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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Rupert Everett (main picture), with ROD STEWART, VIVIEN LEIGH, MARION JONES and RICKY GERVAIS

. Rupert Everett

Rupert Everett's serialised memoirs include the revelation that he conducted a six-year affair with the late Paula Yates - the latest twist in the actor's extraordinary life.

"Fame or infamy, what does it matter?" says Guy Bennett, Rupert Everett's character in Another Country. "I shan't be forgotten." The line could serve as a motto for the actor's whole existence.

Everett's career has witnessed great highs, toe-curling lows, scandal, shame and much humour.

His many battle honours include a hilarious cameo as the bloated, decadent and politically-sly Prince of Wales in The Madness of King George.

There were also agreeable reviews for tailor-made roles in two Oscar Wilde film adaptations, Algy in The Importance of Being Earnest and Lord Arthur Goring in An Ideal Husband.

He flickered briefly and enigmatically as the doomed Christopher Marlowe in Shakespeare in Love, charmed Hollywood as Julia Roberts's gay sidekick in the paper-thin My Best Friend's Wedding.

Rupert Everett
Model actor: Rupert Everett
And he resisted the urge to remove his name from the credits of Hearts of Fire and Dunstan Checks In, two films which could only ever aspire to the heights of "turkey".

But it was Rupert Everett's brilliant, shimmering, performance in the 1984 big screen version of Adrian Mitchell's West End hit, Another Country, which looks, with hindsight like a caricature of most of his subsequent appearances.

Quintessentially English, public school-educated, cheerfully rebellious, relaxed with his homosexuality, Guy Bennett - a fictional version of the diplomat and Soviet agent, Guy Burgess - was a mirror image of the actor. Everett blew the rest of the cast, including his co-star Colin Firth, off the screen.

Rupert James Hector Everett - born 1960 and schooled by Benedictine monks at Ampleforth College - has more strings to his bow than your average Hollywood star.

Tall and classically good-looking, he's been a male model and a rent boy, is an accomplished pianist and fluent French and Italian speaker, writes for Vanity Fair and claims to have only ever truly loved his late black Labrador, Moise.

Friends with Madge

But, in a profession where the Hollywood pedestal marked "Englishman" has already been taken by Hugh Grant, Everett has often struggled to compete.

Some of his career moves, including his risible pop single Generation of Loneliness and a note to a disgruntled audience member - "Please accept my heartfelt apologies and this bunch of my pubic hair in the hope that it will make up for any inconvenience" - have been less than wise.

And what might have been? Orson Welles hand-picked a young Everett to star in a film of the life of the Citizen Kane director but, as with most movie ideas, it came to nought, leaving the actor out of work and miserable.

Then there was The One That Got Away. The role of the bookish snob Cecil Vyse in The Merchant Ivory production of EM Forster's A Room with a View was Everett's for the taking - until he turned it down, and was succeeded by one Daniel Day-Lewis.

Everett as Charles I in Cromwell and Fairfax
On the block: Everett as Charles I in Cromwell and Fairfax
And it's not that he hasn't influential friends. Madonna, whom he persuaded, for good or ill, to re-record American Pie, is an old mucker, as is Julia Roberts.

Roles, like his voice-over as Prince Charming in the Shrek animations, have brought him great wealth, while doing little to advance his reputation.

Currently single, he lives a gypsy lifestyle, flitting between his properties in London, Europe and the United States.

Rupert Everett's inspiration as an actor was Montgomery Clift. A tortured, guilt-ridden bi-sexual, Clift was a mercurial performer, shining in films like From Here to Eternity and Judgement at Nuremberg before descending into drink and drug dependence before dying aged just 45.

While in no way comparable to his troubled idol, Everett, who once quipped, "It is an infringement of my civil rights that I was not James Bond," seems to be still waiting for the defining role of his career.

Outburst: Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart

Wrinkly rocker, Rod Stewart, publicly chided the television presenter Russell Brand at the GQ Awards for saying he'd slept with Stewart's daughter. Collecting an award for outstanding achievement, Stewart challenged Brand to swear on a holy oath that this really had happened - and warned Brand that if he couldn't swear it was true, he shouldn't make such claims.

Vivien Leigh: Poll-topping beauty
Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh topped a poll of the greatest British beauties of all time. The Oscar-winning Gone with the Wind actress, who died in 1967, beat both Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. Dame Elizabeth Taylor, born in Britain to American parents, came second, with the former Darling Buds of May actress Catherine Zeta Jones in third place and Diana, Princess of Wales, coming fourth.

Test boost: Marion Jones
Marion Jones

The American Olympic champion sprinter, Marion Jones has been cleared of taking performance enhancing drugs. The first sample had tested positive but a second proved negative. Jones, who had faced a two-year ban, said she was "ecstatic" at the outcome, adding: "I have always maintained that I have never ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, and I am pleased that a scientific process has now demonstrated that fact."

Ricky Gervais: Serious side?
Ricky Gervais

Comedian Ricky Gervais says he would like to try his hand at darker TV drama, taking as his inspiration shows like The Sopranos. The Office star said he and writing partner Stephen Merchant want to try "something more dramatic". He added: "All the things we like at the moment are coming out of America. There are things like The Sopranos, 24 and The Wire. These are things that we just cannot do... or anything close to it."

Written by BBC News Profiles Unit's Andrew Walker

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