The Century Club

AMERICA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A HUNDRED-ring circus. The spotlight of fame darts around our national arena, picking out new acts, new ideas, new faces. As we peer ahead to the dawn of another century, it is not too soon to identify some of the faces we'll be watching in the year 2000 and beyond. In the following pages, NEWSWEEK presents a list of 100 people for the new century.

This is not a roster of the great and powerful, or the beautiful and celebritous. There are singers and CEOs. There are architects, diet researchers and a chef. There's a paleontologist, a producer of computer movies and an in-line skater. There are politicians, but perhaps not the ones you'd expect. Our object has been to take a snapshot of the future, framing some of the personalities whose creativity or talent or brains or leadership will make a difference in the years ahead.

Yes, we know this is an exercise in fortunetelling. No one can be certain that today's promise will always be fulfilled; in fact, we can be sure that in some cases it will not. The "Century Club" will have an ever-shifting membership. Like America, it is always renewing itself. For this is a nation where pop stars rub headlines with presidents, and outsiders are never far from the golden door.

Beck, 26. No other '90s pop artist is as adept at marrying extremes. His brilliant pastiches-punk meets rap, funk meets lounge--marvelously sew together past, present and future.

Jed Bernstein, 42. Bernstein's job, as head of the League of American Theatres and Producers, is to bring new audiences and bigger profits to Broadway. One innovation: corporate sponsorship of theater.

Chris Carter, 40. Thanks to the creator of "The X-Files," paranoia and the paranormal rule prime time. If he leaves the hit show after its fifth season as expected, look for his conspiracy theories to hit the big screen.

Deana Carter, 31. Her debut album, "Did I Shave My Legs for This?," soared to the top of the country charts. A wistful chronicle of love lost, found and mangled, it proved that raw honesty can still beat out slick packaging.

Billy Corgan, 30. The Smashing Pumpkins' leader holds dear the one trait Gen-Xers supposedly lack: ambition. Platinum albums and world tours are already behind him; his poise suggests there's a lot more ahead.

Cameron Crowe, 39. Last year the writer-director made "Jerry Maguire," the only studio movie anybody could stand. Crowe writes rich, funny screenplays and can coax first-rate performances from newcomers and superstars alike.

Tom Cruise, 34. Cruise debuted as a producer with the hugely profitable techno-thriller "Mission: Impossible. " He's also taking chances in front of the camera, signing on for "Eyes Wide Shut" with the famously eccentric director Stanley Kubrick.

Claire Danes, 18. Since "My So-Called Life" aired on ABC three years ago, the actress has been Hollywood's melancholy teen of choice. The day Danes sheds her mantle of angst will no doubt be a relief for her, if a loss for us.

Ani DiFranco, 26. Ten years ago this singer-songwriter founded Righteous Babe Records to market her music. Today her seven albums--angry, sexually ambiguous and funny--have sold more than 500,000 copies.

Arlo Eisenberg, 23. In-line skating's hottest celeb has a business sense as aggressive as his skating. His company, Senate, sells clothes, wheels, wrenches--and profits are roiling in.

Kevin Garnett, 20. One of only seven players ever to jump straight from high school to the NBA, Garnett stands to emerge as this generation's top hoopster. Plus, he's a gentleman.

Savion Glover, 23. In his stunning "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk," Glover uses tap dancing to fuse entertainment with enlightenment about the African-American experience.

Bryant Gumbel, 48. TV's top interviewer fled "Today" for a tomorrow that will include a CBS news-magazine show, specials and the chance to develop programming

Anthony Mark Hankins, 28. Hankins attended Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the Chambre Syndicale in Paris, where he hand-embroidered $20,000 gowns for Yves Saint Laurent. Now the designer's bold but affordable work hangs on racks from JCPenney to Macy's.

Edmond Heinbockel, 39. A true media revolutionary, Heinbockel is a moviemaker who wants to give you final cut. His Tsunami Media has already produced two interactive movies you can watch--and manipulate--on your PC.

William Joyce, 39. His elegant but anarchic children's books extend a grand tradition of kids' entertainment that embraces Beatrix Potter, King Kong and N.C. Wyeth.

Jonny Lang, 16. A blues guitarist with no reason to have the blues. The North Dakota farm boy's debut, "Lie to Me," made it to No. 2 on the blues charts, and his live shows turn the heads of women old enough to be his mother.

Jonathan Lethem, 33. His genre-bending novels bear odd titles ("Gun, With Occasional Music"), contain weird characters and proffer a drolly downbeat vision of life. Lethem's cultural channel-surfing is sci-fi in the present tense.

Jennifer Lopez, 26. When the actress was growing up, it seemed like Rita Moreno was the only Latina on TV. Now Lopez has played a crossover superstar, Selena, and is on the way to becoming one herself.

