite PGA Tour this year (he has tallied $64,725 in prize money since January) despite a leg so weakened it will likely require amputation in a few years. (If he can’t golf with a prosthesis, Martin wants to become a TV announcer or work for a golf equipment company.) “He’s got a great sense of humor,” says brother Cameron, 30, a stockbroker. “It helps him deal with the issues he’s always had to deal with.”
LOOKING FOR: “A strong Christian” who’s athletic and “fun to be with.”
CAVEAT: Addicted to PlayStation video games.
10 TOM FOLEY, 31, firefighter, West Nyack, N.Y.
Big Apple firefighters call themselves the Bravest, and Foley demonstrated just why last August, when he plucked two workers from a collapsed scaffold 17 stories above the street. Upon reaching one of the workers, “I told him, ‘Don’t worry,’ ” the strapping hero recalls. ” ‘You’re going home to your family tonight.’ ”
Foley’s knack for coming to the rescue goes back to high school, when he escorted a series of otherwise dateless girls to their proms. “Everyone would ask him, ‘Would you take my sister?’ ” says mom Pat, 55, a nurse. “He would never say no.” The occasional actor (he has appeared as an extra on NBC’s Third Watch) says his one serious relationship ended, in 1997, because he and his gal pal had too little in common. He’s now intent on meeting a woman who shares his love of camping and country music. Foley, who earns $65,000 a year and declares he’d like to have “at least three, if not six, kids,” says he’d like to model his marriage on his parents’ 35-year union. “If I can’t have it the way my folks have it,” he says, “I’m not doing it.”
GREAT DATE: “A party cruise.”
CAVEAT: His mom calls him a “daredevil.”
DANNY SEO, 23, environmental activist and author, Reading, Pa.
At age 19, this Korean-American planet protector caused a stir with his first book, the motivational Generation React; he’s now working on his third. A frequent public speaker and lobbyist who earned $250,000 last year, Seo says he’s seeking “someone who is aggressive in her passions.” Friends say Seo is destined to do great things—his way. “I can see Danny as President,” declares pal Dennie Hughes. “He’d redo the White House to make it ecologically correct.”
GREAT DATE: Something “quirky, like going to a college lecture.”
CAVEAT: You’d better like tofu—he’s a strict vegetarian.
IAN SMITH, 30, doctor-journalist, New York City.
What’s not to like? The never-married Harvard and University of Chicago grad juggles jobs as a medical reporter for NBC and TIME and will soon be resuming his residency in rehabilitation medicine. He’s close to his mother, Rena Cherry, 55, and twin brother, Dana, a screenwriter, talking to them “five or six times a day.” Smith, says his twin, “is intellectual but with enough cool to keep him from being a nerd.” Oh yeah—he’s also gorgeous.
LOOKING FOR: A “highly intelligent, highly driven achiever.”
CAVET: He says his dual careers “require a frenetic pace” and leave him with little free time.
ANDREW LAUREN, 31, actor-producer, and DAVID LAUREN, 28, marketing exec, New York City.
The younger Lauren (right) is a born entrepreneur who started a magazine for twenty-somethings—the defunct Swing—during his freshman year at Duke University and now helps run the family apparel empire. The older is an actor (he had a small role in 1997’s Conspiracy Theory) and owns a production company that bears his name in Los Angeles, where he says he’s dealing with “the whole Hollywood shtick.” But despite their differing career paths, the sons of clothing king Ralph Lauren, 61, and homemaker Ricky, 55, share a key trait (besides their lean 5’9″ forms): go-get-’em moxie. “Maybe it’s something in [the] blood,” posits blue-eyed David, a motorcyclist who enjoys tooling around Manhattan on his mountain bike and horseback riding at his parents’ Colorado ranch. Both never-married brothers (they also have a sister, Dylan, 26) say they are waiting to commit to the right women. Declares green-eyed Andrew, a runner and Rollerblader: “I want [my marriage] to be the ultimate.”
GREAT DATES: Andrew: A cozy neighborhood restaurant. David: A walking tour of New York.
CAVEATS: Andrew: “I can be extremely stubborn.” David: “People expect me to be cooler than I am.”
PETE MORAN, 23, ski instructor, Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va.
During high season at the mid-Atlantic’s largest ski resort, this dashing downhiller is responsible for training all new instructors. Off-hours, he competes in regional ski competitions and still has the energy to meet and greet “all kinds of great women.” Still, the Virginia native, who attended Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va., on a tennis scholarship, has great daddy potential. The proof? During little kids’ lessons, he says, “the first thing I ask is, ‘Who has to go to the bathroom?’ ”
RULE TO LIVE BY: “Don’t ever try to teach your girlfriend to ski.”
CAVEAT: At the first sign of snow, he may take a powder.
JASON THOMAS, 26, Internet entrepreneur, Arlington, Va.
When he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he dressed like a dork. “Really nerdy,” confesses the ex-New Jerseyite, who didn’t go out on a date until age 18. But now that he’s the engineering whiz behind Cyveillance (his brother Brandy is CEO), an Internet surveillance company that boasts $33.5 million in capital, this frequent dater has blossomed. “He’s mature,” says former girlfriend Marie Willard. “And he dresses really well.”
IDEAL DATE: “Somebody talkative.”
CAVEAT: “I’m always logical, and sometimes it annoys people.”
FREDDIE PRINZE JR., 24, actor, Los Angeles.
The 6’1″ teen-flick heartthrob “is the biggest kid I know,” says his She’s All That costar Rachael Leigh Cook. “He is obsessed with Spider-Man! It’s the cutest thing.” As is the son of late comic Freddie Prinze himself. “I think about marriage and family a lot,” says the approximately $2 million-a-film star—when he’s not pulling a prank. (He floated bananas in Down to You costar Selma Blair’s toilet.)
GREAT DATE: Anything but sushi: “My cheeks get all swollen up.”
CAVEAT: He’s involved with Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar—but showbiz romances often blow up.
JC CHASEZ, 23, singer-songwriter, Orlando.
What makes this soft-spoken ‘N Syncer our favorite boy-band popster? For starters, “he is the first to work and the last to want to stop,” says publicist Kim Estlund, who also praises “his impeccable manners. He’s an angel.” Last year the ex-Mouseketeer told Teen PEOPLE, “I figure if I stay simple and honest, I’ll be lucky enough to meet someone like that.”
LOOKING FOR: A “down-home girl.”
CAVEAT: Home is a tour bus.
TIM WARNER, 31, corporate communications director, Seattle.
The never-wed 5’10” Montana native, an exec at biotech giant Immunex, “is the life of the party, and women are attracted to that,” says pal Melissa Bonney Ratctiff. “He danced with every single woman at my wedding.” But the skiing nut (“It’s genetic for Montanans”) and devoted Democrat, a former press secretary to two U.S. senators, does have his dating troubles. “In this business,” he moans, “you’re sitting in a movie and your pager goes off.”
LOOKING FOR: “Someone who surprises me—and shuts me up.”
CAVEAT: Once dated two roommates at the same time.
BEN AFFLECK, 27, actor, Los Angeles.
Will Affleck ever pop the question to the woman of his dreams? Who knows—but the Cambridge, Mass.-bred cutie knows the proper posture. To persuade Charlize Theron to costar with him in the recent thriller Reindeer Games, “he got down on one knee and said, ‘Please do it,’ ” recalls Theron. “I was enjoying it so much I just kept saying, ‘No, no.’ ”
Anyone with fantasies of murmuring “yes” to the 6’3″ star (who reels in up to $12 million a movie and is known for being one of Hollywood’s nicest guys) has one obstacle before her: Gwyneth Paltrow. The pair officially called off their yearlong romance in early 1999, but the exes have lately been spotted together more often than Siegfried and Roy.
