Correspondents' Dinner Guests Who Had Tongues Wagging

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Poor Michael Kelly. The late columnist and Atlantic Monthly editor always gets the blame for transforming the historically insider-clubby White House Correspondents' Association dinner 20 years ago by bringing Iran-contra It Girl Fawn Hall -- which, legend has it, started the celebrity-guest arms race among the media types who populate the affair. But at least Hall was a bona fide D.C. newsmaker, as was 1988 attendee Donna Rice, the woman who sank the Gary Hart campaign. No, the true responsibility lies with the Clintons: Not until '93 did the dinner start drawing busloads of infatuated Hollywood types. Add the draw of Vanity Fair's glamorous after-party, and the night grew to its current surreal form: yet another pit stop on the Red Carpet Highway. Based on the warm welcome or cold shoulder they received, here's our ranking of VIP guests over the years:

1987 -- Fawn Hall

1988 -- Donna Rice

1990 -- Marla Maples

1993 -- Barbra Streisand

1996 -- Kevin Costner

1997 -- Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche

1998 -- Paula Jones

1999 -- Larry Flynt

2000 -- Cast of "The West Wing"

2002 -- Ozzy Osbourne

2004 -- Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul


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