the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything…

is, of course, 42, as anyone familiar with Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series knows. It’s a nice coincidence that I was 42 when the film version of Hitchhiker was released this year. It’s a number I’ve been seeing fairly often, recently, and indeed I had started to draft this entry back when I still had just 42 days left of being 42, but as I didn’t complete and post it at the time, there’s now only a little more than a month until I turn 43 at the end of July.

One reason I’ve seen and heard the number so often recently is because of the ubiquity in the news of a Mr. Tom Cruise, 42, of Hollywood. That realization got me to wondering who else is 42. In addition to Tom Cruise (who will also turn 43 next month, 28 days before I do), the list of those of us born in the latter half of 1962 or the first half of 1963 includes rather an attractive and talented lot. I’m in great company here.

Among the males, for example, there’s:

  • Bill Brochtrup;
  • Farscape and Stargate‘s incredibly yummy Ben Browder;
  • Sean Connery’s son, Jason Connery;
  • the sexy plumber from Desperate Housewives, James Denton;
  • People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” Johnny Depp (and also his 21 Jump Street co-star, Dustin Nguyen);
  • the dashing Cary Elwes;
  • and his equally dashing countryman Ralph Fiennes;
  • Kid in the Hall Dave Foley;
  • string theorist (and Harvard classmate) Brian Greene;
  • John Michael Higgins, of mockumentaries Best in Show and A Mighty Wind;
  • Dominic Keating, of the recently cancelled Star Trek: Enterprise;
  • two Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea and Anthony Kiedis;
  • Greg Kinnear;
  • notoriously well-endowed Tommy Lee;
  • Jet Li;
  • Andrew McCarthy, brat pack star of St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink and Weekend at Bernie’s;
  • Buffy’s pal Spike, James Marsters;
  • Strictly Ballroom‘s Paul Mercurio;
  • John Cameron Mitchell;
  • cutie Rob Morrow, from the quirky Northern Exposure;
  • Mike Myers, oh, behave;
  • another Harvard classmate, Conan O’Brien;
  • Survivor host Jeff Probst;
  • 1992 Playgirl “Man of the Year” Dirk Shafer;
  • Wesley Snipes, born the same day as me;
  • Oscar-winning Director Steven Soderbergh;
  • The Daily Show‘s funny and handsome anchor, Jon Stewart;
  • Quentin Tarantino;
  • B.D. Wong;
  • athletes Charles Barkley, Roger Clemens, Doug Flutie, Evander Holyfield, and Michael Jordan;
  • and not a few porn stars, including Colton Ford, Jon King, Jon Vincent and Jeff “Powertool” Stryker.

And, among the women:

  • funny girl Joan Cusack;
  • Cruise’s hooker Lana in Risky Business, Rebecca De Mornay;
  • fellow Ivy Leaguer (and if the rumors are true, that’s not all she and I have in common) Jodie Foster;
  • diva Denyce Graves;
  • one of James Denton’s co-stars on Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman;
  • perennial Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kathy Ireland;
  • supermodel Elle Macpherson;
  • Deep Space Nine‘s sexiest Bajoran, Chase Masterson;
  • just like me, with her own 28-year-old boyfriend, Demi Moore;
  • Nancy O’Dell;
  • Mrs. John Travolta, Kelly Preston;
  • Natasha Richardson;
  • Laura San Giacomo;
  • Rob Morrow’s Northern Exposure co-star Janine Turner;
  • Nia Vardalos;
  • Vanessa Williams;
  • and sexy Bond girl and Crouching Tiger heroine Michelle Yeoh.

Jim Carrey, Jon Bon Jovi and Matthew Broderick are other famous 1962ers, but with birthdays in January (Carrey) and March (Bon Jovi and Broderick), they’re already 43, as are Sheryl Crow, Rosie O’Donnell and yet another Desperate Housewives co-star, Marcia Cross, born in February (Crow) and March (O’Donnell and Cross). Grant Show, also on Desperate Housewives, was born in February, 1962; that show seems to have a very strong 1962 connection.