LOOKING FOR: A mate “with a head on her shoulders,” says director friend Kevin Smith.
CAVEAT: “Ben’s a mess” around the house, says ex-roommate Chris Moore, a producer. “I’ve never seen anything like him.”
MARK LINDQUIST, 41, novelist-lawyer, Tacoma, Wash.
“All my female friends are telling me this is my last book tour as a single man,” says Lindquist, whose acclaimed third novel, Never Mind Nirvana, hit shelves in May. “I don’t know where they get these ideas.” Maybe from realizing how many women would love to take the 6’6″ stunner off the shelf. The onetime Hollywood screenwriter and ’80s literary Brat Packer (actress Molly Ringwald is a former steady) hasn’t lacked for love interests: Lindquist includes a somewhat fictionalized list of his scores of past romances in one chapter of Nirvana. Tiring of the L.A. scene, he headed to law school in 1992. Now a deputy county prosecutor who lives in a loft apartment complete with a poker table he bought from a casino, he sounds ready to settle down. “Life is about stages,” he says, “and I think I’m finishing up the one I’m in.”
GREAT DATE: A concert featuring one of his many rocker pals.
CAVEAT: Meager cooking skills (he eats out for every meal).
MIKE MODANO, 30, pro hockey player, Dallas.
Dream of chilling with this hunky top-scoring Dallas Stars iceman, whose contract nets him $43.5 million over six years? You’re in luck: The golf-playing philanthropist (he snagged an award last year for his work for a cerebral palsy charity) and sometime model (yes, he’s got all his teeth!) is back in the game, having recently called off his engagement to his longtime sweetheart Kerri Nelson, 30, a Canadian-born physical therapist. Marriage was “something I really wasn’t ready for,” Modano told the Dallas Morning News. “It just wasn’t my time.” But time is on his side, says pal Kate Delaney: He’s “easygoing, in great shape and has a killer smile.”
SENSITIVE GUY ALERT: Teased by pals for watching Days of Our Lives.
CAVEAT: Mom Karen says he doesn’t pick up his socks.
DAVID HARADIN, 34, sculptor, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Like artsy guys or sporty ones? You get both in this muscular six-footer, who crafts copper “dancing ladies” that sell in galleries for thousands. He also kayaks Class 5 rivers, skis “extreme” terrain, climbs rocky cliffs and rides a mean mountain bike. Once a protest-prone environmental crusader (“I’ve mellowed,” he says), the Ohio native is handy with a hammer too: He’s building his own house in the Colorado woods.
GREAT DATE: “Erin Brockovich-type” movies—they make him cry.
CAVEAT: Likes only “very active young women,” says mom Roberta, 59.
CHRISTOPHER BUMAL, 24, Air Force radar specialist, Oklahoma City.
This never-wed airman, who hails from Rome, N.Y., has a romantic streak: “I have been known to write poetry to someone special.” Once engaged to his high school sweetheart (“We tried to get back together at one point, but it wasn’t the same”), the weekend car mechanic and water-sports fanatic is reading up on what women expect in relationships, because “dating is hard!”
NOTABLE SKILL: “I can paint a girl’s toenails.”
CAVEAT: Continuing active duty until 2003.
MICHAEL BRIGGS, 41, zoo veterinarian, Bolingbrook, III.
“You can’t run, or they see you as prey,” cautions Briggs. Dating advice? Nah, just tips for dodging lions in the African bush. The high-energy Brookfield Zoo vet, who has had three long-term relationships since his nine-year marriage ended in 1989 (he has no kids), loves racing cars, flying planes and scuba diving with sharks. But the Nevada-raised outdoors lover is no tough guy, says sister Cherri, 46: “Mike was always the sensitive one in the family.”
LOOKING FOR: “Someone with as much passion as me.”
CAVEAT: Has been known to bring his work home—including bear cubs, baby gorillas and the occasional lion.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, 39, political analyst, New York City.
The cherubic former aide to President Clinton turned ABC News commentator reportedly broke up recently with actress Bebe Neuwirth, 41. A Greek Orthodox churchgoer and staunch Democrat whose net worth Forbes estimated at $4 million last year, he’s also “unfailingly gracious,” says friend David Margolick.
WHY HE’S A GOOD CATGH: Told Redbook he believes that “if you need to apologize, do it fast.”
CAVEAT: After several alleged incidents with a stalker, his guard is up.
DAN BLONSKY, 35, attorney, Miami.
Can’t stand lawyers? Maybe you’ll make an exception for down-to-earth Blonsky, a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire top-prize winner who serves on the board of two local children’s charities (a shelter for runaways and an after-school enrichment program) when he’s not doing commercial and employment litigation. (Incidentally, he won by correctly identifying the first person to grace the cover of PEOPLE: Mia Farrow.) Sister-in-law Lorena Blonsky, who has known Dan since he was 10, gives the Long Island-raised law firm partner a thumbs-up verdict: “Whoever gets him is really lucky.”
GREAT DATE: Dinner and drinks.
CAVEAT: Lots of competition. After Millionaire, “I got hundreds of calls from random women,” he says.
TAVIS SMILEY, 35, TV host, Los Angeles.
The never-wed 6’1″ Indiana native has interviewed everyone from Snoop Doggy Dogg to Pope John Paul II on his Larry King-style BET show—and led last year’s crusade to get Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal. (He says speaking gigs help him earn millions a year.) Off-hours, he plays Scrabble and teaches leadership to teens. “I’m just a brother trying to do some good,” he says.
LOOKING FOR: “A woman who values faith, family and friends.”
CAVEAT: Hurting from the recent breakup of a three-year romance.
MICHAEL RADNER, 58, investor, Detroit.
“I’ve been on 500 first dates,” quips Radner, whom pal Walter Goldsmith calls “hysterically funny.” No wonder—kid sister was late comedian Gilda Radner. When he’s not managing his investments, Radner helps promote and run Gilda’s Club, a network of support centers for cancer patients and their loved ones.
STILL SINGLE BECAUSE: “Marriage never felt like a commitment I was ready to make.”
CAVEAT: Must compete with the four TV sets in his living room.
MARVIN BARTLETT, 38, TV news anchor, Lexington, Ky.
“Everybody loves Marvin—and I know why,” says Ashley Judd in a FOX-TV promo for Lexington’s resident TV fox. So do we, for Bartlett’s quick wit, green eyes, greener thumb—and his longing for kids, “soon, so I’m not the oldest dad in the PTA!” Says co-anchor Jennifer Nime of the three-time local Emmy winner: “He has a really big heart.” Almost as big as his fan club.
IDEAL WOMAN: “Outdoorsy.”
CAVEAT: He admits he’s “a little fussy.”
JIM YOUNG, 47, rehab specialist, Chicago.
The chief of rehabilitation medicine at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital “exudes charisma,” says his sister Barbara Klawans, 49. “He makes you feel you’re special.” The physician, who earns about $250,000 and has been casually dating since a yearlong romance ended in 1998, squeezes in R&R (such as an upcoming trip to Borneo) when his schedule permits. Prescription for his ideal mate: “Funny, curious, a live wire.”
GREAT DATE: “Any kind of dancing.”
CAVEAT: A diehard night owl, says sis.
GEORGE DURNER, 43, research zoologist, Anchorage.
