White House Correspondents’ dinner: An early look at celebrity guests

April 10, 2013

Getting ready to do some star-sighting during the White House Correspondents’ dinner weekend? Good luck. Media organizations are already touting the celebrities who have agreed to be their guests at the April 27 dinner with the president (and 3,000 others); this photo gallery shows you some of the names already leaking out.

But before you grab your autograph book and binoculars, you should know, as we warned last year:

(1) more than a few advertised stars will be no-shows come Saturday; (2) other stars will show up completely out of the blue with no advance hype; and (3) many will get completely lost in the crowd, with barely a red-carpet photo to document their presence.

 

Justin Mikita, Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mila Kunis and Wolf Blitzer at the 2011 WHCA dinner. (Larry Busacca/Getty for Time Warner )

Do some of these names seem, hmmm, familiar? Indeed! Seems that folks Elizabeth Banks and the cast of “Modern Family” have been granted a lifetime pass to the WHCA dinner. Why is that? As we noted last year:

Media organizations seem to gravitate toward safer picks — actors from hit shows (“30 Rock,” “Modern Family,” etc.) popular with, well, middle-aged media types; stars (like Legend, Clooney, Dawson) attached to do-gooder causes — all the better to impress the corporate honchos and politicians sharing the tables. Julie Mason, a longtime WHCA board member, told us that some news bosses will spot a favorite star at someone else’s table and then track them down the following year for their own. But it’s clear, too, that as the dinner has become a hotter ticket, celebrities are more than willing to return.

Two years ago, we demanded that media organizations explain why, exactly, they invited certain stars. The best answer came from Susan Page of USA Today, explaining why she’d be sitting alongside folks like David Arquette at the annual media-political shindig: “We think they really add some sparkle.” That’s honest, anyway!


Lohan with John Coale (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Last year’s VIP guest voted Most Likely to be a No Show — Lindsay Lohan — surprised and delighted fans by actually making it to town. Though submitted to the petting-zoo-like atmosphere that plagues celebrities at this meal, she seemed, frankly, to have a lousy time.

The mobs that pressed in around her dinner table, pointing and staring and analyzing from just a few feet away, like with a zoo animal. Her host, Greta Van Susteren, an experienced veteran of these dinners, seemed to be whispering some words of reassurance to the clearly unnerved starlet.

 

(Guest lists from USA Today, WWD, Hollywood Reporter, Reuters)

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David Gregory throws a fit over parking at D.C. Design House
Chef Sam Kass among furloughed White House staff
Michelle Obama’s bangs: Are their days numbered? See how they grow (photos)
Update: Carlos Allen, the other White House crasher, is also in the music business now

 

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Amy Argetsinger | April 10, 2013