1992 People To Watch

January 01, 1992|By Mary Corey

All right, so last year the country was in one gigantic bad mood. The good news is it's over. It's 1992, and anything's possible. Economic prosperity, peace, a cure for cellulite. To get the next 365 days started on a bright note, here are 10 up-and-comers with lots going for them. Chances are, they're going to have a banner year. Maybe we will too . . .

1. Shanice. With a five-octave range and a face like Janet Jackson's, how can she miss? Motown's newest vocal wonder, she's likely to leave other R&B divas eating her dust as she climbs the charts. Her second album, "Inner Child," proves it pays to never grow up.

2. Tim Allen. He's proof that a man who knows a screwdriver from a monkeywrench is a valuable thing, indeed. It helps that the "Home Improvement" star has a sense of humor, a few cave-man antics and the one true hit of the season.

3. Sandman. Move over, Spiderman. The mythic lord of dreams -- along with his siblings, death, destruction, and despair -- is taking the comic book market by storm. Annoy him, and he turns into your worst nightmare. Literally.

4. Dan O'Brien. America's best hope to end the decades-long decathlon slump, this University of Idaho student has already shattered Bruce Jenner's U.S. record and come within points of setting a new one for the world. Could he be the best all-around athlete ever?

5. Nicole Miller. In an age where asking "how much?" has become fashionable, it's a relief to know we don't have to sell the house to afford her designs. With witty prints and up-to-the-minute silhouettes, she keeps the budget-conscious turned out in style. Even straight-laced businessmen are daring to don her trademark ties.

6. John Grisham. "The Firm," his page-turner about a Harvard Law grad, proved that this one-time lawyer knows how to make the spine tingle. Hollywood has already discovered him: Paramount bought the rights to the best-seller, and director Alan J. Pakula has nabbed them for his next book, "The Pelican Brief," due out in March.

7. Mariel Hemingway. With her new TV drama, "Civil Wars," the 30-year-old actress has jump-started a stalled career. As the tough-but-tender divorce lawyer, Sydney Guilford, she shows us Arnie Becker never could) that breaking up, while profitable, isn't pretty.

8. Juliette Lewis. In "Cape Fear," she gave new meaning to the idea of thumb-sucking in the school auditorium. Composed amid industry greats like Robert De Niro, the pouty ingenue now finds herself in the company of another: Woody Allen just signed her for his latest.

9. Kimora Perkins. Sixteen is indeed sweet for this high school student from St. Louis. With her ebony eyes and sleek 6-foot frame, she's become the youngest model in Chanel's history. Isaac Mizrahi and Geoffrey Beene also call her a runway darling. Do we smell a supermodel in the making?

10. Spike Lee. Even before the filming of "Malcolm X" began, the outspoken director found himself embroiled in controversy again: Could he do justice to the life of the black activist? The public will decide for itself, but this much is certain: He's already helped introduce the slain leader to a generation sorely in need of heroes.

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