The Year in Entertainment: Comebacks and Surprises

Fallen stars aside, 2002 was also a year for comeback kids and unexpected crazes.

It was the year that almost-has-been celebs like John Ritter, Nicholas Cage and Ozzy Osbourne triumphantly resurfaced with nods from critics, and wacky phenomena like The Bachelor and the Liza Minnelli-David Gest marriage unfolded before our eyes.

In the second of a two-part series, highlights some of the more significant celebrity renaissances and surprise sensations.


Ozzy Osbourne: The bat-chomping rocker turned into a doddering Dad -- and audiences couldn't get enough of the new Ozzy. The Osbournes was MTV's highest-rated debuting show ever, attracting more than 30 million viewers in its first four weeks.

Leonardo DiCaprio: The Titanic heartthrob finally came up for air after a long absence. With two Oscar-caliber films including Catch Me if You Can and Gangs of New York, the 28-year-old actor has, once and for all, shaken off his 'kid' image.

Daniel Day-Lewis: The reclusive, oddball actor hacked his way back into the mainstream as "Bill the Butcher" in Gangs of New York. The Oscar-winning star supposedly stayed in character even when the camera wasn't rolling. We'll see if he sheds the role in time to walk the red carpet next year.

John Ritter: The Three's Company star went from living with two scantily-clad female roommates to living with two teenage daughters. In a tough year for new sitcoms, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter kept audiences and critics laughing. He also starred in the well-received but offbeat film Tadpole.

Nicolas Cage: After a string of flops -- not to mention a high-profile, three-month marriage to Lisa Marie Presley -- the Leaving Las Vegas Oscar-winner finally logged in a stellar performance in Adaptation. Now if he can just avoid making any more Windtalkers, maybe the Coppola kin can stay on top.

Robin Williams: The one-time Mork & Mindy funnyman and comedy-movie king has remade himself into a villain, playing a creepy murderer in Insomnia and a psychotic stalker in One Hour Photo. He also returned to live stand-up, winning rave reviews.


Eminem: The controversial, rebel rapper suddenly became the mainstream's golden boy. Leaving behind his old homophobic, misogynist image, the Detroit bad-boy catapulted to the rank of talented actor with his performance in 8 Mile, and was deemed a caring father who is working through his traumatic childhood.

The Bachelor: This reality show in which 25 women compete for one man while all living together in a network TV version of the Playboy mansion scored huge ratings among the ladies, who apparently enjoy watching members of their own sex endure heartache and humiliation.

Halle Berry: The sexpot actress won an Oscar, becoming the first black woman to receive a Best Actress statue (others have won for Best Supporting Actress). She followed up her award-winning role in Monster's Ball with the part of flesh-baring, gun-toting secret agent Jinx in the James Bond flick Die Another Day.

Denzel Washington: At long last, the Big Screen powerhouse took home an Academy Award for Best Actor (for his role as a crooked cop in Training Day). Washington is the first black man to get the Best Actor award since Sidney Poitier took it home in 1963 for Lilies of the Field. Poitier also received an honorary award from the Academy in 2002.

Liza Minnelli: The singing sensation with the yo-yo weight problem hooked up with maniacal record producer David Gest. Their planned reality show on VH-1 was scrapped, but some circus-worthy wedding footage made it on air. In it, Michael Jackson looks like a cardboard character and Gest appears to gnaw on his bride's face during the nuptial smooch.

Anna Nicole Smith: The buffoonish former Playboy Playmate invited E! cameras and the public into her mad, mad world. Viewers tuned in for the first episode but haven't felt a connection to the show documenting Smith's charmless, childish antics.

Bono/Paul O'Neill: The legendary U2 frontman escorted the U.S. Treasury Secretary -- before he resigned -- on a trip to Africa in an effort to get the U.S. to donate more money toward AIDS. He also took his AIDS campaign on the road and onto Oprah.

What's in store for 2003? Will the fallen stars rise once more? Will the comebacks sink downward or disappear from the limelight again? Will more new crazes and trends catch us off-guard? In fickle, fad-mad Hollywood, it's anyone's guess what the new year will bring. Tune in.