The Most Interesting Person in Chicago

Who's your choice for most interesting Chicagoan?

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    What a year 2010 turned out to be.

    Newsmakers couldn't help but make news, sports stars shined brighter than ever and Illinois politics were deep and dysfunctional.

    Throughout the year, some interesting characters emerged. Some of them you know, some of them you don't.

    We're here to help you navigate.

    Beginning on Dec. 1, we'll offer up one of 30 candidates for "Most Interesting Person in Chicago" to our Facebook fans and ask for their feedback on the selection.

    NBCChicago editors will track the data and keep a list of who receives the most "Likes" on the social networking site.

    After the New Year we'll deliver the goods on your choice for the most interesting person in the world with a profile on NBCChicago.com.

    Following is a running list of nominees: 

    DEC 1. -- Joakim Noah has an unorthodox shot, crazy hair and an outsized personality. But he's also got a bright future. The 6' 11" Bulls center is the son of a tennis star and French singer, and he just signed a $60 million with the team. Noah is considered a centerpeice of a talented team that could contend for an Eastern conference title, and his charisma makes him a team and city leader. -- 13 LIKES

     

    DEC 2. -- Scott Lee Cohen:  What's not to love?  The affable Chicago pawnshop owner won the nomination for Lt. Governor, withdrew, then lost the general election for Governor. Along the way he charmed the pants off everyone he could, grabbed 8 percent of the vote and made people forget he was once accused domestic violence. He may not be governor material, but he could be the most interesting person in Chicago. -- 9 LIKES

     

    DEC 3. -- Maggie Daley, Chicago's first lady and figurative matriarch, has battled metastatic cancer since 2002. While her health has slipped her devotion to the city has not. Be it in a wheel chair, on crutches or on her own two feet, Mrs. Daley managed to attend a number of events for her pet cause, After School Matters. She always fills the room with warmth and sophistication --- and her support of the arts has played a significant role in this city's beautification. -- 71 LIKES

     

    DEC. 4 -- Jesse Jackson Jr. should have been a mayoral contender. Then, the bottom fell out of his barrel of good will. He was subject to an ethics investigation that was postponed for federal prosecutors who planned to tie him to Rod Blagojevich. Soon after details of his involvement in political scheming came out in the trial, Jr. challenged anyone to find dirt on him. Then news of an extramarital affair broke. He may not be popular, but his recent travails sure make him interesting. -- 4 LIKES

    DEC 5. -- Deborah Mell has been fighting to marry her longtime girlfriend, Christin Miller, in Illinois for years. In April, the pair stood in the General Assembly and announced their engagement, and plans to tie the knot in neighboring Iowa. Her push for gay marriage rights finally paid off when both state houses passed a civil unions bill last week. Mell's refusal to back down sure makes her interesting. --- 31 LIKES



    DEC. 6 -- Ron Santo, the beloved Cubs broadcaster, was more than just a enthusiastic baseball announcer. The nine-time all-star third baseman played his entire career with diabetes, and worked for his whole life to raise money for a cure to juvenille diabetes. He never made it to the Hall of Fame, despite worthy stats. But he remained a cheery, ambassador for the game.  -- 117 LIKES
     

     

    DEC. 7 -- Sam Adam Jr., the firebrand defense attorney who sermonized the his way through a landmark corruption trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, must be considered among Chicago's most interesting people. He managed to talk his way to a virtual stalemate with U.S. Attorneys, and secured Blagojevich a hung jury on all but one count. The lawyer, who teamed with his father, has now stepped down from the case, but his reputation has stepped up.  -- 10 LIKES
     

    DEC 8 -- Andrew Mason: The Chicago-based creator of the coupon site, Groupon, just rejected a rumored multibillion offer from Google in order to remain independent. His daily deal site is the talk of the town, and Pat Quinn mentioned the company numerous times on the campaign trail. -- 47 LIKES

