Alec Baldwin Has 'Headlock on Our Affections'

He's hugely popular, so why is he talking retirement?
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2010 2:47 PM CST
Alec Baldwin Has 'Headlock on Our Affections'
Alec Baldwin poses backstage with the award for actor in a comedy series at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

In an odd bit of timing given today's news of Alec Baldwin's hospitalization, the new issue of Vanity Fair has an essay wondering how he's managed to "achieve this bizarre headlock on our affections." He's everywhere, on every medium—30 Rock and the Oscar buzz for It's Complicated being merely the most high-profile examples. "It’s as if he secretly adopted us, or we adopted him; either way, say hello to your new daddy," writes James Wolcott. "Open any door and there he is, welcoming himself in."

In his personal life, Baldwin is "a veteran combatant in the fine art of acrimony" and "the bruised mascot for the male midlife crisis," but he's "managed to entice everybody into his corner without going soft or sweet." Professionally, "he can hold his own with anyone on-screen." So why is he talking about retiring? True, he doesn't have that one defining movie and he's got plenty to keep him happily busy elsewhere. "But I can’t help but think that if he gets the chance to work with Meryl Streep again he won’t say no," writes Wolcott. "That would be like turning down dessert, and he’s a cat who can’t resist cream." (Read more Alec Baldwin stories.)

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