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From enduring stars to 15 minutes of fame, the Chattanooga area enjoyed its share of celebrity this year

MEGAN FOX

In June, the actress, who spent her early childhood in Rockwood, Tenn., reprised her role from "Transformers" in the sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Her performance earned her two Teen Choice Awards, for Choice Female Hottie and Choice Summer Movie Star (Female), a Scream Award for Best Sci-Fi Actress and a Spike Video Game Award for Best Performance by a Human Female.

She also provided voice-over work for the film's accompanying video-game release.

In September, she starred in her second film, "Jennifer's Body," which she also executive produced. The black comedy/horror film is set for DVD release Tuesday.

To promote these roles, Fox appeared on a number of talk shows, including "The Jay Leno Show" (twice), "Entertainment Tonight," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The View." She also hosted the season opener for NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Sept. 26.

Fox also topped a number of celebrity media lists. Maxim Magazine and E! included her on their list of Hottest Moments of 2009 for her performance in "Jennifer's Body," calling her "the ultimate Hollywood It Girl: a multitalented actress with A-list appeal." The UK-based For Him Magazine placed Fox at the No. 2 spot on its list of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World '09, a spot she also landed on Maxim's similar 2009 Hot 100 list.

USHER

After moving from Chattanooga to Atlanta 19 years ago, R&B artist Usher made himself into a television, movie and music superstar. His discography includes veritable hit-machine albums and five Grammy Awards.

Usher started off 2009 with a Jan. 18 performance alongside Stevie Wonder and Shakira at the inaugural celebration for President Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial. He also performed in July as part of the memorial to Michael Jackson. In June, he was featured with a dairy mustache on an advertisement in the Body by Milk ad campaign.

Also in June, Usher filed for divorce from his wife, Tameka Foster. The divorce was finalized in November.

Usher worked this year on an upcoming album, originally titled "Monsters," now redubbed "Usher vs. Usher," which is due out early next year. Critics have suggested the album will include a self-analytical look at Usher's strained relationships with his mother (and manager) and ex-wife. In a June interview with People magazine, Usher backed this up by suggesting the album was "racy, risky and edgy and sometimes about personal experiences."

The album's first single, "Papers," was released online on Oct. 5 and reached the top spot on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 31 on the Hot 100. The first official single, "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)" was sent to U.S. radio on Dec. 8 and made available on iTunes on Dec. 16.

Usher was nominated in the Favorite R&B Artist category for the 2010 People's Choice Awards.

SAMUEL L. JACKSON

After appearing in six films last year, the world's highest-grossing actor was featured in only one film this year, as the voice of Zog, a construction robot, in "Astro Boy." The Chattanooga native also performed uncredited narrative voice-overs in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."

He finished work on "Mother and Child," a drama in which he co-stars alongside Naomi Watts. The film is in post-production and is set for release in February.

Jackson also was cast for a number of upcoming releases in various stages of completion, including "Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey" and "Iron Man 2" (both in post-production), "Blown" (in production) and "The Other Guys" (filming).

Though he wasn't on the big screen, Jackson was all over TV. He presented awards at the 51st annual Grammys in February and the American Music Awards in November, and he hosted ESPN's Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards in July. He continued his role as voice-over actor/producer on his animated TV series, "Afro Samurai," as well as providing voice-over work for an accompanying video-game release "Afro Sammurai: Resurrection."

Jackson also made numerous guest appearances on TV shows, including "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" and "Late Show With David Letterman."

According to an article on Geeks of Doom.com, "iSam Jackson," an application featuring soundbytes of Jackson's catchphrases and an "Ask Sam" feature, has been submitted to Apple's App Store and is awaiting approval to be made available for download.

Mocs score with Jimmy Fallon

* How you know them: UTC's men's basketball team adopted by 'Late Night' host Jimmy Fallon during the NCAA tournament.

* 2009 Highlights: When the Mocs were paired against UConn -- a classic case of David vs. Goliath -- Fallon adopted the Mocs as his favorite tournament underdog. "Late Night's" production office called UTC to obtain Gold Rush T-shirts for the audience and shakers. Fallon bused the Mocs pep band, Scrappy the Mascot and a couple of cheerleaders from the tournament site to his New York studio for an appearance on the show. Even UTC alum, Dennis Haskins, got in on the act, rising up through a trap door in the floor to cue the band's parade onstage.

After the Mocs' loss, Fallon graciously invited Coach John Shulman and his seniors to attend a taping and introduced them on-air. After that, the show treated the team to a steak dinner at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse.

The amount of free national publicity UTC received over three nights was generous; Fallon's description of Shulman (The Don Juan of the SoCon) was priceless.

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