He's an Oscar winner. He's a humanitarian. He looks great in a tux and in ... less than a tux. We've loved him as a doctor and as a thief or a hitman. Action, comedy, romance — it doesn't matter.
George Clooney is so much more than good looks and good film roles. And on the occasion of his 50th birthday, it seemed appropriate to offer up 50 of the things we love about the actor.
1. Clooney — despite Oscars, Golden Globes, golden looks — does not take himself too seriously.
2. He takes his charitable work for disaster victims and Darfur very seriously.
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3. Despite the media coverage that surrounds his humanitarian work, Clooney almost never lets the story become about him.
4. And if it does become about him, like this story with his former “travel buddy” Nicholas Kristof, about Clooney’s contraction of malaria, it still serves to spread awareness.
5. He’s influential in his own circles: Clooney was a prime organizer behind the celebrity-driven fundraisers “America: A tribute to heroes” for September 11 victims, as well as “Hope for Haiti” following the devastating earthquake.
6. Well, just *look* at him. And listen.
7. He is, unapologetically, NOT the marrying kind. Doesn’t make him a bad guy, just a guy who knows who he is.
8. He’s stayed totally aboveboard when asked about his one failed marriage.
9. When Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidman both lost $10,000 bets in which they predicted that, marriage or not, he would be a father by 40, Clooney returned the checks, betting double or nothing that he won’t have kids by age 50.
10. To paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara, who was speaking of Rhett Butler, Clooney “has a way of looking at women like he knows what they look like without their shimmy.”
11. The fact that he was, for 17 episodes, part of the cast of “The Facts of Life.”
12. His mullet from “The Facts of Life.”
13. His dad, former anchorman Nick Clooney.
14. His aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney.
15. You feel like he appreciates his riches. He’s no Snooki.
16. Thanks to the guidance from his aunt, he also understands fame can be fleeting (see previous comment about Snooki).
17. He’s got an athletic side: He had professional baseball aspirations and is well-known for his pickup basketball games.
18. He knows rejection: he tried out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977, and but was never offered a contract.
19. He also didn’t cut it as a broadcaster, a job he’s admitted wasn't right for him.
20. He once sold men’s suits to pay the bills.
21. Despite being political, he has no desire to get into politics.
22. He had a 300-pound potbellied pig, Max, a gift from Kelly Preston.
23. The pig proves he can commit: Max died on Dec. 1, 2006, after 18 long, happy years with Clooney.
24. He gives credit where it’s due: he’s given Max credit for saving him from the 1994 Northridge earthquake by waking him before it hit.
25. Did we mention he’s easy on the eyes?
26. He knows how to make a graceful exit. Even though Doug Ross’ departure on “ER” seemed unfathomable, it was the right career move, and he made a graceful exit.
27. He was loyal to the show that made him a star, agreeing to do a cameo during the final season of “ER.”
28. He stands up to bullies. When “Three Kings” director David O. Russell embarrassed and berated members of the cast and crew, Clooney wasn’t having it. Ultimately, Russell ended up in a choke hold.
29. He didn’t become famous until he was in his 30s.
30. Even Clooney went through an awkward phase.
31. It’s not all about the money. Clooney wrote, directed and acted in “Good Night and Good Luck,” which barely cracked the $30 million mark.
32. Two words: Danny Ocean.
33. While we’re talking about his films let's remember how fantastic “Syriana” was. The film proved he’s tough in real life as his torture scenes lead to real-life torture. Because of a head injury, spinal fluid ultimately began leaking out of his nose, causing pain so severe the actor contemplated suicide.
34. All that said, he admits Fabio could beat him up.
35. He’s honest about his flops. Example: He’s referred to “Batman and Robin,” as “a waste of money.”
36. He gets beaten up a lot in his films, and likes that because “there is always something that you just aren’t going to win.”
37. He’s described himself as being “scrappy,” a trait for which he credits his mother.
38. About being scrappy: He cuts his own hair.
39. More on being scrappy: He refuses to wear makeup while filming.
40. He can get away with not wearing makeup.
41. He played a genius prank on Matt Damon, where he had the actor's pants all altered to make him believe he was getting fat, all while Damon was trying to lose weight for a film.
42. His fake ear and nose stunt during the “Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert for Autism Education.”
43. His mission to destroy Gawker Stalker was really fun to witness.
44. He’s eloquent/funny, even when he’s being connected with the sex scandal surrounding Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (“I’ve only met Berlusconi once and that was in an attempt to get aid into Darfur,” he said).
45. And while we’re loosely on the subject of Italy, we love that he has a vacation place in Lake Como, eschewing typical celeb playgrounds like Malibu and the Hamptons.
46. His Oscar acceptance speech when he won best supporting actor for “Syriana.”
47. Despite all we know about Clooney, he’s maintained some level of privacy.
48. And mystique.
49. And if someone has some bad things to say about him, he’s still respected enough that that person is keeping quiet.
50. He’s comfortable with getting older. “It’s better than the other option, which is being dead,” he said.
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