Edward Norton, 27. Neither great-looking nor particularly charismatic, this brainy actor has taken a most unlikely route to becoming one of Hollywood's Hot Young Things--he relied on talent alone.

Conan O'Brien, 34. Letterman's late-night replacement survived a harrowing start to win over critics and the college crowd. NBC used to renew his contract 13 weeks at a time, but they just signed him to a big-bucks, multiyear deal.

Claudio Reyna, 23. "The great hope of American soccer" passed on domestic stardom to play in Germany. But look for him to wave the U.S. flag in the World Cup.

Chris Rock, 32. Don't compare the hip-hop comic to Richard Pryor. On stage, albums and HBO, and with his coming $1 million book, Rock doesn't have time for imitation. He's too busy turning sacred cows into hamburger.

Douglas Rodriguez, 31. As chef first at Miami's Yuca and now at his own Patria in New York, Rodriguez has innovated the pan-Latin cuisine that's taken big-city America by storm.

Jamie Tarses, 33. At NBC she was nervy enough to reject one of her producer-father's series-and savvy enough to steer "Friends" to the top. Now, as president of ABC Entertainment, she decides which shows live or die.

Tod Williams, 53, and Billie Tsien, 47. The husband-and-wife architectural team have made a big splash with luminous, neomodern buildings like San Diego's Neurosciences Institute.

Tiger Woods, 21. The Stanford-educated golf sensation is young, black and talented in a sport that's long lacked youth, excitement and color. He'll win fans, titles and endorsement deals well into the next century.

Homi Bhabha, 47. Bhabha, a University of Chicago humanities professor and an unabashed multiculturalist, studies how people in occupied countries influence their oppressors

George W. Bush, 50. The Texas governor endeared himself to moderates by refusing to bash immigrants, yet his views on prayer and gun control won points with conservatives. No wonder he's a top prospect to run for Dad's old office.

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, 43. A Wharton-educated banker, he switched from investments to vestments and drew 10,000 faithful to his church in Houston. And he's using his business acumen to revitalize the inner city.

Steven Carter, 42. Yale law professor whose books have helped reshape the debate on the role of race in America. He's on the short-list to be one of the country's most eminent teachers, a Supreme Court justice--or both.

Farai Chideya, 27. Chideya isn't just multicultural--she's multimedia. A Harvard grad (and former NEWSWEEK reporter), she brings a fresh perspective to CNN, her Web site and her writing.

Andrew Cuomo, 39. A longtime activist for the homeless, the new HUD secretary is turning his ideas into policy. And he's got top connections. He's married to a Kennedy--Robert's daughter Kerry--and gives political advice to pal Al Gore.

Gustavo Perez Firmat, 48. A Cuban-American critic and poet, he's the sharpest of a growing school of Hispanic thinkers. His "Life on the Hyphen" is a deft decoding of the Cuban roots of "I Love Lucy."

Thomas Frank, 31. On C-Span, in The Nation and as editor of the journal The Baffler, Frank is a leading Gen-X cynic. His favorite target: how corporate America forces conformity on the masses.

Henry Louis Gates, 46. Gates energized African-American studies at Harvard and beyond. He also fathered a Norton anthology of black literature.

Paul Goldstein, 54. As an expert on copyright law, Stanford's Goldstein can tell you who owns the stuff that's published, e-mailed and downloaded in cyberspace.

Jamie Gorelick, 46. Janet Reno's deputy may have returned to private life, but that might just be until Gorelick snags a major cabinet post.

Eric Holder Jr., 46. Washington' s first black U.S. attorney, Holder is Clinton's choice for the No. 2 slot at Justice. He's widely viewed as Janet Reno's heir apparent, a possible Supreme Court pick and a likely mayoral candidate.

Jesse Jackson Jr., 32. Jackson has inherited his father's oratorical gifts and is beginning to acquire his political base. He's a hit in Congress. Will he be the first black president?

Kevin Jennings, 33. Jennings's Gay, Lesbian and Straight Teachers Network teaches about homophobia. As gay families multiply, so will his power base.

John Kasich, 44. The prickly chairman of the House Budget Committee is talked about as a possible replacement for Speaker Gingrich. His sights may be set higher than that.

Michael Kinsley, 46. Surprise--he's still in Washington state, still running the online 'zine Slate. Wherever he'll be on New Year's Eve 2000, he'll still be puncturing balloons.

William Kristol, 44. Editor of the witheringly conservative Weekly Standard, Kristol is setting a rhetorical course he hopes will put the White House back in GOP control.

Bill McCartney, 56. A former college football coach, McCartney founded Promise Keepers, the growing Christian men's movement. He's filled stadiums; next year he's planning a million-man march in Washington.

Cardinal Roller Mahony, 61. Mahony presides over the largest and fastest-growing Catholic archdiocese in the country-in godless Los Angeles, of all places.

