a.k.a.: Renegade trauma surgeon Robert Dalgety on the ABC series MDs; a less-than-intrepid adventurer in two Mummy movies
First impression: Mild-mannered and shy
The X-factor: The former electrician’s apprentice from East Kilbride, Scotland, is actually “funny, charming, handsome—all those things,” says Mummy producer Jim Jacks. “He’s a modern-day David Niven.”
Crowd pleaser: “We were shooting in San Francisco, and there was a gaggle of younger women calling after him,” says costar Michaela Conlin. “He didn’t even notice.”
Noted: Before becoming an actor, Hannah, who is married to British actress Joanna Roth, dreamed of busking his way through Europe. Two problems: “I don’t play any instruments,” he admits, “And I sing like a fish.”
a.k.a.: Tony Soprano on the HBO Mob hit The Sopranos
First impression: Menacing, but quick to smile
The X-factor: “He’s low-key, caring, shy and mysterious,” says TV daughter Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
Shock value: Gandolfini, who recently split from wife Marcy, with whom he has a son, Michael, 3, doesn’t understand his magnetic effect on women. “That sex symbol thing is so freaky to me,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times last year. “I’m the guy on TV in that lovely terry-cloth robe with his big gut hanging out.” Says Sigler: “His modesty just adds to his sex appeal.”
a.k.a.: Harry Potter’s nemesis Professor Severus Snape; the droll and urbane
Elyct Chase in this year’s Tony-winning revival of Private Lives
First impression: Rumpled yet elegant
The X-factor: “He has a very sexy voice. It’s dark and yummy,” says model Heidi Klum, who appeared last year with Rickman in the comedy Blow Dry. Adds longtime friend Ruby Wax, a London-based American comedian whose 1980 Off-Broadway show Desperately Yours Rickman directed: “He knows how to turn on some sex thing onstage or on film that just wipes out an audience.”
At ease: A veteran of some 50 plays and films, Rickman lives in London with economics lecturer Rima Horton, his companion of more than 30 years. “He has a lot of charm,” notes Klum. “He’s very polite and respectful. At the end of the day, that’s what a woman wants.”
a.k.a.: The X-Files‘ FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner; in February he’ll portray a homicide detective in the NBC mini-series James Patterson’s 1st to Die.
First impression: Tough, strong and follicularly challenged. “We weren’t looking to cast a sex symbol—we already had one in David Duchovny,” says X-Files creator Chris Carter.
The X-factor: “Women love his broad shoulders and tiny waist,” says Pileggi’s actress wife, Arlene, 35. But what really leaves her weak-kneed is Pileggi’s devotion to their 4-year-old daughter Sawyer. “He plays Barbie with her for hours. I find that extremely sexy.”
Mass appeal: “Women swoon over him,” says Carter. “And they’re checking out the whole package—they’re not always looking at his head.”
Reality check: Pileggi refuses to wear a toupee. “When I started to act, I was told, ‘You’ve got to get a hairpiece,’ ” he says. He had one custom-made and wore it to an audition. The result, says Pileggi, who started losing his hair in his early 20s, was unsettling: “It looked like someone had slapped a cow turd on my head.”
Height: 6 ft.
a.k.a.: Spin City‘s may oral assistant Carter Heywood; money whiz Stanley Babson on Arli$$
First impression: Tall, fussy and uptight
The X-factor: “He has beautiful eyes, and I love the way he smiles,” says wife Myrna, 40, a lawyer, who is expecting the couple’s third child in February. Adds Boatman, modestly: “When I’m thinner, I have a nice butt.”
A heads up: Because he has shaved his head for his signature roles, fans think he’s bald. “I get ‘You’re Cuba Gooding Jr. from Jerry Maguire‘ all the time,” says Boatman.
Making excuses: “My girlfriends would pretend they wanted to come see the show,” says Spin City costar Heather Locklear. “But really they wanted to go upstairs to dressing rooms to see if Michael would walk by. He’s very sexy and charismatic. And he has enormous feet. That kind of says it all.”
David Alan Grier
a.k.a.: Finicky talk show producer David Bellows on ABC’s Life with Bonnie
First impression: The funny guy next door. “As I get older, my sense of humor is my biggest asset,” says Grier. “Some days I think I look kind of cute, but other days I try to avoid the mirror.”
The X-factor: “His eyes provoke emotion,” says Bonnie Hunt. “When he smiles, they just light up.”
Becomingly modest: The divorced Grier, a 1981 graduate of the Yale Drama School, savors time alone at his four-bedroom house in the Hollywood Hills. But he rarely watches his own show. “It’s very Sunset Boulevard to be sitting at my house watching a show that I did,” he says.
Neatness counts: “I try to make my bed every day for mental health,” he says. “Coming home to an unmade bed or a room with clothes all over will depress me.”
Clothes horse: “He has a high sense of fashion,” says Hunt. “We put more into his wardrobe budget than mine, and we’re always joking about it. I’ll say give me that thing from Ross [a discount chain] and get David whatever sweater he wants from Armani.”
a.k.a.: Adrian Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective on TV’s Monk; next year he plays a boxing promoter in Against the Ropes with Meg Ryan.
First impression: “My eyes are bloodshot with dark circles under them,” he says. “They make women want to take care of me.”
The X-factor: “Tony has great dimples and a wonderful smile,” says Crystal Bernard, Shalhoub’s costar on the 1990-97 NBC series Wings. And yes, she loves his eyes: “They’re dark, soulful and direct.”
Well-connected: Shalhoub lives in L.A. with actress wife Brooke Adams, 53, and their two daughters, ages 14 and 9. He’s quick to admit his worst habit. “I talk on the phone too much,” he says. Adams, who met her husband when both were on Broadway in The Heidi Chronicles, agrees. “We’ll be out together, finally, just the two of us. And he’ll call one of his brothers and talk for an hour.”
Go-to guy: “The sexiest thing about Tony is that I can rely on him forever,” says Adams. “And you know what? Now that he’s becoming kind of famous, he looks a lot cuter to me!”
a.k.a.: Johnny, a short-order cook in the hit Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; this month he’ll play a campaign manager in Jennifer Lopez‘s Maid in Manhattan.
First impression: Wiry and brooding
The X-factor: “He carries himself with a confidence that convinces you he’s sexy,” says Frankie costar Edie Falco. His taut muscles (from sit-ups and pushups) don’t hurt, either. Critics gave rave reviews to Tucci’s well-toned body, flaunted during the play’s 15 minute nude scene.
Something to talk about: “The female fans are nonstop,” says Falco. “At parties women whisper about him. And it was funny watching him on The View. Even Barbara Walters was giggling.”
Family man: “I’m not the handsome Hollywood leading man ideal,” says Tucci, who lives in Manhattan with wife Kate, 40, and their three children. “It’s great when women approach me, but at the same time I’m not outside the stage door signing breasts.”