Feature: Top 20 Celebrity Photos of 2018, by Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com

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Star15. Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Since he was promoting a film called “Slice,” all we are saying is give Chance a piece.

Chancellor Jonathan Bennett – AKA Chance the Rapper – was once suspended from Chicago’s Jones College Prep in 2011, and used the length of that suspension as the title for his first mixtape, “10 Days.” It was the first step of a journey that would eventually propel him to fame. “Acid Rap” followed in 2013, which would get him booked into Lollapalooza. By 2016, he had appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” and was collaborating with Kanye West. The following year, he was performing on the Grammys and winning three for himself. His appearance at 2017 Lollapalooza broke the festival’s attendance record for any act.

His father, Ken Williams Bennett (who worked as an aid to former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and then Senator Barack Obama), had installed in Chance a strong sense of community responsibility as he was growing up. He proved to be the real deal, and a political force to be reckoned with, when he famously cut a check for a million dollars to support the Chicago Public School system, and his endorsement of Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia made headline news.

While many rappers have become famous for paying lip service to fighting the power, Chance has put his money where his mouth is. His progressive activism and charity work, both in combating gun violence and supporting “My Brothers Keeper” (an urban mentoring program), is almost tireless. I photographed him at the September premiere of “Slice,” his first feature film debut. His role was that of a werewolf pizza deliveryman, and he gave me one howling good portrait the night of the premiere.

LOCATION/DATE: Arclight Cinemas Red Carpet, Chicago, September of 2018.

Star14. Lecy Goranson, ‘Becky’ on THE CONNORS

Alicia ‘Lecy’ Goranson of ‘The Connors’
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Roseanne Connor may be dead and gone, but her onscreen daughter Becky – portrayed by Alicia “Lecy” Goranson of Evanston, Illinois – is carrying on with the rosy glow of a new life. After five seasons in the original run of “Roseanne” … she famously rotated in and out of the Becky role (with actress Sarah Chalke) to attend college at Vassar… her mother (an Evanston teacher) had instilled in her daughter the importance of higher education. When I photographed the sitcom star the night before the rebooted “Roseanne” premiere, she was basking in the light of new possibilities. She was at home being honored by the Chicago International Television Festival along with Roseanne writer and executive producer Bruce Helford, who is also a native Chicagoan.

In the updated series, Roseanne Conner was a fervent Trump supporter, which was exactly like the real Roseanne off camera. This became a plot line as Roseanne’s character clashed with other family members, most notably her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), who is a liberal democrat. On May 29th, Roseanne mirrored the man she so admired, and tweeted out a horribly racist attack against Valerie Jarrett (President Obama’s former African American senior advisor). It was the tweet heard around the world. As soon as Goranson saw it, she immediately texted her series co-star Sara Gilbert, “We’re Screwed.” The response was almost immediate… ABC-TV pulled the plug on the show. Rosesanne had single handedly flat lined her hit show, got dropped by her management representation and most likely permanently damaged her future ability to work in the industry.

A rebooted series concept, “The Connors.” returned five months later with Roseanne’s character killed off with an opioid overdose, and Lecy Goranson has once again returned to the role she originated. Her character Becky is now pregnant on “The Connors,” and next season it will be determined if she decides to keep the new potential family member. It’s been a helluva roller coaster ride lately for Lecy Goranson, but out with the old and in with the new. Like everything else families evolve, even on sitcoms.

LOCATION/DATE: Chicago International Television Festival Red Carpet, March of 2018.

Star13. Tiffani Thiessen of DINNER AT TIFFANI’S

Tiffani Thiessen, Still Cooking
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

She put the “Pow” in Kelly Kapowski, and while Zack Morris may have – in retrospect – may indeed had been trash, Tiffani Thiessen still continues serving up something scrumptious for the camera. From Miss Junior America to then the Covergirl Magazine’s Model of the Year, in the same year (1989) that “Saved by the Bell premiered, Thiessen became the all-American fantasy girl for a whole generation of Saturday morning viewers. The show ran four years, plus an additional season of the college years, and produced two prime time movies… one film set in Hawaii during summer break and the infamous Vegas Wedding film where she was placed in permanent detention, shackled in unholy matrimony as Mrs. Zack Morris.

When that class was finally dismissed, Thiessen would graduate to racier fare as a vixen on “Beverly Hills 90210.” From there she would continue working steadily in the series “Fastlane” and “White Collar” between the occasional big screen roles. In 2015 she would move to The Cooking Channel, preparing meals for her celebrity friends in “Dinner at Tiffani’s.” Naturally a companion cookbook, “Pull Up a Chair,” was released. I would have happily pulled up a bed of nails to finally photograph her, and in October I finally got the chance. From Bayside High to Netflix’s “Alexa and Kate” (as a hot mom), Tiffani Thiessen’s career continues to cook quite deliciously.

LOCATION/DATE: Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, Illinois), October of 2018.

Star12. Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard of ‘Empire’
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Terrence Howard just may be a genius, and he’d no doubt be the first to say it to your face. Like many brilliant artists, he has been described as temperamental, eccentric and often times volatile… both onscreen and off. From his first role portraying Jackie Jackson in the ABC mini-series “The Jacksons,” to his current blockbuster starring role on ”Empire,” Howard has always been an actor whose every performance instantly commands your attention. Whether he is rapping on an Oscar winning theme song, remarrying two of his three ex-wives or single handedly rewriting the laws of mathematics, Howard is like a pit bull that just doesn’t let go. Maybe it’s that very commitment to hammering home his personal truth that makes him so exceptional at his craft.

The actor is often no picnic to work with or photograph. He almost always insists on the inclusion of his significant other at red carpet photo ops or during public appearances. Getting a good solo shot is now no easy task and has become something of a bragging right for a photographer. With a little strategic positioning and just the right lens, I managed to beat the odds and capture the shot… Pit Bull meets Bloodhound.

LOCATION/DATE: Chicago International Film Festival Event Red Carpet, July of 2018.

Star11. Sean Hayes of WILL & GRACE

Sean Hayes of ‘Will & Grace’
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Sean Hayes (A Poem)

Jack is back through 20-19
‘Will & Grace’ is the place
Where McFarland is Queen
Of comedy ratings at NBC
Still perfect casting chemistry.

Yup, Sean Hayes wrote a fairy tale
Just in time for Christmas
So it couldn’t fail
A Plum little project with his husband Scott
So he posed for my lens… This is what I got.

LOCATION/DATE: Anderson’s Bookshop, November of 2018.

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