Celebrities Flock to Colorado...When Forced

The biggest current newsmaker in Colorado is a guy no one wants to share the same air with. Andrew Speaker, 31, was flown to Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center for treatment of a strain of tuberculosis so virulent that he's been placed under federal quarantine -- the first person to be in this position since 1963. His arrival here, and the contangion implications of his travels from Europe to Canada, have dominated news reports for days, with Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer scoring the biggest get: an exclusive interview with a masked Speaker and his new bride, Sarah Cooksey, which can be seen by clicking here.

Despite Speaker's potential status as a 21st century variation on Typhoid Mary, Colorado has welcomed him with open arms -- and why not, since the state is celebrity-starved. Sure, Hollywood luminaries frequently visit Aspen and other resorts, especially during the ski season, but few of them actually live here long term -- although the rumor mill suggests that Johnny Depp has made Evergreen his fulltime home, rather than an occasionally stopping spot. Still, arguably the biggest stars to make the state home during the past decade or so have been ones who were dragged here kicking and screaming.

Examples? How about convicted Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who were put on trial here? Or residents of Florence's Supermax facility such as Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski, shoe bomber Richard Reid, Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, convicted spy Robert Hanssen and more? All of them are undeniably famous -- but none of them chose to settle in Colorado by choice.

Aside from McVeigh, who was taken out of the state to be executed, the folks in the paragraph above aren't going anywhere -- but if Speaker is cured, betcha he high-tails it out of here mighty quick. Why can't we get any celebrities to stick around unless they're in custody? -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts