Simply the Best

updated 12/01/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/01/2003 01:00AM

LL Cool J
MUSCLE FLEXER

AGE 35
HEIGHT 6'3"
STATUS Married.

Fans take note: LL Cool J is evolving. The name is still apt (it stands for Ladies Love Cool James) but un-rap him and he is James Todd Smith, Todd to his friends. Just check out the credits on his two latest movies, Deliver Us from Eva and S.W.A.T. He's serious in other ways too. His favorite hobby, for instance? Investing. He just picked up Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, because, he says, "I like to feed my mind with positive stuff. I try to stay focused and determined. I try to be disciplined." Happily that discipline extends to the gym, where he works out five times a week. "He's like a specimen," says his Eva costar Gabrielle Union. "His body is like the David sculpture. It's a masterpiece." Kathryn Morris, his costar in next year's Mindhunters, agrees. "An unbelievable body!" she says. "Have you ever seen him without his shirt on?"

Andy Roddick
TENNIS ACE

AGE 21
HEIGHT 6'2"
STATUS Dates Mandy Moore.

Can't get enough of tennis's No. 1-ranked player? An upcoming reality series, The Tour, promises all Roddick, all the time, with cameras trailing him from his tennis matches to his home life—everywhere but his bedroom. "I wake up grumpy and in need of food, so I don't talk for 20 minutes," says Roddick, 21. "I'm much more fun at night." The second tennis player to host Saturday Night Live (Chris Evert was first back in 1989) knows how to keep girlfriend Moore entertained. "I like to sing, no matter how bad I sound," he says, "and Mandy just laughs."

John & Matthew Perry
FATHER AND SON

JOHN AGE 62
HEIGHT 6'2"
STATUS Married.

MATTHEW AGE 34
HEIGHT 6 ft.
STATUS Dates fashion student Rachel Dunn.

As the teenage son of Old Spice model John Bennett Perry, Matthew Perry avoided bringing dates home because "it was always such a blow to my ego when the girl would go, 'Your dad is hot!' " he says. Early next year they'll begin work on the drama The Beginning of Wisdom. "It's kind of like working with my best friend," says Matthew. Besides acting, father and son share a passion for tennis and hockey. And both men have to rein in their inherent goofiness around John's wife, Debbie, and Matthew's steady, Rachel. "If you're on all the time, you can drive someone crazy," says John. "Yes," adds his son, "beside every Perry you will see a woman rolling her eyes."

Dustin Hoffman
A CLASSIC

AGE 66
HEIGHT 5'6"
STATUS Married.

After 1967's The Graduate, Hoffman had thousands of Mrs. (and Ms.) Robinsons trying to seduce him. "I was walking down Fifth Avenue one day and this woman just lifted up her sweater and said, 'Would you sign these?' There were these beautiful breasts—no bra," he says. "I said, 'I'll give you an autograph. Please put your sweater down.' " Women still line up to catch a glimpse of him on location shoots, but "they're always in their 60s or 70s. It's the same fans, just 35 years older. God bless them," says the two-time Oscar winner.... Hoffman wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the sunrise. There's nothing that I love more than predawn. I'm with the dogs, I make coffee, and there's no one up."...Every night after brushing his teeth, he has a piece of dark chocolate. "I have chocolate morning breath," he says.... "Dustin is naughty," says his Runaway Jury costar Rachel Weisz. "Very naughty."

Jude Law
LEADING MAN

AGE 30
HEIGHT 5'10"
STATUS Divorced.

After a year that saw the breakup of his six-year marriage to actress Sadie Frost, Law is bent on keeping busy. But with no fewer than six films in the works, including Cold Mountain with Nicole Kidman and a remake of the 1966 Alfie, he still carves out time for his three children (he and Frost share custody). "You carry these deep emotions," he recently told The New York Times Magazine. "You walk around with this atomic love for you children. Their vulnerability—it completely reshapes your heart." Also reshaping his heart lately is his 20-year-old Alfie costar Sienna Miller, with whom he's reportedly living. "I still pinch myself when I wake up with him," she has said. "He's such a gorgeous man."

James Carville
POLITICAL STRATEGIST

AGE 59
HEIGHT 6'2"
STATUS Married.

This Ragin' Cajun infuriates conservatives with is twangy harangues on Crossfire and Meet the Press. But to fans who share his Democratic views, Carville (now starring in HBO's K Street) is nothing short of a "rock star," says his famously Republican wife, Mary Matalin, mother of their two daughters. "He's a cross between inspiration and a car wreck. Everything he does makes me laugh."... Carville, who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, says he avoids "dull people and bad food" but suffers "funny, interesting fools" gladly.... He's a sucker for boxing, blues and fine watches-Running three miles a day keeps him "sexy in black tie and hot, hot in jeans," says Matalin, with no pot belly!"...What's sexy in D.C.? Politics is power," he says. "Give a woman the choice between the best-looking guy or the most powerful—the most powerful wins"

Ian & Stefan Gerard
STARMAKERS

IAN
AGE 35
HEIGHT 6'2"
STATUS Single.

STEFAN
AGE 33
HEIGHT 6'1"
STATUS Single.

Ever heard of fashion whiz kid Zac Posen? How about designer Rebecca Taylor? If you have, Ian and Stefan Gerard are doing their job. The brothers run Gen Art, a company that promotes up-and-coming designers (as well as artists) with fashion shows, grants and mentorship. They also know how to blow their own horns. "The people we are showing are going to be the next big thing," says Ian (right). "To make that selection is to be a taste arbiter," adds Stefan. "They get art, music and fashion," says Shoshanna Lonstein, whose clothing line made its runway debut in 1998 at their annual Fresh Faces in Fashion show. "They bring excitement and sexiness to events."

Nick, Craig & Ryan Karshner
SEXIEST SPOKESMEN

Age 20
HEIGHT 5'7"
STATUS Single.

Craig (the shy one) has the most athletic build, Ryan (the take-charge one) has a scar near his left eye, and Nick (the laid-back one) has a mole on his neck.... Despite the triple takes their Cingular Wireless ads have earned them, they still work as banquet servers at the Holiday Inn Select in Bakersfield, Calif.... "A lot of people consider us celebrities," says Craig, "but we just look at ourselves as normal, goofy guys."... Landing an agent at the same model competition that launched Ashton Kutcher and Katie Holmes, the triplets started posing at age 18 for Abercrombie & Fitch.... They live together in a four-bedroom house in Bakersfield (close to Lake Isabella, where they grew up). "We have all these unexpected women coming over so we have to keep it clean," Nick jokes then adds, "We don't share girlfriends and we've never triple-dated."...The three see a future in sitcoms, movies and modeling. "Jim Carrey and Seann William Scott are our role models," says Ryan. "Seann is not too far out of our league because he's fit, and he's goofy as can be. That's what we want, to be goofy but sexy at the same time."...They have their own homespun Web site: triplebros.com.... "We're a package deal," says Ryan of their Hollywood aspirations. "We can give you a good price.

Sting

RENAISSANCE MAN

AGE 52
HEIGHT 5'10"
STATUS Married.

England's most vigorous rock star is also a Commander of the British Empire, actor, activist, father of six and writer of a new bestselling memoir, Broken Music. But inquiring minds really want to know: Does the poster boy for tantric sex still make love to wife Trudie Styler for eight hours at a stretch as was once reported nearly a decade ago? "I'm not denying it at all," he says.
"But anyone who thinks you go at it for eight hours is an idiot. Intimacy though, can go on for longer than five minutes, which is most English people's idea of sex. The keywords are intimacy and sharing." Not bad for a man who used to pick up women by asking them for change. "It all depended on the way it was done," he says.... What else puts heat in Sting's 23-year union? Date nights do wonders, he says. "We make an occasion of it." Styler, for her part, credits her husband's smell ("so male"), his hands (like a "trucker's") and his attentiveness. "He loves women," she says. "And after 20 years he still enjoys watching me take my clothes off."

Nate Berkus

OPRAH'S FAVORITE DECORATOR

AGE 32
HEIGHT 5'9"
STATUS Single.

As the talk show host's Lord of Decor, this Chicago design whiz has viewers begging for his advice. "America cannot get enough of him!" Oprah declared on a recent show. One question: Is it his genius with a paint chip or those ice blue eyes that keep audiences tuned in?

Olivier Martinez
FRENCH IMPORT

AGE 37
HEIGHT 5'9"
STATUS Dates Australian pop star Kylie Minogue.

The rugged actor is not one for pampering. "I don't even know what a facial is," he says. "I come from a family of boxers and mechanics. My girlfriend goes to the spa, but it's not for me." Just what you'd expect to hear from a guy whose idea of a good time is racing around on his motorcycle, a red Benelli, often with Minogue on the seat behind him. "I like Italian motorcycles," he says. "But the most important thing is that they're fast." "He has a wonderful boyish charm," says Diane Lane, his Unfaithful costar. "He's not overpolished."

Peter Dinklage
INDIE SENSATION

AGE: 34
HEIGHT: 4'5"
STATUS: Single.

