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FALL CASTING: Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace among 'DWTS' contenders
August 29, 2011  | By Diane Werts

[UPDATE: The pro partner pairings have been announced. See them here.]

There's Cher's daughter turned son, a Queer Eye guy, a Kardashian, a brawling basketballer, Ricki Lake and Nancy Grace.

Just for starters.

So who's not watching Dancing With the Stars this time?

Even the expected choices are unexpected, like another athlete contestant being U.S. women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo. And Season 13's disability-battling entrant is severely burned Iraq war veteran and All My Children actor J.R. Martinez.

And they say 13 is an unlucky number.

Here's a condensed version of the network's Monday night press release, outlining all dozen contenders when DWTS returns on ABC Monday, Sept. 19.




A dynamic lineup of stars -- including a U.S. veteran, an NBA champion, a film and TV star, a TV host and journalist, a Grammy-nominated singer, a supermodel, a reality TV star, a showbiz legacy and activist, and a World Cup star -- will take the stage for the two-hour season premiere of Dancing With the Stars, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

All 12 couples will dance for the first time on live national television on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, either performing the Cha Cha Cha or The Viennese Waltz.

The 12 celebrities heading to the dance floor this season, as announced tonight on ABC's Bachelor Pad by Dancing with the Stars hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in a live press conference, are:

DAVID ARQUETTE -- David Arquette is an actor, writer, director, producer and soon to be dancer. He has acted in dozens of feature films, including the "Scream" films, "Hamlet 2," "The Grey Zone," "Dream with the Fishes," "Never Die Alone" and "The Darwin Awards." He has also joined the cast of the Disney Television interactive series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," where he lends his voice as Scully, a lookout pirate parrot who helps Jake and his crew of kid pirates. Up next, he will direct the 3D psychological thriller "Glutton" for Remember Dreaming Productions, executive-producing through Coquette.

RON ARTEST -- Born in Queensbridge, New York, Ron Artest is currently a member of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and a father to four children. He was signed to a five-year contract by the L.A. Lakers as a free agent in 2009 and has been playing professional basketball in the NBA since 1999. In his career, he has played for the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and now the Los Angeles Lakers.


CHAZ BONO -- Chaz Bono is an LGBT rights advocate, three-time author, speaker and the only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher. His decision to come out as a lesbian in 1995 prompted his public work in support of LGBT rights and social justice. An acclaimed author, his latest book is Transition, his groundbreaking and candid account of a 40-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body. He has most recently shared his life and experiences in the three-time Emmy nominated documentary "Becoming Chaz."

ELISABETTA CANALIS - Elisabetta Canalis became an instantly recognizable figure in the world of high fashion and advertising. Born in Sassari, Sardinia, Italy, she moved to Milan to study foreign languages at the prestigious Universita Statale. It was there that she made the bold career decision to pursue acting rather than foreign languages, and her enthusiasm for her craft soon landed her a series regular role on the infamous Italian television drama "Striscia la Notizia" for three years. She has since appeared in the comedies "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" and "Virgin Territory." Canalis has also demonstrated her impressive dramatic capabilities in America with a recurring role on TNT's "Leverage."

KRISTIN CAVALLARI -- Born in Denver, Colorado, Kristin Cavallari moved to California with her brother and father as a high school junior when the first season of "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" began production for MTV. After completing two successful years on the hit show, Cavallari switched gears to focus on a career in acting. From 2006-2009 she starred in such films as "Van Wilder: Freshman Year," "Green Flash," "Spring Breakdown" and "Wild Cherry," alongside Rumer Willis and Rob Schneider. In May 2009, Cavallari confirmed that she would be joining the cast of MTV's reality series "The Hills."


NANCY GRACE -- An outspoken, tireless advocate for victims' rights and one of TV's most respected legal analysts, Nancy Grace is the powerful force behind HLN's top-rated "Nancy Grace." A former prosecutor with an unparalleled record of success, Grace's life changed forever in 1979 when her fiance, Keith Griffin, was shot and killed. She abandoned plans to become an English professor and turned to criminal justice. Grace, her husband and her twins reside in Atlanta and New York City.

