Everybody’s got a ‘list’ and finally, famous Baby Boomers made one too

SHARE Everybody’s got a ‘list’ and finally, famous Baby Boomers made one too

What do John Leguizamo,Billy Joel, Amy Tan, Sam Jackson, Erin Brockovich, Kim Cattrall and Chicago’s own Julieanna Richardson have in common? They’re all iconic Baby Boomers and are being featured in new PBS documentary “American Masters: The Boomer List.” The film, produced by filmmaker/photographerTimothy Greenfield-Sanders,features 19 Boomers, one for each year of the generation born between 1946 and 1964. It premieres at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 23, on PBS. Scroll all the way down for the trailer. Until then, read on.


These are some of the most influential people in American culture, and examining their contributions and outlooks on life through the lens of either being 50 or turning 50 is certainly interesting. Leguizamo, born in Colombia in 1964, talks about only being able to try out for “either for a drug dealer, a murderer, or a janitor,” along with a handful of other actors. “It’d be me, Benicio del Toro, Luis Guzmán, Benjamin Bratt.” It’s nice to know he kept his sense of humor about it, as seen in Leguizamo’s jacket and underwear portrait.

Leguizamo just performed here in Chicago for his Ghetto Klown show, but in terms of a more permanent localconnection, for the few that don’t know, Richardson is the South Loop-based brains behind the History Makers, a web site and video oral history collectionthat preserves the oral histories of African-American history makers, including MagicJohnson and Earl Calloway, who was instrumental in the building of The Chicago Defender. Richardson saw fit to preserve the history of people who didn’t – and sometimes don’t – make so-called mainstream media. Good thing she did, because many of them died before being properly covered in the mainstream. You can view the web site at thehistorymakers.com  whose influential additions to her website include the sculptorElizabeth Catlett and Gibor Basri, an astrophysicist who works with NASA research missions.  (On November 8, 2014, The Historymakers is hosting “An Evening with Gwen Ifill,” the sort of event typically open to whomever can afford the entry fee.)

Here’s the full list of the Boomers in question:

1946 Tim O’Brien, Vietnam vet / author

1947 Deepak Chopra, M.D., New Age guru

1948 Samuel L. Jackson, actor

1949 Billy Joel, singer-songwriter

1950 Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer

1951 Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer

1952 Amy Tan, author

1953 Eve Ensler, playwright

1954 Julieanna Richardson, founder, The HistoryMakers

1955 Maria Shriver, journalist

1956 Kim Cattrall, actor

1957 Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM

1958 Ellen Ochoa, Director, Johnson Space Center

1959 Ronnie Lott, athlete

1960 Erin Brockovich, environmentalist

1961 Peter Staley, AIDS activist

1962 Rosie O’Donnell, entertainer

1963 David LaChapelle, artist

1964 John Leguizamo, actor

Much of what they discuss offersinsightful commentary on life, love and society. LaChappelle has this to say about what’s truly goingin America: “What’s shocking is cruelty and torture, and that’s become our entertainment. Kids can play violent video games, but God forbid they look at a naked woman. That’s pornography, that’s perverse. No!” And my personal fav on the list, Kim Cattrall, talked about being young in Hollywood: “As a young actress, it was very frustrating because if we stood up for what we believed, we were thought of as being difficult or a bitch. And then the word passionate got introduced…”

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