He's dark and handsome. Tall he's not, but no matter. Reviewers of Dinklage's film The Station Agent noted his "striking looks" and "deep, sexy voice." A recent Variety article—"The New Sexy"—pictured him posing shirtless with a leggy model. On the other hand, he's not above playing off his stature in the current hit Elf, and next spring he'll star as Toulouse-Lautrec in a New York City play based on the artist's life. "He's easygoing and funny," says Agent director Tom McCarthy. "Pete's sense of humor is his way of dealing." And what hidden talents might a date discover? "I can play the trumpet a little bit, and I can walk on my hands," he reveals. "It comes naturally"

James Perse
T-SHIRT KING

AGE: 31
HEIGHT: 5'9"
STATUS: Dates interior designer Brandi Briskman.

WHAT: He's reinventing the basic cotton T-shirt. Perse's tops "are like wearing nothing," says his friend, model Amber Valletta. "The fabric is so incredibly soft it's like being in your own skin."

WHY: It was time, he says, "to take what everyone thought of as a basic item and make it sexy."

WHERE: He just opened his own store in Los Angeles, but the tees are available at Henri Bendel, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and eluxury.com.

Perse lives in the Hollywood Hills with Georgia Peach, the mutt he "adopted" from Briskman. He likes "a classic cheese pizza" and says he's hooked on FOX's The O.C. He listens to classic rock. "James Taylor is my favorite," says Perse, who plays the piano and guitar himself.

Clay Aiken
GEEK TREAT

AGE 25
HEIGHT 6'1"
STATUS Single.

Gone are the sideburns, dorky glasses and half his eyebrows. His cowlick has been tamed by a flatiron—a gizmo the American Idol runner-up insists he'd "never heard of before." But the most surprising by-product of Aiken's extreme makeover? "Claymates," the throngs of adoring women who mail panties (mostly red and lacy) to him or throw them at the stage while he's performing. "I don't get it," he says. "I even had a lady take her bra off during the tour show and throw it at me." For the most part, though, the wholesome singer claims, "women want to take care of me like I'm a little boy. They want to make sure that I'm fed well."

Caleb Siemon
GLASSBLOWER

AGE 28
HEIGHT 6 ft.
STATUS Married.

WHAT His delicate glass bowls and vases are sold at Barney's and art galleries around the country for as much as $1,500. "The ultimate satisfaction," he says, his when someone can look at my glass work and want it in their home."

WHERE When Siemon leaves his Santa Ana, Calif., glassblowing studio, he retreats to the 1929 "beach shack" he shares with his wife, Carmen Salazar, 28, an architecture student. The couple have two cats. "We're not responsible enough yet to have a dog," he says.

WHAT ELSE Aptly, his identity is linked to his glasses. "I've worn glasses most of my life," he says. "I try to change the frames every year to keep things fresh."

Jet Li
ACTION HERO

AGE 40
HEIGHT 5'6"
STATUS Married.

He boasts the fastest fists since Bruce Lee, but this martial-arts master is happiest striking a more peaceful pose. "I like to stay at home with my family and study Buddhism," says the Beijing-born Li, who hits the meditation room at his San Gabriel Valley, Calif., estate when he isn't filming. He recently spent three months in the Far East learning more about his religion. "In Tibet I was not able to shower for two weeks," he says. "There was no hot running water. But while I was there, I was truly happy." Li is passionate about prayer beads. "I collect them from all over the world. Sometimes I feel guilty spending the money," he says of his rarer finds. "But I buy them anyway."

"When Jet smiles at you, you feel like you've won Olympic gold," says his Cradle 2 the Grave costar Gabrielle Union. "When you get a Jet Li smile, you've earned it."

Michael Vartan
SPY GUY

AGE 35
HEIGHT 6 ft.
STATUS Dates Jennifer Garner.

Do they live together? No. (He just bought his own two-bedroom home in L.A.) Until recently he and his Alias costar weren't even talking about their relationship. Lucky for her she didn't know him back when. "It's amazing how much better looking I've gotten since I've been on Alias," he says, jokingly. "I didn't have that many female fans when I was 19 years old and working as a waiter." He's still a bachelor as far as cooking is concerned. "I tend to buy foods that can be eaten on the spot," he says. "Like tuna salad. You just open the container, eat it and throw it away."

Hideki Matsui
MAJOR LEAGUER

AGE 29
HEIGHT 6'2"
STATUS Single.

Godzilla. The Babe Ruth of Japan. The Samurai of Swat. Call him what you like, the New York Yankees' $24 million man (over three years) won't mind. "He's very laid-back," says Roger Kahlon, who translated for Matsui during the season. The only pinstriper ever to debut in Yankee Stadium with a grand-slam homer, he set off a tsunami of Matsui Mania in April, with monster sales of No. 55 T-shirts and jerseys. A pro in Tokyo for 10 years, Matsui knows one surefire way to relax is "by taking hot baths, like in the hot springs." The currently single slugger is also a sucker for green-tea ice cream, but a better way to his heart might be through his locker. "It's a little sloppy," he says. "I need someone to clean it out. But I'm not the sloppiest on the team."

