Names in the news, Jan. 20

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, at 5:33 p.m.

Johnny Depp (photo) is America’s favorite movie star, according to a new poll of 2,237 adults conducted by the polling firm Harris Interactive. It’s the second year in a row Depp, who appeared in three movies in 2011, has landed atop the chart. Depp appeared in “The Rum Diary” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and loaned his voice to the animated film “Rango.” Which is enough to make him the favorite of women; Republicans and independents; Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and Echo Boomers; Easterners, Midwesterners and Westerners. Clint Eastwood was tops in the South; George Clooney was a favorite of grandparents and moderates; and Democrats love Denzel Washington. The rest of the top five are: Clint Eastwood and Denzel Washington tied for No. 2, Tom Hanks and, incredibly, John Wayne. Wayne, who hasn’t made a movie or done a talk show or had a messy tabloid breakup since his death in 1979, has been on the Harris list every year since 1994. And yes, the list was open to both men and women, although only one woman was listed in the Top 10: Sandra Bullock came in at No. 7. … Edgar Allan Poe fans waited long past a midnight dreary, but it appears annual visits to the writer’s grave in Baltimore by a mysterious figure called the “Poe Toaster” shall occur nevermore. Poe House and Museum Curator Jeff Jerome said early Thursday that die-hard fans waited hours past when the tribute bearer normally arrives. But the “Poe Toaster” was a no-show for a third year in a row, leaving another unanswered question in a mystery worthy of the writer’s legacy. Poe fans had said they would hold one last vigil this year before calling an end to the tradition.

21 STILL MISSING IN ITALIAN SHIPWRECK A rescuer sits on a rock near the cruise ship Costa Concordia, keeled over on its side at the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, on Thursday. The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into well-charted rocks Friday. Eleven people have been confirmed dead and 21 others were still missing Thursday. Capt. Francesco Schettino was jailed after he left the ship and is under house arrest, facing possible charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship. A Moldovan woman who was aboard the ship defended the captain’s actions Thursday.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

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