The never-married scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey spends three months a year capturing and tagging polar bears north of the Arctic Circle. At home the 5’11” avid kayaker is more of a teddy bear, whipping up Thai dishes, browsing art galleries and gardening—although, he laments, “the moose walk through the front yard and eat the trees.”
GREAT DATE: Mountain climbing.
CAVEAT: “He’s a little quiet and serious,” says cousin Fran, 47.
MARK JOHNSON, 39, transplant surgeon, Chapel Hill, N.C.
His stunning looks have earned him the nickname “Soap Opera Doctor” at the University of North Carolina hospitals, but blues-lover Johnson is “unassuming,” says coworker Kim Hollar, a pharmacist. Divorced since 1994 after a yearlong marriage, he’s also “wonderful with kids,” says pal Ann Gerber (he entertains them with a mean Bart Simpson impression). Says Gerber: “He’ll make a great father.”
GREAT DATE: “Anything where you’re both having fun.”
CAVEAT: His pager goes off a lot.
JIMMY FALLON, 25, comedian, New York City.
Fans have fallen fast for this Saturday Night Live newbie (for proof, check out the Jimmy Fallon Sanctuary Web site geocities.com/Hollywood/Star/2208). The unassuming impressionist—he does a wicked Jerry Seinfeld—has said that he is “really embarrassed” by such fan fawning. “He’s honorable and old-fashioned in that way,” SNL castmate Ana Gasteyer noted to New York magazine.
PLUS: He’s extremely close to his folks. “They’re so happy for me, they’re flipping out,” he told TV Guide.
CAVEAT: “I’m a better ex-boyfriend.”
ANDY NEWTON, 28, construction company owner, Mobile, Ala.
This travel lover builds high-end custom houses—and homes for the charity Habitat for Humanity. His own build—6’2″, 190lbs.—ain’t so shabby either.
WHY HE’S SINGLE: “Nobody in my family ever divorces; I want someone I can stay with forever.”
CAVEAT: If you are “too nice,” says Lynn Ridgeway, his brother-in-law, “he’ll lose interest.”
MIKE VILLARREAL, 28, state legislator, San Antonio.
As a 5’1″ high school freshman, “Mike had his own fan club,” says buddy Noe Garcia. “Girls would just put him in their pockets.” Now 5’6 12″, the never-wed politician is a precocious member of the Texas House of Representatives. A casual dater since his last serious relationship ended in college, Villarreal spends most of his free time with Tobin—his 2-year-old black Lab mix.
LOOKING FOR: “A strong woman who is smart and passionate about her career.”
CAVEAT: Sometimes a little too serious.
WILLIAM PRANN, 29, banker, Kansas City.
The youngest V.P. in the history of the United Missouri Bank, this divorcé (a three-year marriage ended in 1998) lends his time to “60 little brothers and 40 little sisters” in his Lutheran church youth group. A former track star at the University of South Dakota who bikes, skis and climbs mountains, Prann is looking for “someone who likes to have fun.” Oh yes, one more thing: “I want to have kids—as many as I can talk my wife into.”
BOTTOM LINE: “He has a good heart,” says mom Linda, 52.
CAVEAT: Despite a recent knee injury during a game of flag football, Prann says, “I still think I’m invincible.”
MIKE EMMER, 35, guidance counselor, Omaha.
“Many 35-year-old men are interested only in their stock portfolio,” says pal Marge Peterson. Not Emmer, who taught religion for nine years at Omaha’s famed Boys Town and now counsels seventh-graders in the city’s public schools. Divorced in 1996 (“I took it real hard”), he sings in a choir and recently renovated a former crack house, where he now lives with two friends.
IDEAL DATE: Taking a homemade lunch to the park in search of a perfect picnic spot.
CAVEAT: Always on the run.
DENNIS O’DONNELL, 31, policeman, Everett, Mass.
A third-generation police officer whose salary is $65,000 a year, this ex-Marine discharged his 1998 engagement to his then fiancée when he realized that his rationale—”All the other guys I knew were getting married”—was flawed. A SWAT team member, triathlete and fan of films Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan, O’Donnell says, “If I had to be a hero, I’d step up.”
LOOKING FOR: A woman who will ride on his Harley Fat Boy.
CAVEAT: “He’s a slob,” says friend Stacey Lyons.
GREGG RYAN, 40, business owner, Middleburg, Va.
By day, he’s president of Lee and Mason Financial and owner of St. Thomas Fine Leathers. By weekend, he dons racing silks and gets ready to ride—as a nationally ranked steeplechase jockey with 127 first-place finishes to his credit. Though his hobby is “more exciting than a million-dollar business deal,” the never-hitched Ryan, who spends time at his sprawling home in Northville, N.Y., and a rolling 200-acre estate in Virginia’s horse country, is still looking for the right filly. In the meantime, very little throws him—except horses, who’ve left him with seven broken ribs and a collarbone broken three times. Says the resilient 5’8″ 140-pounder: “Everyone needs a passion in life.”
LOOKING FOR: “Someone at ease in the barn and at a black-tie event.”
CAVEAT: “I can be difficult. I need someone to make me laugh at myself.”
ALEX RODRIGUEZ, 24, shortstop, Seattle Mariners.
The $4.2 million-a-year major leaguer admits to having crushes on Britney Spears (“sexy legs”) and Minnie Driver (“classy”). But the 6’3″ 210-lb. Miami-born son of Dominican immigrants—a home run with “A-Rod!”-shrieking fans for his all-star looks and squeaky-clean reputation—isn’t one to play the field. He prefers jazz clubs to pickup joints (he’s casually dating a Miami schoolteacher) and declares, “I want someone who would be a great mother.”
GREAT DATE: A magic show.
CAVEAT: He won’t settle down, he says, until “I am super ready.”
LES SCHMIDT, 40, personal trainer, New Orleans.
A decade spent helping shape some of New Orleans’s hottest bods has put the New Jersey-raised Schmidt in the market for a well-rounded woman. “I like curvy,” insists the 6’2″ salt-and-pepper-haired hunk. Gym rats and glamor-pusses may not make the cut with the buff trainer, but fellow movie nuts, crossword puzzle addicts and architecture lovers do. Since his eight-year live-in relationship ended six years ago, this self-described loner has been taking romance slow. Buddy Jeremy Davenport, for one, thinks Schmidt won’t stay single long. Says Davenport: “He’s smart, genuine and funny—all of the things that you’d want.”
WHY HE ISN’T MARRIED YET: “I’m a big nerd. Women move faster than I do.”
CAVEAT: He has a moody side.
CHRIS THAYER, 29, mountaineer, Jackson, N.H.
This bread-baking woodsman earns $33,000 a year saving stranded hikers as part of his job at the Appalachian Mountain Club, a conservation and recreation group. Also a kayaker and volunteer firefighter, he’s had several serious relationships but notes, “I haven’t met the exact person I’m completely comfortable with.” When he does, he says he’d love to blaze a trail through her heart: “I want to get married and share my life with someone.”
LOOKING FOR: “A great friend first.”
CAVEAT: Lots of sloppy kisses from his black Lab C.J.
MICHAEL SAYLOR, 35, software entrepreneur, Vienna, Va.
In high school in Fair-born, Ohio, his classmates voted him Most Likely to Succeed. They had more faith than Katy, the object of his affections at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her response to his 1987 marriage proposal? “No. You don’t have enough money.” Who’s sorry now? As founder of the software company MicroStrategy, the never-wed Air Force brat and history buff today has a net worth of about $1.5 billion. That’s roughly $4 billion less than on March 20, when the company’s stock plummeted—but still plenty to build a 30,000-sq.-ft. chateau with stables and wine cellar and to spend $100 million on his dream of creating an Internet cyberuniversity.