ROB KARDASHIAN -- Born in Los Angeles, Rob Kardashian is the fourth child and only son of the late attorney Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner; he has five sisters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Rob graduated from the prestigious Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California with a degree in Business Entrepreneurship. He also enjoys a successful modeling career as the face of the popular brand Ocean Pacific. Rob currently lives in Los Angeles with his sister, Khloe, and Lamar Odom.

CARSON KRESSLEY -- Emmy-winning television star, celebrity stylist, author and fashion designer Carson Kressley is currently starring in "Carson-Nation," a one-hour reality show on Oprah Winfrey's OWN, in which he travels to small towns throughout the U.S., transforming lives one person at a time. Previously, Kressley helmed Lifetime's critically-acclaimed "How to Look Good Naked," and earned a primetime Emmy for his role on Bravo's breakout hit series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." When he is not working, he can be found on one of his American Saddlebred show horses, with which he has achieved World Champion status.

RICKI LAKE -- Poised to return to daytime television with the all-new "The Ricki Lake Show" in the fall of 2012, Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her candid, "straight talk" sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature. As Tracy Turnblad, the zaftig heroine of the original John Waters' film "Hairspray," Lake made an acting debut that positioned her as an "entertainer to watch" in Hollywood. Later, with a surprise turn as a talk show host, she met with unprecedented success. Lake has recently completed work on a memoir due on shelves in spring 2012. In addition, she executive-produced the critically acclaimed documentary "The Business of Being Born," which examines natural childbirth in the United States.


J.R. MARTINEZ -- J.R. Martinez is an Iraq War veteran, motivational speaker and actor on ABC's "All My Children." In April 2003, at 19 years of age, Martinez was serving as a humvee driver for the United States Army in Iraq when his left front tire hit a landmine. He suffered smoke inhalation and burns to more than 40 percent of his body. He was immediately evacuated and sent to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, where he spent 34 months in recovery. Since his injury, Martinez has undergone 33 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Martinez has traveled the country since 2004, spreading his message of resilience and optimism. In October 2008, he joined the cast of ABC's Emmy Award-winning daytime drama "All My Children," as combat veteran Brot Monroe. He is also busy working on his memoir.

CHYNNA PHILLIPS -- Wife, mother, singer/songwriter, actress, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Chynna Phillips has been surrounded by Hollywood since she first entered this world. Born to musicians John and Michelle Phillips of famed '60s group The Mamas and The Papas, Chynna began her acting career appearing in John Hughes' 1982 teen sensation "Some Kind of Wonderful." Next Phillips, along with childhood friends Carnie & Wendy Wilson, formed the trio Wilson Phillips. Married to fellow actor William Baldwin, she took time off to focus on family, and had three children, while also reclaiming herself and becoming a Christian. Earlier this year, it was announced that Wilson Phillips would be reuniting again for an album to celebrate their 20 years as a musical group.


HOPE SOLO -- Hope Solo is widely considered the best goalkeeper in the world and has been the starter for the United States women's national team since 2005. She scored 109 goals as a high school forward before moving to goal at the University of Washington near her hometown of Richland. At the 2011 World Cup, Solo recorded two shutouts in group play, and then, in what is considered one of the greatest soccer games in history, made a save in a penalty shootout against Brazil in the quarterfinal, helping the Americans advance to the semis. She was also the starting goalkeeper for the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where the U.S. women's team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1-0 in extra time.


1 Comment


Eileen said:

This is quite the eclectic lineup; I might just start watching again.

Good for J.R. Martinez; I'm not a soap opera fan, but he is such an inspiration for all he's overcome.

Have to cheer for Ron Artest; he graduated from La Salle Academy in NYC, my son's alma mater.

Can't wait to see Nancy Grace "shake her booty". Glad I'm not going to be giving her scores (watch out, Bruno).

Love David Arquette and Ricki Lake, so there's those two.

It's nice to see such a diverse, actually recognizable group. This show was really starting to fizzle, but maybe this crew is the boost they need. We'll see.

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