    DEC 9 -- Kate McGroarty: This 24-year-old from Minnesota lived in the Museum of Science and Industry for an entire month. That alone makes her interesting. The museum tenant held plenty of jobs in her time; teacher, actor, blogger. She's probably the only person you know who's jogged around a simulated tornado at 2 a.m. -- 31 LIKES

    DEC 10 -- Evan Lysacek won it all. The Gold Medal figure skater thrilled crowds in Vancouver this year when he took home the coveteted title. He intrigued them when he was romantically linked with Nastia Luikin, and he entertained them when he joined up with "Dancing With the Stars. -- 38 LIKES

    DEC 11 -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan is perhaps the most dangerous politician in Illinois. Her name appears regularly at the top of the list for prestigious potentials, yet she passed on running for governor, senator and mayor. When will the scion of powerful Speaker of the House Michael Madigan make her move -- if ever? -- 35 LIKES

    DEC 12 -- Lovie Smith should have been fired by now, according to preseason prognosticators. But the stoic head coach of the Chicago Bears has his team poised for the playoffs after a stunning start. How did this man from Texas hang on to his poise and manage to re-earn respect among Chicago fans? -- 47 LIKES

    DEC 13 -- Grant Achatz is the proprietor of Alinea - and shot into the stratosphere of world class chefs in 2010. Achatz restaurant grabbed a top-10 spot in the S. Pelligrino world restaurant rankings, and became one of two restaurants in Chicago to receive three Michelin Stars. He's about to open "Next Restaurant" and make a whole new splash. What's next for this food prodigy? -- 13 LIKES

    DEC 14 -- Esperanza Medina was horribly disfigured in 2008 when a woman threw acid on her face. Rather than hide in the shadows, Medina decided to show her face proudly and advocate for more stringent regulation of caustic materials. This summer Medina testified in the trial of her attacker and showed bravery in facing her attacker, shortly after she told her story before city council in hopes of enacting new legislation. -- 47 LIKES

    DEC 15 -- Desiree Rogers was on top of the world. The fashionista had the White House job, the prestige and a standing ticket to just about every social event available. Then her world crashed when a couple of neer-do-wells invaded her party. Rogers quit, moved back to Chicago and began working on her resurgence. Now she's the CEO of Johnson Publishing and again flying high. How does Ms. Rogers do it? -- 12 LIKES

    DEC 16 -- Patrick Kane has more than a just a nice slapshot. He's got charisma and chutzpa to spare. The young 'Hawks winger owns the keys to the city, but some say he's an out-of-control party boy. The future is bright for this millionaire winger, will he craft his career the correct way, or flame out like so many before him. -- 34 LIKES

    DEC 17 -- Patti Blagojevich never held office, never received an indictment and isn't likely to go to jail. But she's been at the center of this state's most famous corruption case in decades -- which, for Illinois, is saying a lot. The daughter of powerful alderman Dick Mell, Patti Blagojevich is the down-to-earth counterpart to Rod, the former clown governor. How has she managed to stay around it, but out of it? -- 8 LIKES

    DEC 18 -- Oprah Winfrey Never heard of her, right? Perhaps one of Chicago's most famous citizens, she's been a part of the local landscape since 1983. Recently, she's closed down Michigan Avenue and was revealed to have been considered for an appointment to Senator by for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But after 25 years with the daytime talk show that bears her name, the medial mogul is in the sunset of her days in the Windy City. Will you miss her when she heads to Los Angeles to launch OWN, her own network? If so, hit the "Like" button. -- 28 LIKES

     

    Dec. 19 -- Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.  The two-term Cook County sheriff got national attention, and the gratitude of the down-and-out, when he put a moratorium on enforcing evictions during the recession. And he was a much-talked-about possibility for Chicago mayor until he withdrew, saying he had to put his young children first. His work on behalf of other kids even won him recognition by the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative. Think he’s got what it takes to be Chicago’s most interesting person? -- 16 LIKES