HOW HE SPOTS A GOLD DIGGER: “You’re in line at a restaurant, and the girl says, ‘Why don’t you buy it so we can get a table?’ ”
CAVEAT: The last vacation he took was in 1997—with his mom.
DAVID NASH, 24, mutual fund marketer, Boston.
“I saw Titanic by myself. I cried,” confesses this boyish up-and-comer at John Hancock Funds who already takes in $55,000 a year. The Rick Schroder lookalike, whose last relationship ended six months ago (“We just wanted different things”), calls himself “a very, very social person.” He likes skiing, kayaking and concertgoing with his large circle of pals of both sexes—but notes, “My better friends have always been girls.”
GREAT DATE: A Red Sox game.
CAVEAT: “I talk too much.”
DON WRIGHT, 33, soda shop proprietor, Cheney, Kans.
City girls need not apply. This Mr. Wright relishes the simple things in life: Softball, boating, hiking and camping. Fitting, then, that he runs the historic Old Mill Tasty Shop in nearby Wichita, a frozen-in-time soda fountain that froths up the same rich banana splits, malts and shakes it did back in the 1930s. Fitting, too, that family is involved: The well-muscled 6’3″ Wright co-owns the shop with his mother, Mary, 52; his impish son Keaton, 5, makes frequent appearances. (Wright shares custody of the tyke with his ex-wife Jennifer, 27, a cosmetologist. Their five-year marriage ended on friendly terms in 1998.) A churchgoing Baptist, Wright is “an upstanding guy” says pal Kurt Kessler. “He’s always there for you.”
WHY HE HASN’T REMARRIED YET: “I had to get over the love of my life first.”
CAVEAT: His high-calorie concoctions may be hazardous to your waistline.
DENNIS KEZAR, 32, professor, Nashville.
“The clichés are true,” admits the Vanderbilt University assistant English professor. “I wear tweed, listen to NPR and have a black Lab.” But with hobbies such as running marathons and “poking fun at myself,” this never-wed Ph.D. (“I have had a few long-term and some decidedly short relationships”), who likes hiking dates, is no young fogy. Says pal Tony Earley: “He’s the kind of guy you can call in the middle of the night and say, ‘I’m in jail in St. Louis. Will you come get me?’ and he would.”
LOOKING FOR: “Someone who makes things beautiful.”
JESSE L. MARTIN, 31, actor, New York City.
The Broadway-trained Law & Order regular with the bedroom eyes dates often but says he hasn’t had a serious relationship. Martin claims he’s open to finding love “anywhere. In the subway, on the street, eye contact is where it starts.” But he lays down the law on blind dates (“Never again!”) and cologne (“I let my pheromones do their thing”). A Marvin Gaye fan, he says “real men know how to listen, and real men know how to be honest.” Real women applaud.
LOOKING FOR: Someone to serenade.
CAVEAT: He’s said he has trouble taking time off.
ALEXANDER PAYNE, 39, film director, Los Angeles and Omaha.
The Nebraska native, who seduced critics with his highbrow comedies Election and Citizen Ruth, splits his time between La-La Land and his home city. Laconic about past loves (“I’ve had some wonderful relationships”), the Stanford and UCLA grad speaks five languages and grows his own vegetables. “If I don’t put my hands in dirt at least once a year,” he says, “I forget who I am.”
IDEAL WOMAN: Intelligent, complex,” says screenwriting partner Jim Taylor.
CAVEAT: Don’t tie him down—he has to “remain ready to go on my next mission.”
ALAN C. SOBBA, 41, sports lobbyist, Arlington, Va.
This 6’3″ Kansas-farmer’s son, who will open his own sports-lobbying firm this summer, also coaches Little League and serves on the board of directors of the D.C. Boys and Girls Clubs. What baffles him is why, romantically speaking, he’s still a free agent: “Maybe I’ve never put myself in a position where I could fall in love.” So, how about first base?
NATURAL HABITAT: Sports stadiums.
CAVEAT: In relationships, says he has a problem with follow-through.
MARCO MACCIONI, 32, restaurateur, New York City.
There are many reasons to love the co-owner of Manhattan’s chic eatery Osteria del Circo, who has been unattached since a long-term relationship ended last year. For one, he’s charmingly multilingual (he speaks English, Italian, French and Spanish). He also has singular dash (he loves cycling around the city in his Armani suits). But our favorite is his declaration that “Italian men are always respectful—and always try to make the lady [they’re with] look as good as possible.” Buon appetito!
IDEAL DATE: A symphony concert in Central Park (“It’s romantic”).
CAVEAT: He works past midnight five nights a week.
LEW DICKEY, 39, media mogul, Atlanta.
His company Cumulus Media operates 321 radio stations—which means that president and CEO Dickey makes a nice living, thank you. But this blond, 6′ golf fan is golden in other ways too. Says his sister Caroline Oberg, 29: “He’s funny and he’d make a great father.” Dickey, who almost made it to the altar in 1996, may even be ready. “As I get older,” he says, “I see the need to balance work with a life outside it.”
IDEAL DATE: “If I’m feeling brave, I’ll cook.”
CAVEAT: “When he is focused on something,” says sis Caroline, “you can’t get his attention for the world.”
GREG SCOTT, 35, artist, Washington, D.C.
He sculpts, makes jewelry, paints portraits and designs pricey special-order clothing for such clients as Quincy Jones and Diahann Carroll. Yet the 6’3″ artist-in-residence at the Children’s National Medical Center (and father of son Kenya, 17, from an 11-year marriage that ended in 1992) isn’t motivated by profit. Says his friend and NBC weatherman Willard Scott: “He has a touch of a child.”
MOTTO: “There’s no such thing as a bad day.”
CAVEAT: You may be deafened by his loud shirts.
DAN LEBATARD, 31, sportswriter, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
This award-winning Miami Herald columnist has a confession to make: “I’ve never been in love.” What would it take to convert the never-married Cuban-American, who volunteers as a motivational speaker at Boys and Girls Clubs? A woman who’s “good around kids,” makes him laugh and isn’t afraid to get soaked (he’s an avid river rafter).
IDEAL DATE: “Somewhere quiet.”
CAVEAT: Football season, basketball season, hockey season…
JACK SUTTE, 27, trumpeter, Cleveland.
With his groovy goatee and artsy loft filled with Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra CDs, this ardent cyclist looks more like a jazz hipster than a serious classical musician. Well, not so serious. “I remember saying to a girlfriend in college that ‘my trumpet comes first,’ ” says the Juilliard grad-turned-Cleveland-Orchestra’s second trumpet, rolling his eyes. “I’ll never say that again!” His dream mate: a fellow music lover “to enjoy life’s experiences with.”
GREAT DATE: A quiet restaurant.
CAVEAT: Daily trumpet practice.
BYRON MIRANDA, 41, weatherman, Chicago.
The forecast for Miranda: hot and getting hotter. The head-turning former Air Force sergeant and beach lover has become must-viewing since he joined WMAQ’s top-rated morning newscast in 1998. Single since an amicable 1988 divorce (daughter Brianna, 17, lives with his ex-wife Cassandra McCraw, a high school administrator, in Oakland), Miranda, who rises at 3 a.m. and goes on occasional weekend dates, is ready to marry again: “I’ve learned how to be humble.”
GREAT DATE: Hitting a blues club.