Thurgood Marshall Jr., 40. As a top aide to Al Gore, Marshall had a hand in everything from arms control to reinventing government. Now he's Clinton's cabinet secretary.

Gerald Miller, 55. The brains behind Michigan's welfare program, Miller is now helping Lockheed Martin get a piece of what one day might be a privatized welfare system.

Maj. Ralph Peters, 45. Considered to be one of the best military minds of his generation, Peters is in line to become one of the army's chief strategists. In his spare time he's managed to write four political thrillers.

Condoleeza Rice, 42. Now provost of Stanford, Rice was a top Soviet specialist for Bush. If the GOP retakes the White House, she could be the first black secretary of state.

Joel Rogers, 45. While Ross Perot's party has flopped, Rogers's populist-progressive New Party is winning elections--120 of the 185 local and regional races entered.

Paul Romer, 41. Romer, a Stanford economist, is the chief proponent of the "new growth" theory, which touts new ideas and high-tech innovation as the key to prosperity.

Fred Thompson, 54. Thompson usually played the heavy in movies. Now the burly Tennessee senator is one of the Beltway's bright lights--and another possible hat in the 2000-election ring.

Laura Washington, 41. Her magazine, The Chicago Reporter, focuses on race and urban issues. It's a small publication, but her style of investigative journalism has made it a powerful--and award-winning-voice.

Christine Todd Whitman, 50. Blue-blooded but tough, the New Jersey governor is a powerful GOP moderate. If she doesn't run for president, she'll be on the veep short-list.

Gretchen Daily, 32. Touted as the next Carl Sagan, this Stanford researcher specializes in global environment al studies. She is focusing on such potential planet-wreckers as ocean pollution and giant asteroids.

K. Eric Drexler, 41. Drexler studies the possibilities of molecule-size machines that might be able to repair cells and build microscopic computers. He chairs Palo Alto's Foresight Institute.

David Ho, 44. The director of New York's Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center has become the country's most famous HIV researcher. Shows no signs of burning out in the spotlight.

Ian Hunter, 44. At his lab at MIT, Hunter is pursuing such wild dreams as a remote-controlled robot that can wield a scalpel more deftly than any human surgeon. He's also cooking up 3-D microscopes and other handy tools for the coming century.

Geoffrey Marcy, 42, and R. Paul Butler, 36. Marcy and Butler, who work at San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley, scan the universe for undiscovered planets. Last year they found five.

John McLachlan, 53. An expert on the effects of environmental chemicals that act like hormones, McLachlan directs the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research in New Orleans.

Frederica Perera, 55. An associate professor at Columbia University's School of Public Health, Dr. Perera's special interest is carcinogens in the workplace and the effect of maternal exposure on developing fetuses.

Margaret Pericak-Vance, 45. Dr. Pericak-Vance and her team at Duke University have built one of the world's largest DNA databanks and found genes for three major diseases: Lou Gehrig's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's.

Steven Pinker, 42. An experimental psychologist, Pinker directs MIT's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Building on the theories of linguist Noam Chomsky, Pinker says children are born with the ability to make sense out of the sounds they hear and organize them into a grammatical structure.

V. S. Ramachandran, 45. The San Diego-based neuroscientist is using state-of-the-art tech not just to watch the brain but to test big ideas: why we laugh, cry and recognize individual faces.

Paul Sereno, 39. Before he was 30, this University of chicago paleontologist discovered one of the oldest dinosaurs, the Herrerasaurus. Now he still travels the globe unearthing other unique specimens.

Mark Skolnick, 51. Three years ago this geneticist won the global race to isolate BRCA1, a gene involved in breast and ovarian cancer. Skolnick's Salt Lake City company, Myriad Genetics, is now marketing a commercial test for breast-cancer risk.

J. Craig Venter, 50. A pioneer in small-genome sequencing--determining the order of the chemicals that make up the genes of small organisms, including the microbes that cause disease-he works at Maryland's Institute for Genomic Research.

Judith, 57, and Richard Wurtman, 59. Working at MIT, the couple developed the hot diet pill Redux, which works by boosting serotonin levels.

Jim Barksdale, 54. Netscape's CEO is the canniest, most inspirational leader in Silicon Valley. The Mississippi native and former Federal Express exec will need all his smarts to fight off Microsoft.

Jeffrey Bezos, 33. The electronic bookworm behind Amazon.com. This Internet-based bookstore--with 2 million titles and no cappuccino--is the shining exemplar of online commerce. Its just-announced IPO will also make him rich.

David Bohnett, 41. As CEO of GeoCities, the world's fastest-growing Web site, Bohnett furnishes free personal home pages to the masses. Microsoft and AOL are among his company's suitors.

