James Denton: Mr. America

James Denton: Mr. America
James Denton and Miss America Contestants
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

updated 01/10/2006 at 12:00 PM EST

originally published 01/16/2006 06:00AM

Desperate Housewives star James Denton had to get the thumbs-up from one important woman before he agreed to host the 2006 Miss America pageant: his wife, Erin. "She's a pretty liberal feminist and you can imagine the questions that I got – 'Now, are you sure this is what you want to do?' " he says. "But at the same time she's saying, 'Well, I'm not sure this is the right way to represent women,' she ran for Miss Shakopee in high school in Minnesota. So, I got her over a barrel."

Though he's emceeing the show (airing live Jan. 21 from Las Vegas on CMT), don't expect to hear Denton sing the traditional "Here she is, Miss America …" theme song made famous by longtime host Bert Parks. "There was enough musical theater in my background to prompt the question," he says. "But there's no point in putting myself out on that limb."

But before he heads to Vegas, Denton will be sitting tableside with his fellow Housewives at tonight's Golden Globes in Los Angeles. "I'm gonna be pulling for the women," he says of nominated costars Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross and Felicity Hoffman.

Free Association with Terrence Howard

The Hustle & Flow star gives us some quick thoughts on hot topics:
Research for his role as a pimp in Hustle (now out on DVD): There was this one cat named Peaches, who taught me how to handle myself.
Set mementos: I was like, "The gold tooth is mine."
Best way to woo a woman: Honesty.
Current musical interests: John Legend. Anthony Hamilton had me before him. Dido had me for a little bit – she still does.
Greatest band ever: The heavenly choir of angels (laughs).
Staying in costume: I kept this pompadour in a film that's coming out with OutKast called My Life in Idlewild. I went and relaxed my hair the other day just so I can play with it.

Caught in the Act

James Denton: Mr. America| James Denton, Terrence Howard, Actor Class

Cameron Diaz (right), dining with two female friends at Italian eatery Il Sole in Los Angeles. Also on hand: Leonardo DiCaprio and Courteney Cox, eating separately. At one point in the evening, Diaz left her table to say hello to her Gangs of New York costar DiCaprio, who was in the smoking area outside.

America's Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford, having an intimate dinner with a mystery man at trendy New York City restaurant Markt.

• By CARRIE BORZILLO-VRENNA, IVORY CLINTON and MARK DAGOSTINO

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