CAVEAT: Reserves most of his free time for catching up on his sleep.
JOSHUA JACKSON, 22, actor, Los Angeles.
The Dawson’s Creek star is one teen heartthrob with leading-man potential. “He’s a gentleman with a great sense of humor,” says Anne McCarthy, casting director of his 1999 film Cruel Intentions. “And great eyes.” The Vancouver native (a Canadian and U.S. citizen) also has eyes for Dawson’s damsels: He has romanced Katie Holmes and, reportedly, Brittany Daniel. Dating costars? “When you’re surrounded by beautiful women,” he told The Calgary Sun, “it seems difficult and foolish not to.”
GREAT DATE: Brews. “I’m a bar kind of person,” he told London’s Sunday Times.
CAVEAT: Better like the military look—he got a buzz cut for summer hiatus.
DAVID VITIELLO, 35, postal clerk, Margate, Fla.
This gym-buff former commodities broker, who makes $35,000 a year—he traded trading for a less stressful life in ’95—wins praise even from his ex-wife Marlene (with whom he shares custody of David Jr., 11). Well, sort of. “He’s real sweet and naive at the same time,” she says..
GREAT DATE: “An expensive restaurant—depending on my overtime.”
CAVEAT: Loves tattoos.
STRAN SMITH, 29, cowboy, Childress, Texas.
Rugged good looks, natural grace and a winning way with a lasso—Stran Smith could ride circles around the Marlboro Man. 1997’s Texas All-Around and Calf-Roping Champion roped in more than $100,000 in prize money last year. The third-generation rodeo sensation, who also models western duds for magazine and TV ads, is humble to boot. “I’m no superstar,” he insists. “I’ve just taken the gifts that God has given me and tried to give back to others in a Christian way.” A teetotaler who has never married, Smith still lives and works at his family’s 9,000-acre cattle ranch. What does a girl need to corral him? “Christian values,” he says, “and a sense of humor.”
IDEAL PARTNER: One who loves playing with his nine nieces and nephews.
CAVEAT: He’s been casually seeing a former rodeo queen for a year or two.
MARK WEXLER, 44, photojournalism Chicago and Los Angeles.
“I want someone to share my frequent-flyer miles with,” says the son of Oscar-winning movie cinematographer Haskell Wexler (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). The never-wed adventurer has trekked Siberian tundra and African jungle to snap prizewinning shots for magazines such as National Geographic. “Living on airplanes isn’t really conducive to an active social life,” he laments, though he does strive to exercise and “eat as healthy as I can.” He says he got close to the altar several years ago with a doctor ex but “I don’t think I was ready.” Now, “I really want to have a family.”
A GOOD CATCH BECAUSE: “I’m a good listener.”
CAVEAT: Tough to reach at work.
SEAN CUMMINGS, 35, hotelier and real estate developer, New Orleans.
Sure, he comes from a wealthy local family (father John is a successful attorney with extensive real estate holdings), cruises around town in a Porsche and owns International House, a hip hotel favored by visiting celebs. But Cummings isn’t relaxing on Big Easy Street. The Brown University grad is also a serious soul and devoted Big Brother who helps run a summer camp for kids with cerebral palsy. “If a marriage is not a spiritual union,” says Cummings, who is nine months out of a long-term relationship, “it’s bound to fail.”
LOOKING FOR: “An independent thinker.”
CAVEAT: Very picky.
KEVIN EUBANKS, 42, Tonight Show music director, Los Angeles.
“I was just wondering,” asks the amiable guitarist, ” ‘What makes me any different than any other unmarried guy?’ ” Okay, Kev, listen up: On top of that hefty Tonight Show paycheck and impressive musicianship (he composed the show’s closing theme song), Eubanks is “honest and straightforward,” says pal and nightly stage partner Jay Leno. Mom Vera notes that her son, whose last serious relationship (with actress Tamara Townsend, 29) ended in 1998, is “always concerned about other people.”
LOOKING FOR: “A woman who’s dedicated to something.”
CAVEAT: Few Saturday night dates, thanks to frequent moonlighting as a club guitarist.
HENRY SIMMONS, 30, actor, Los Angeles.
The 6’4″ NYPD Blue newcomer hates it when people swoon over his breathtaking bod. “The other day someone said something to me about my abs,” the Stamford, Conn.-reared former hotel doorman says with a sigh. “I don’t want to hear any of that. That’s not what life is about.” Hey, if compliments are a crime, you gonna arrest us? Please?
A GOOD CATCH BECAUSE: “He’s completely oblivious to the fact that he’s a good-looking guy, and that’s what makes him so special,” says twin sister Heather.
CAVEAT: He has been seeing someone (but still lives alone) in L.A.
CAMERON MATHISON, 30, soap star, New York City.
“Poor Jen,” Mathison says of his ex-girlfriend, Spin City actress Jennifer Esposito. “When we went on vacation, I’d be up at 6:30 going for a swim. But she was a good sport.”
We would be, too, if it meant vacationing with Mathison (a.k.a. studly Ryan Lavery on All My Children). Ridiculously athletic (he’s a triathlete), giving (he volunteers for children’s charities) and smart (he has a civil engineering degree), Mathison has also overcome serious adversity. At age 2, the Canadian-born, never-wed soap star was diagnosed with the degenerative bone disease Legge Perthes; he wore bulky metal braces on both legs for 2 12 years. (He’s now fully recovered.) “The result,” says his mother, Loretta, 58, “is that he’s a very compassionate person.”
SEEKING: “Someone really genuine.”
CAVEAT: His older brother Scott says that he prefers skiers.
CLYDE HOYT 50, farmer, Corning, Iowa.
This silver-haired Iowa native is hardworking (he raises cattle, wheat and corn on his century-old, 1,200-acre farm), wise (“happiness comes from within”) talented (he bakes his own bread and makes his own ice cream) and—oh yeah—looks pretty nifty on a tractor. Split in 1994 from his wife of 24 years (they have three grown kids), Hoyt says, “I’ll get married again when I find the right magic.”
HOW HE MEETS WOMEN: By cutting the rug at weekend dances.
CAVEAT: Rises with the sun.
TODD MARTIN, 29, pro tennis player, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The Los Angeles Times calls him “one of the genuinely nice people on the tour.” Agent Tom Ross calls him “the guy you want your son to grow into.” And—no kidding—if he hadn’t become a tennis pro (ranked No. 20, he made $1.1 million last year), the 6’6″ Martin would be a grade-school teacher: “I love children.”
IDEAL WOMAN: She “sees the good in people.”
CAVEAT: Often steps out with event organizer Amy Barbato, 25.
SANJAY GUPTA, 30, neurosurgeon, Chelsea, Mich.
Talk about triple threats. The brainy Indian-American doc with the heart-stopping smile teaches at the University of Michigan Hospital, where he just finished a year as chief resident. He’s a do-good entrepreneur who is helping create a Web site to link developing countries to needed medical equipment. And he’s a Democratic activist and former White House fellow who has given policy advice to Hillary Clinton. Still, “he knows how to play,” says his mother, Damyanti. Case in point: He flies off to exotic locales such as Vietnam and Thailand “at the drop of a hat” to hike and scuba dive. “I’m not a zealot,” says the never-married Gupta, who moves into his new 2,500-sq.-ft. lakefront house this month—about the time he also hangs out his shingle for his new private practice. (Whew!)
GREAT DATE: Cheering on one of Michigan’s many sports teams.
CAVEAT: Just a tad overscheduled.
TOM ELLIOTT, 42, stuntman, Los Angeles.