Steve Brill, 46. Founder of American Lawyer magazine and the brains behind Court TV, Brill sold the whole shebang to Time Warner when the company, a part owner, thwarted his expansion plans.

Steve Case, 38. Busy signals or not, don't count out America Online's leader. With 8 million users, he's got the biggest cyberspace constituency, and he plans to use it to remake AOL into a brawnier Internet giant.

Bernard Daines, 52. Wish there were more nanoseconds in a day? Daines, founder of Packet Engines, is your man. His "gigabit ethernet" technology would allow you to download that file 10 times faster than you can now.

Bill Ford Jr., 39. As chairman of the Ford board's finance committee, he's poised to take over the auto dynasty that bears his name. With the stock down, he might slip into the driver's seat sooner rather than later.

Chris Galvin, 45. In the '80s Galvin was the guy who figured out how to make pagers faster than the Japanese. Now, as head of Motorola, he'll need to stay ahead of the game and bolster profits, which slid 35 percent last year.

LaVan Hawkins, 37 The Baltimore-based burgermeister and his UrbanCityFoods plan to have 225 Burger King franchises up and flame-broiling in African-American neighborhoods by 1999.

H. Wayne Huizenga, 57. Will you buy a used car from this man? The trash, Blockbuster Video and sports magnate is betting so, with a chain of squeaky-clean, no-haggle showrooms dubbed AutoNation USA.

Laura Jennings, 35. As head of the Microsoft Network, this classic overachieving Microsoftie is a key figure in her company's push to become a force in media.

Steve Jobs, 42. The Apple cofounder is a techno-veteran, but as head of Pixar ("Toy Story," the upcoming "Bugs"), he's a new force in Hollywood--and a prized Disney partner.

Abigail Johnson, 35. She's already a billionaire, but the size of her inheritance will ultimately depend on how successful she is at the helm of Fidelity Investments, her father's mutual-funds behemoth.

Randy Katz, 41. This Berkeley prof got Clinton and Gore wired for the Web. In 2000 his name may pop up on Gore's transition list.

Kerry Killinger, 47. While other S&L execs spent the '80s getting into trouble, Killinger cleaned up, and then beefed up, Washington Mutual. He may become the country's biggest S&L operator.

Paul MacCready, 71. Inventor and adventurer in equal measures, MacCready created the human-powered Gossamer Condor aircraft. In progress, four-month flights in a solar-powered vehicle.

Pattie Maes, 35. This MIT prof, who comes from Brussels, is creating 'intelligent agents'--software that does things without being asked. Her new Firefly Network will deploy them on the Net.

Scott McNealy, 42. The hard-charging CEO of Sun Microsystems hopes to topple Microsoft from its perch by promoting his company's Java language in network computers.

Richard Nanula, 36. Talk about special effects: the Disney CFO's wizardry helped fix EuroDisney. Eisner gets the glory, but Wall St. listens to Nanula.

Michael Naumann, 55. Naumann got low-profile publisher Henry Holt back in the news after taking over last year, signing up authors like Harold Brodkey and Salman Rushdie.

Kim Polese, 35. She formed Marimba, a red-hot Internet start-up based on technology that sends information to users automatically. Will she be the queen of this 'push' technology?

Eric Schmidt, 41. The brand-new CEO of Novell, the network company known as a sleeping giant, will be a major player flit stirs.

John Schnatter, 35. He began making pizzas 13 years ago at his father's bar in Indiana. Two stock offerings later, his Papa John's has become America's fourth largest pie chain.

Richard Scott, 44. If you don't have a Columbia/HCA hospital, blood bank or wellness center nearby, you will. Scott has built a $15 billion health-care empire, though critics say he's put the squeeze on doctors and patients alike.

Rick Wagoner, 44. As president of GM's North American Operations, he already knows about life in the fast lane. He currently presides over GM's biggest new-model launch in nearly 20 years.

Jerry Yang, 28. Yang astounded the world by taking public Yahoo!, his Internet-guide company. Now he's astounding people by making it profitable.

These are the heavy-weights: you can't ignore them, but they're too big for a list of 100.

Warren Buffett, 66. Perhaps the best stock-picker ever, the Omaha Oracle moves markets--and vows to leave his billions to charity.

Michael Eisner, 55. The Chairman has made the globe a Disney world. If he can raise ratings at ABC, he may earn his $200 million pay.

Bill Gates, 41. The legendary Microsoft CEO is extending his software empire out of the workplace and into the home and media.

Rupert Murdoch, 66. The FoxTV network, dozens of publications and now the $1 billion EchoStar satellite service gives him the world's longest media reach.

Steven Spielberg, 49. The DreamWorks director will develop blockbusters, grown-up fare--and a wider executive role.

Oprah Winfrey, 43. Our highest-paid entertainer, she shapes pop culture. The book club is a smash; now she wants to do more acting. America's first black billionaire?