Elliot Goldenthal
MODERN-DAY MOZART

AGE 49
HEIGHT 5'10"
STATUS Lives with Frida director Julie Taymor.

WHO After composing the scores for such films as Alien 3 and Interview with the Vampire, Goldenthal won his first Oscar (he has four nominations) this year for Frida. He keeps it "next to a statue of Larry from The Three Stooges to remind me not to take anything too wrapped in praise to heart."

WHY He's sexy, says Taymor, because "he's masterful at creating extraordinary music, but he also tells really fantastic dirty jokes."

Goldenthal, who studied with legendary American composer Aaron Copland, has also written music for theatre productions and ballets. He's currently at work on an opera. His own taste in music?

"I abhor techno," he says. "I have enormous respect for rap. It's percussion riding on the waves of words"

Sanjay Gupta
CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT

AGE 34
HEIGHT 5'8"
STATUS Single.

He's really a doctor, not just a talking head. Sanjay Gupta performed brain surgery five times in Iraq last spring while embedded with U.S. troops. Closer to home, he operates Mondays and alternate Fridays at two Atlanta hospitals. "A recent study said that most doctors interrupt their patients within 11 seconds," he says. "I don't, I think I'm an emotional doctor. I'll sit right down next to them on the bed and talk."...At CNN he's known for sometimes taking his 75-lb. Weimaraner named Bosco to work.... Some of his fans call themselves Gupta Girls.... He lives dangerously by "driving too fast" in his Jaguar XK8.... How sexy is he? So sexy that he makes you forget he's reporting on the flu, SARS or pesticide levels in farmed salmon.

Nick Lachey
NEWLYWED

AGE 30
HEIGHT 5'11"
STATUS Married.

Never let it be said that Jessica Simpson doesn't appreciate her husband's many gifts. "His lips," she says, "are the sexiest thing. They're big and voluptuous." As for his smarts, "I can ask him any question, and he always knows the answer, or at least he convinces me he does." Lucky guy—as we know from watching Newlyweds, the couple's hit reality show on MTV, the honeymoon's not over. Still, there have been some changes, especially for Lachey. "I used to be a night person," he says. "But I like getting my day started and feeling that I'm not wasting half the day sleeping. Jessica—put it this way -- she never beats me out of bed." And he's getting the knack of housework. "I try to keep the laundry off the floor and keep the desk clear and put the dishes right in the dishwasher," he says. "If she cooks; I'll do all the dishes, that's my trade-off." What won't he give up for his wife? Solo gym time. "I like it better when I work out alone," he says. "When she works out with me, she's got E! News Live on. I work out in the afternoon when there's a game on."

Benjamin McKenzie
NEW KID

AGE 25
HEIGHT 5'9"
STATUS Single.

Somebody give this boy a decent compliment! "People always compliment me on how I'm not overly tall," he says. "Being really tall can be intimidating, and thankfully, I've never had that problem. Those tall leading men, they're a dime a dozen." What tall leading men is he talking about? Tom Cruise? Tobey Maguire? Colin Farrell? Don't think so. Forgive McKenzie, who has been compared to the 5'11½" Russell Crowe (now that's a compliment), if he has misjudged others. The star of FOX's runaway hit The O.C. is new in Hollywood. He's from Austin via the University of Virginia. ("What makes Ben so attractive is that he's so intelligent," says his O.C. costar Mischa Barton.) "There's a unique shortness to me that people seem to like," McKenzie says. "I'm just the right height." Maybe, but his profile is definitely rising.

Seann William Scott
PIE GUY

AGE 27
HEIGHT 5'11"
STATUS Single.

The star of raunchy teen comedies like Road Trip, Dude, Where's My Car?, American Pie 1 and 2 and American Wedding wants to set the record straight. Seann William Scott is the polar opposite of the characters he plays.
"I don't do drugs or alcohol," he says. "I don't party. I don't watch porn. And I don't date in Hollywood—ever." Which is a terrible waste of costars like Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid. That leaves an awful lot of time for boxing, jumping rope and running six miles a day through the hills near his Los Angeles home. "I've been training since seventh grade," he says. Some more don'ts? "I don't eat. I never really have an appetite.... I don't really like to wear underwear—is that gross?" Is he thinking what we're thinking? He is! "I'm always the guy that is just kind of weird."

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