“Since I’m doubling you,” the veteran of 300-plus movies once joked to Tom Cruise, “doesn’t that make me the Second Sexiest Man Alive?” Dunno about that, but the never-wed L.A. native, who makes a six-figure income, is second to none in bravery: He once crashed into a wall at 150 mph. Offscreen, he teaches kids martial arts and “spoils women rotten” with flowers, says pal Andrée Gibbs.
LOOKING FOR: A “sophisticated” lady.
CAVEAT: “Accidents do happen,” he says.
JEFF EPPENSTINE, 31, UPS delivery driver, Trenton, N.J.
If Eppenstine had his way, the UPS uniform would go from drab to fab. “I hate the color brown,” proclaims the sunny deliverer, preferring brighter ensembles when he’s off duty. His cheery row house less than a mile from his mom’s, which features stained-glass doors he made himself, reflects his outlook. “Eppy,” who earns around $45,000 annually and is a model of dependability, “would do anything” for his friends, says pal Alan Chen. When Chen asked Eppenstine (whose last relationship ended five months ago) to help build a rock garden last year, “I told him to meet me at my house,” says Chen. “When I got there, the whole garden was built. That’s the kind of guy he is.”
LOOKING FOR: “A girl with some meat on her bones.”
CAVEAT: He hates folding laundry.
JOHN LUGAS 33, investment manager, San Francisco.
The 6’1″ director of research for a $300 million small-cap-company investment firm knows how to put his bucks to work: “I’ve got the florist on my speed dial.” But he’s no raging bull—business school chums nicknamed him Safe Dance for his paws-off style.
GREAT DATE: Grilling fish he caught himself.
CAVEAT: Likes brunettes with “light blue or green eyes.” Mom Marie’s suggestion to contenders: “Contact lenses!”
MICHAEL LYONS, 33, college admissions counselor, Brattleboro, Vt.
A revolution hits Lyons’s home this week: Vermont becomes the first state in the nation to legalize unions between same-sex partners. Lyons, who is gay and dates occasionally (he says living in a small town makes it tough), cheers the change—but notes, “Unless you have someone in your life, it doesn’t mean much.” He’s a pretty great someone, says pal Marjorie Singer, calling the outdoorsy counselor at Brattleboro’s School for International Training “a wonderful concoction—this guy from San Diego who’s lived in Micronesia [where he taught high school] and Costa Rica [for a Peace Corps stint].”
IDEAL DATE: Paddle boarding.
CAVEAT: “I can put my foot in my mouth.”
NIRAV TOLIA, 28, dot-com CEO, San Francisco.
Tolia has always been a sweet talker. As a teen in Odessa, Texas, “Nirav would convince my friend and me that it would be fun to wash his car,” recalls brother Veeral, 24. “We’d do it over and over.”
Today, lots of women would gladly hop into the 6′ Stanford grad’s BMW M3. The son of Indian-immigrant doctors made megabucks at Yahoo! before starting Epinions.com, a booming product-review Web site. So why hasn’t the Dallas Cowboys fanatic—recently named one of Silicon Valley’s 10 most eligible bachelors by a women’s Web site—had a steady girlfriend in years? Don’t blame his 16-hour workdays, he says. “It’s purely not having found Miss Right.”
GREAT DATE: “A quiet, romantic Italian restaurant.”
CAVEAT: A neat freak—mom Kamal says he regularly made his college roommate’s bed.
LEO WATCHMAN, 33, politician, Navajo, N.Mex.
In addition to representing the Navajo nation as a legislator in the New Mexico House of Representatives, the dapper Watchman helps manage the reservation’s parks and recreation activities when he’s not roping cattle on his 20,000-acre ranch. The all-around outdoorsman who dates only occasionally is looking for a nature lover with “beauty, heart and soul.”.
GREAT DATE: A piano bar.
CAVEAT: A self-described “compulsive golfer.”
BILL GERSHMAN, 31, volunteer firefighter, Centreville, Md.
This sweet-natured Virginian and Washington Redskins fan has a full-time job as the communications director for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. So why does he volunteer for 50 hours a month to battle blazes himself? “To help out,” says the redhead, who has had two serious relationships with female firefighters. “And to ride around on big trucks.”
PREREQUISITE: “A sense of humor. Having one—and understanding mine.”
CAVEAT: His two cats shed a lot.
JOE MALOOF, 44, AND GAVIN MALOOF, 43, businessmen, Sacramento.
Adrienne Maloof, 39, would love to see her brothers married off—and she’s not shy about telling them. “We’ve been through this so many times, it’s like a broken record.” Joe (left) and Gavin—president and vice chairman, respectively, of the Maloof Companies, whose $1 billion holdings include casinos, hotels and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings—blame too much work. “I thought I’d have five kids by now,” says 5’11” Joe, who owns a Mercedes, Ferrari and Lamborghini but bunks in a modest 1,100-sq.-ft. house three blocks from 5’8″ golf nut Gavin. Of Lebanese descent, the two also support a host of community groups, recently giving $100,000 to restore an inner-city Little League field.
GREAT DATE: They agree—dinner and a Kings game.
CAVEAT: Contenders must take basketball as seriously as they do.
JOHNNIE MORTON, 28, pro football player, Detroit
When this thoughtful Lion first meets a woman, he deliberately omits any mention of his NFL gig. “I don’t fit the football-player stereotype at all,” says the never-wed Morton. “The type of woman I’d want would hesitate to go out with me because I play for the NFL.” Is this guy for real? Read on: The star wide receiver is also a model-actor who has appeared on The Young and the Restless and in ads for Nike, and he’s a devoted son who in the off-season lives in L.A. near his parents, African-American Johnnie Sr., 62, a retired financial manager, and Japanese-American Katsuko, 55, a homemaker. “I have the best time with them,” he says. “We just sit and laugh.” If Morton is a dream, don’t wake us up.
LOOKING FOR: A woman who is “ambitious about her career, but it’s not her life.”
CAVEAT: He’s a neatness freak.
MATT PRITCHARD, 27, AND KEVIN PRITCHARD, 24, windsurfers, Maui, Hawaii.
Though they’re ranked the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 windsurfers, respectively, there’s little sibling rivalry between Kevin (left) and Matt. “If someone has to be in front of me,” says Matt, “I’m stoked it’s my brother.” Indeed, the living is breezy at their bachelor pad, a custom-built house with jumbo outdoor hot tub. The Riverside, Calif., natives, introduced to the surf by their building-contractor dad, Mike, 48 (mom Judy, 45, sells real estate), earned more than $300,000 apiece last year from sources including endorsements and prize money. Those wave-toned abs attract gaggles of groupies. While neatnik Matt currently has a local love interest, sloppier Kevin “won’t admit it, but he loves the girls,” says teammate Scott Fenton. “But he’s humble. He has a head on his shoulders.”
WHY THEY AREN’T CARRIED YET: “An athlete has a short window of opportunity,” says Kevin. “Women have to come second right now.”
CAVEAT: They’re on the road six months a year.
STEVEN PERRICONE, 45, restaurateur, Miami.
His baby blues are heart-stopping, his Miami eatery and catering concern—Perricone’s—is flourishing, and he volunteers “as much as I can,” coaching kids’ baseball and speaking at local schools for DARE, a program to keep kids off drugs. “I really have an affinity for children,” says Perricone, who has none of his own. What’s more, he’s straight and likes shopping. So why is this divorced dreamboat still on the shelf? “I want to get married again,” he protests. “It’s hard to find someone these days.” Sounds like a dare to us.
