A Star Is Born

Strange things happen when actors sing

In the wake of Jamie Foxx's Billboard-chart-topping Unpredictable and Sex and the City hunk John Corbett's solo album, it's easy to forget where the actor-turned-singer phenomenon truly began: Jack freakin' Wagner! Here, we pit him against the poseurs.

Jack Wagner

Choice acting gig: Melrose Place (Dr. Peter Burns)

Music: Solo artist, four albums

eBay value:Lighting Up the Night (import CD), $110

Wagnerism: Originally tied to his General Hospital band, Riff Raff, Wagner broke free with that consummate '80s hit single "All I Need."

Robert Downey Jr.

Choice acting gig: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Harry Lockhart)

Music: Solo artist, one album

eBay value:The Futurist (CD), $5

Wagnerism: Between his liberal replacement of s's with z's ("Little Clownz") and his Phil Collins-ish emoting, we gotta wonder if dude's been speedballin' again.

Jared Leto

Choice acting gig: My So-Called Life (Jordan Catalano)

Music: Vocals and guitar, 30 Seconds to Mars, two albums

eBay value:A Beautiful Lie (CD), $11.26

Wagnerism: Maybe if Jordan Catalano had fronted this cookie-cutter distortion band at Liberty High, Angela would have fallen for Brian Krakow instead.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Choice acting gig: Party of Five (Sarah Reeves)

Music: Solo artist, four albums

eBay value: Barenaked (CD), $5.72

Wagnerism: Why bother ripping on her nasal voice when there are lyrics like this: "There were lasers and computers and living in space/ The '90s kids' dream is for the whole human race/ My dream for the '90s/ We'll make it come true/ This world will be a better place/ For me and you."

Billy Bob Thornton

Choice acting gig: Bad Santa (Willie)

Music: Solo artist, three albums

eBay value: Hobo (CD), $7.54

Wagnerism: Sounds just like Tom Waits -- although we're not sure that's a compliment when you're notTom Waits.

John Corbett

Choice acting gig: Sex and the City (Aidan Shaw)

Music: Solo country artist, two albums

eBay value:"Ain't No Trouble to Me" (MP3), 99 cents

Wagnerism: For the first time ever, we're OK with Carrie dumping this Toby Keith disciple.

Marla Sokoloff

Choice acting gig: Full House (Gia Mahan)

Music: Solo artist, MySpace (www.myspace.com/marlasokoloff)

eBay value:N/A

Wagnerism: We've believed in this girl's musical talents since she and Stephanie formed the band Girl Talk and played Ace of Base at the talent show.

William Shatner

Choice acting gig: Star Trek (Capt. Kirk)

Music: Solo artist, two albums

eBay value:Has Been (CD), $12.34

Wagnerism: None! Shatner is the shit-ner!

Juliette Lewis

Choice acting gig: Natural Born Killers (Mallory Knox)

Music: Singer, Juliette & the Licks, two albums

eBay value:You're Speaking My Language (CD), $3.54

Wagnerism: She tries so desperately to be hard-core like Joan Jett or Karen O. But it's, like, hey, remember when she guest-starred on The Wonder Years?

Eddie Murphy

Choice acting gig: Coming to America (Prince Akeem)

Music: Solo artist, three albums

eBay value:How Could It Be (CD), $36.01

Wagnerism: My. Girl. Wants. To. Party all the time! Party all the ti-i-ime!

Minnie Driver

Choice acting gig: Good Will Hunting (Skylar)

Music: Solo artist, one album

eBay value:Everything I've Got in My Pocket (CD), $11

Wagnerism: Once, our brother thought he was going to see a band called Minnie Driver, but then it was actually Minnie Driver. He was refused a refund.

Patrick Swayze

Choice acting gig: Dirty Dancing (Johnny Castle)

Music: Solo artist, three songs

eBay value:"She's Like the Wind" (7-inch), $1.76

Wagnerism: With a single like this, no wonder his murderer in Ghost took him for a cream puff.

 
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