    DEC 20 -- Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz took over a struggling team from his late father. Rather than continue the losing traditions set forth by his progenitor, Wirtz bucked the family plans and righted the ship. He brought legendary 'Hawks back into the organization, spent money on marketing and on players and ended up bringing home Chicago's first Stanley Cup since 1961. -- 37 LIKES

     

    DEC 21 -- Toni Preckwinkle managed her independent label to success. The former alderman just became the first woman elected to Cook County Board President based largely on her appeal as a Daley antagonist. She's assumed office and already started cleaning house. But does she have the staying power to remain a popular politician in Chicago's volatile market? -- 25 LIKES

    DEC 22 -- Patrick Fitzgerald is among the country's top cops. He's prosecuted two former governors, tried to eradicate organized crime in Chicago and he consistently brings in colossal drug busts. But the U.S. Attorney isn't without flaws. His crack prosecution team essentially lost the case against Blagojevich and many say he might have stayed in the city too long. -- 16 LIKES

    DEC 23 -- Vince Vaughn is an actor, producer and writer who has never strayed far from his Chicago roots even though he made it big in Tinseltown. This year Vaughn skydived at the Air and Water show, was married, and is raising his new daughter. He keeps the city’s film economy rolling, insisting on many of his recent movies to be filmed in the Windy City. -- 38 LIKES

    DEC 24 -- David Schwimmer, a Northwestern alum, got his big break came when he landed the role of “Ross” on the hit ‘90s sitcom Friends, but the Emmy winner never lost touch with Chicago. He co-founded the Lookingglass Theater Company, where he has acted in and directed many productions. And now he and his wife are expecting a baby. -- 17 LIKES

    DEC 25 -- Laura Ricketts, younger sister of Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and member of the board, is the first and only openly gay owner of a professional sports team. The lawyer and gay rights activist for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund is a trailblazer in the field of professional sports, where openly gay individuals -- from players to coaches to owners -- are rare. -- 9 LIKES

    DEC 26 -- Richard M. Daley, for those who don’t know, is the mayor of Chicago. Today he surpassed his father for time in office. Throughout his six terms as the head of the city Daley has made the downtown beautiful and invested in arts and culture. But he’s also made some suspect financial decision for the city. His decision to step away from office was a shocking one that threw the city into a tizzy. -- 37 LIKES

    DEC 27 -- Gold Medal winning speed-skater Shani Davis is an enigma. There’s no doubt he’s a world class talent, but what about his persona. He’s sparred vocally with his Olympic teammates and even got into a war of words with Stephen Colbert (which ended in comedy gold when the two raced on the Colbert Report.) -- 18 LIKES

    DEC 28 -- David Hoffman is a former federal attorney turned City Inspector General turned Senate candidate. He made waves when he pushed eventual Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias to the brink during the February primaries, and he has a reputation as a reformer and a rising political star. What does the future hold for Hoffman? Think he’s got what it takes to be Chicago’s most interesting person? -- 5 LIKES

    DEC 29 -- Ozzie Guillen is the foul-mouthed, but utterly charismatic skipper of the Chicago White Sox. He makes news every time he opens his mouth, and he usually backs up his tough talk with success. The skipper has already taken the team through a World Series Championship and his team is always on the cusp of taking a next step. -- 49 LIKES

    DEC 30 -- Devin Hester became the all-time leading return man for the NFL in 2010. 14 times he returned either a kick or a punt for a score. Along the way he’s displayed humility and a passed credit for his achievements to his teammates. He may not be a No. 1 receiver, but he’s ...definitely interesting. -- 79 LIKES

    DEC 31 -- Penny Pritzker was Barack Obama’s “money man” during his successful presidential campaign and she was mentioned as a possible head of the Commerce Department before she removed herself from contention. Her family is among the most powerful in Chicago and appears on For...bes 400 list of "America's wealthiest" with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion. -- 7 LIKES