BEST ENDORSEMENT: “I wish he could be my boyfriend,” says his sister Christina
DeFalco, 43, who helps him with his business.
CAVEAT: He’s surrounded by all that tempting Italian food.
TONY STEWART, 29, race-car driver, Cornelius, N.C.
NASCAR’s 1999 Rookie of the Year is hot, all right. “I’m a pretty emotional person” on the job, admits Stewart, who has won a bevy of admirers (and more than $3 million last year) for his racing prowess. Offtrack, he’s a mother’s dream: a polite, easygoing guy who loves to fish and recently bought a five-bedroom house on Cornelius’s Lake Norman. “I just enjoy life,” says the Columbus, Ind.-raised speedster. He’s got “the whole package,” says pal Irish Saunders. “Sincerity, looks, humor and charm.”
GREAT DATE: His favorite Japanese steak house.
CAVEAT: On the road much of the year—a schedule he blames for last year’s bust-up with his then fiancée, an employment recruiter.
STEVE BURNS, 26, actor, Brooklyn.
Burns’s fans have a habit of drooling all over him. Literally. As the host of Nickelodeon’s Blues Clues, the 5’6″ actor charms some 10 million tots each week. Yet when it comes to captivating grown women, the Pennsylvania native says he doesn’t have a clue. “It’s never been easy for me,” says Burns, who’s dating again after a long-term relationship ended recently. While admitting that his nice-guy TV persona can be an asset, “even that gets scary,” he notes, “because [then] it’s, ‘I bet he’s great with kids.’ ” (Never fear: He does want kids someday: “That’s my goal, definitely.”)
LOOKING FOR: “A cross between Christy Turlington, Gwen Stefani and Janeane Garofalo.”
CAVEAT: “He can annoy you until you want to scream,” says his mother, Janet, 58.
ROB ROGERS, 41, editorial cartoonist, Pittsburgh.
Name a subject, any subject, and Rogers, who was a 1999 Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial cartooning, has a ready quip. Marriage, for example: “Marriages are like Phil Collins songs. You know there are a couple of good ones out there, but the majority stink.” Or the word “bachelor”: “It sounds like a disease—one that penicillin can’t help.” But seriously, folks. This never-married artist, who donates much of his time and many of his works to charities benefiting everything from AIDS research to student journalists, does want to settle down—with a woman who has “a good sense of humor.” That’s likely to come in handy when Rogers uses his favorite conversation starter: “Do you believe in God, and does he look anything like me?”
WHY HE’S A GOOD CATCH: “I’m sensitive, hard-working and still have most of my own teeth.”
CAVEAT: Must compete for attention with his beloved weimaraner Mojo.
JOHN RICH, 26, country singer, Ashland City, Tenn.
“Lord only knows how far I would go to show you the way that I feel,” Rich croons on his upcoming solo debut album, Underneath the Same Moon. About as far, we’d guess, as most unattached women would go to get close to this soulful warbler with the sexy swagger. The never-wed former singer for the hit-spinning country band Lone-star loves boating and wins big points for family devotion too. He recently bought a 6,000-sq.-ft. ranch house outside Nashville—near the home of his dad, Jim, 48, a preacher—and invited his grandparents Ann, 68, and Bill, 73, to move in. Did we mention that the house is covered with roses Rich planted himself? Gushes grandma Ann: “He’s true blue.”
BIG PLUS: “I’m very attentive.”
CAVEAT: Can be a bit of a slob.
ED BURNS, 32, actor-director-writer, New York City.
Newly available following his May split from actress Heather Graham, 30, the raspy-voiced Burns is “very even-keeled,” says actor pal Mike McGlone. “He’s always good for a spot of advice.” Adds friend Barbara Layton: “There’s nothing pretentious about him.” Perhaps that’s because Burns began his career fetching coffee on Entertainment Tonight before breaking out in 1995 with his feature debut The Brothers McMullen, which he filmed on a shoestring at his parents’ Long Island house. Grateful for his good fortune, Burns has given back by serving as an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, telling the New York Post, “At this point in my career that’s the least I can do.”
PLUS: He adores his family. “We’re a big, loud, loving group,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
CAVEAT: You’d better like the Boss—Burns is a huge Springsteen fan.
SCOT VAN BUREN, 38, chief financial officer, Lathrup Village, Mich.
Money is no object for this computer company exec, who recently turned down a raise. “I really cannot spend it all,” says the self-deprecating Van Buren, an exercise buff who loves military history and foreign travel. He also volunteers for a charity that organizes sports for kids.
LOOKING FOR: A woman close to his own age. “I probably couldn’t find somebody 25 years old attractive,” he says. “I don’t think they’ve had enough experience.”
CAVEAT: Brrr! Keeps the thermostat in his 1,800-sq.-ft. house at 60°.
ROBERT SIEGEL, 28, humor writer and editor, Madison, Wis.
The slyly funny editor of cult-fave mock newspaper and Web site The Onion is, well, a multilayered guy. “As you dig deeper, there’s more and more,” deadpans pal Stephen Thompson. The never-married Siegel’s a-peel? He knows that beauty is more than skin-deep. “If a person is beautiful on the inside,” he says, “looks don’t really matter.”
The Long Island native who recently ended a one-year relationship with another writer, indulges his love of the offbeat (such as go-carting and hitting fondue joints—his wacky diet excludes vegetables and fruit) when he’s not attached to his keyboard. The cyber-humorist says he’s looking for a “lifetime soul-mate” and a relationship just like the one his grandparents have. “It’s old-fashioned love,” says Siegel of their 63-year marriage. “They make it look so simple, but it seems almost unattainable.”
FIRST DATE: “Dessert by the lake.”
CAVEAT: “I have a neurotic streak.”
ROGER COSSACK, 61, TV cohost, Washington, D.C.
He and Greta Van Susteren, his fellow legal analyst on CNN’s Burden of Proof, “have our spats, then make up, just like husbands and wives do,” says the L.A.-bred Cossack, a former defense attorney. But off-air, Van Susteren is happily married—and Cossack is a widower. His wife, Michele, a homemaker, died in 1991 of breast cancer. (Their son Ron, 36, is a real estate consultant.) Cossack now nests in a Georgetown apartment adorned with photos of Dizzy Gillespie and Supreme Court justices, plus a Mickey Mouse shower curtain. Van Susteren’s verdict: “Roger is a great catch. He’s just a decent guy.”
IDEAL WOMAN: “A jazz fan and golfer who is smart. But I’ll take two out of three.”
CAVEAT: No lawyers need apply.
ERIK POINTER, 23, Coast Guard rescuer, Puerto Rico.
Pointer’s real-life derring-do—leaping from helicopters, swimming with sharks and dangling from a cliff—could rival anything on the big screen. Divorced two years ago from his high school sweetheart, Pointer says of the experience, “We were young, and we went different places. I think I’m a better person now.”
LOOKING FOR: “A country girl.”
CAVEAT: Watching him work might make you queasy.
JOHAN REINHARD, 56, archaeologist, Franklin, W. Va.
He’s known as a bit of a mummy’s boy—but that’s because in 1995 he found a frozen 500-year-old Incan maiden at the summit of a volcano in Peru. That stunning find ranked as one of the year’s top scientific discoveries. Now the Illinois-bred globetrotter would like to discover the joys of wedlock, but prospective brides will have a hurdle. Over one 17-year stretch, says Reinhard, who is fluent in Raji, a tribal language of Nepal, he was never home for more than three months straight.
MARRIED: “I’ve asked two women and both said no.”
CAVEAT: “My heart is still in the Himalayas.”
MARK MCGWIRE, 36, pro baseball player, St. Louis, Mo.
Since smashing Roger Maris’s home-run record with 70 in 1998, the Cardinals slugger, who earns a reported $9.3 million and recently ended a relationship, gets hit on as often as he hits. Devoted to son Matthew, 12 (who lives with his ex Kathy Williamson, 39), the classical-music lover has a home in California and gives more than $1 million a year to help abused kids.
HIS PLANS: “I do want to get married again,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
CAVEAT: “Doesn’t read books,” says pal Mark Pitta.
CONAN O’BRIEN, 37, talk show host, New York City.
The 6’4″ Irish Catholic Late Night host told PEOPLE in 1998 that he developed his lady-baiting “Bob Hope growl” in the fifth grade in Brookline, Mass., though he admits “girls thought it was a bronchial problem.”
We trust they’re smarter now. After all, O’Brien is that rarest of creatures: one who combines high intelligence (he’s a Harvard-educated history buff), effortless wit (usually at his own expense) and genuine kindness. The third of six children born to Thomas, 71, a doctor, and Ruth, 68, a retired lawyer, O’Brien—who earns a reported $2 million a year and ended a five-year relationship with former Late Night talent booker Lynn Kaplan, 31, in 1999—canceled his plans during a show hiatus in March when his mother needed unexpected medical tests. “He spent the week shlepping back and forth to the hospital,” recalls Ruth, who says he’s “a joy.”
GREAT DATE: Small-town antiquing.
CAVEAT: His extensive guitar collection “is a sickness.”
DAN JONES, 25, teacher, Baltimore.
His Teach for America Corps salary is a mere $28,500, but teaching eighth-graders in one of the city’s poorest schools, says this amateur kayaker, has its own rewards: “It’s changed my life.” And made him a great catch for any woman who appreciates a big heart. “Dan has always been surrounded by very attractive girls,” says his brother Doug, 28, a law student. Says Jones, who likes taking first dates to a local Italian eatery: “I try to keep things as informal as possible. It takes the pressure off.”
IN SEARCH OF: “Someone cosmopolitan and an avid reader.”
CAVEAT: In no hurry to wed. “What’s the rush?”
TERENCE PANGYEN DUNN, 45, tai chi expert, Los Angeles.
“I am that oxymoron,” declares Dunn, “the sensitive male who can whup ass.” And make megabucks doing it. The lithe Yale University and Harvard Business School graduate now teaches Chinese martial arts and has sold more than a million instructional videotapes. The L.A.-reared son of Chinese immigrants ditched his corporate finance career in 1989 to, he says, “bring Eastern wisdom and philosophy to the West.” An avid modern art collector, he likes artsy women: Past romances include a classical musician, a dancer, an architect and an actress.
LOOKING FOR: “Someone athletic enough to keep up with me.”
CAVEAT: He holds his weekly poker night sacred.
JAMIE SHARPLES, 26, structural engineer, Chicago.
The quick-witted Sharples doesn’t let osteogenesis imperfecta (a brittle bone condition) slow him down. Says friend Erin Berlew: “He sees nothing as an obstacle—just another opportunity.” When he’s not designing bridges for an international engineering firm, the former University of Illinois varsity basketballer and honor student is a point guard for Chicago’s Wheelchair Bulls. He also supports athletic programs for disabled youths by giving motivational speeches and mentoring kids with his condition. A casual dater since a two-year relationship ended in college, Sharpies is looking for “a woman who knows what she wants and where she’s going.” Lucky gal, says buddy Brett Sheldon: “There’s nothing he won’t do for someone he cares about.”
GREAT DATE: Working out together.
CAVEAT: Needs the TV on to fall asleep.
DEXTER KINGS, 39, civil rights leader, Atlanta.
“People stop me in the street and say, ‘You look just like your dad,’ ” says the third of Martin Luther King Jr.’s four children. “I can’t really see it.” Maybe that’s because, like his father, he doesn’t pay much attention to surfaces. As president of the King Center, a nonprofit museum and library where King’s writings are archived, Dexter works to “introduce our father’s legacy [of nonviolent social change] to a new generation,” says his brother Martin Luther King III, 42, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “He’s the family visionary.”
And if that doesn’t make your heart beat faster, consider this: The stunning 6’1″ King, who has never married (though he’s had a couple of long relationships), is a man with a mission and a home on the beach in Malibu. “I’m inspired by the beach,” he says. “It gives me serenity.”
TURN-ON: Smart women.
CAVEAT: “So far, I’ve been married to the cause.”
ANDY THOMAS, 48, astronaut, Houston.
The easygoing charm of this never-wed, Australian-born rocket scientist, who spent four months on the Mir space station, sends female hearts into orbit. “I’m always shoving women off him,” says mother Elizabeth. She adds that her son, who unwinds by strumming Bach and Beatles tunes on his guitar, is a serial dater: “I stopped giving them presents because it got too expensive!”
BIG PLUS: “I’m handy around the house.”
CAVEAT: Needs to spiff up his wardrobe, says Mom.
GARY DAVIDSON, 37, rabbi, Long Beach, Calif.
“I don’t fit the image of most rabbis,” says the cuddly Massachusetts native, who spent two years as a social worker for the mentally retarded before finding his spiritual calling. As rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom, the Brandeis grad—who likes to play volleyball and watch New England Patriots football games during off hours—started a thriving group for Los Angeles-area Jewish singles. “It’s resulted in several marriages,” sighs Davidson, “but not my own.”
GREAT DATE: A Mariah Carey or Bruce Springsteen concert.
CAVEAT: You might get a stiff neck: This 275-pounder stands 6’6″.
TOM GARDNER, 32, internet entrepreneur, Alexandria, Va.
Taught financial savvy as tots by their father, Paul, a Washington, D.C., banking attorney, Tom and big bro David went on to found America’s most popular investment advice Web site: the irresistibly irreverent The Motley Fool. Today, six years later, the Gardner brothers boast 350 employees, a national radio show, a weekly gig on CNN and a business that since 1995 has had triple-digit annual revenue growth. None of which has so far brought great romantic returns to Tom, who says he’s had “four serious relationships and a lot of three-month relationships” in the last 10 years.
Still, the merry prankster, who above all “detests being bored,” hankers for the same dividends his happily married brother enjoys: “Food in the fridge that’s not blue, and three little kids who are a tremendous amount of fun to play with.”
IDEAL WOMAN: Meg Ryan. “She pretty much captures it.”
CAVEAT: Sometimes wears a fool’s cap.
JULIO IGLESIAS JR., 27, singer-songwriter, Miami.
You know the surname, made famous by his sexy dad, Latin crooner Julio, and his studly brother, Latin singer Enrique. But the most sizzling Iglesias of all may be the one just now taking his place in the sun: brown-eyed Julio Jr., the windsurfing, waterskiing older son of Julio Sr. and Filipino beauty Isabel Preysler. Iglesias Jr. recently ended an eight-year relationship with Cristina De Amezola, 26, whom he met in junior high, because “after eight years, you either get married or you let it go.” He chose the latter, noting, “I’m concentrating on my music right now”—namely his romantic debut album Under My Eyes, is Junior worried about competing with bro and Dad? Hardly: “We each have our own thing going.” Wanna go along?
PET PEEVE: “If a woman doesn’t have nice feet, I can’t take it.”
CAVEAT: “He’s a big flirt,” says friend Shauna Cheng.