My Celebrity Life

The celebrities who love to play bingo

My Celebrity Life –
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Having been around for the best part of 500 years, it is fair to say that bingo is firmly established as a mainstream entertainment activity.

As with many pastimes the game has enjoyed fluctuating fortunes, but it remains as popular today as it has ever been.

Bingo dates back to a 16th century Italian lottery game, before subsequently migrating to France and other parts of Europe.

By the 20th century bingo was firmly embedded into the entertainment culture in the United Kingdom and United States, particularly amongst working class people.

A shift in consumer behaviour as the new millennium approached had a negative impact on bingo, with people turning towards posher pursuits.

However, the launch of the internet proved to be a lifesaver for the game, with the creation of penny bingo websites helping to introduce the pastime to a new demographic.

Celebrity endorsements have also helped to drive the boom in bingo’s popularity over the past couple of decades, with some unlikely names latching onto the game.

We take a closer look at some of the major stars who have a developed a connection with bingo in recent years.

 

Matthew McConaughey

The star of top films such as We Are Marshall and The Lincoln Lawyer may seem like an implausible candidate to be linked with bingo.

However, residents at a senior living facility in Texas can testify that McConaughey is pretty smooth when it comes to calling bingo numbers.

During 2020, McConaughey and his family took time out of their busy schedule to host a bingo game on a video chat with The Enclave at Round Rock Senior Living.

The Oscar-winning actor called the action via Zoom and when a ‘bingo’ was called the winner could ask him a question as their prize.

The residents were in their element as they quizzed McConaughey about his life and plans for the future, and the actor did not shirk any of the questions.

The session perfectly highlighted how bingo has the power to bring people together from different backgrounds in a fun and relaxed environment.

 

Courtney Cox

Better know as the loudest of an extremely loud bunch in the US sitcom Friends, Cox loves to play bingo with some of her famous friends. 

She most notably participated in an ‘E- Bingo’ event at the Comedy Store in California during 2006, which was a charity benefit for epidermolysis bullosa.

Cox has also been spotted playing bingo in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, further demonstrating her passion for the iconic game.

She has also been known to host bingo sessions at home, with Paris Hilton and Ricki Lake amongst the famous stars in attendance.

Given the vociferous nature of her character Monica Geller in Friends, it is not too hard to imagine that Cox will be fairly adept at shouting ‘bingo’.

Who knows, maybe one day the producers of Friends will create a one-off special entitled ‘The One Where They All Played Bingo’?

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

If you thought that Hollywood superstars and bingo are an unlikely combination, you will be gobsmacked to learn that one of the world’s most famous soccer players also loves the game.

The Manchester United and Portugal star was given a DVD version of bingo as a Christmas present during his first spell with the Red Devils.

Ronaldo used the game to improve his English skills, although he admitted that his teammates were reluctant to join in the fun.

Most of United’s players spent their time glued to their game consoles during their free time, but Ronaldo decided bingo was the game for him.

The 36-year-old has always dared to be different during his career and once famously said ‘what good is life without a hint of madness?’

Although this ethos hasn’t yet resulted in Ronaldo visiting one of Manchester’s bingo halls, there is still time for him to rectify the matter now he is back with the Premier League club.

 

Catherine Zeta-Jones

In terms of bingo having a major impact on someone’s life, there is no better story than the one which powered Catherine Zeta-Jones to stardom.

Her parents, David and Pat, famously won in a bingo competition, which they used to pay for Zeta-Jones’ dance lessons.

The Welsh wonder subsequently became a movie star and hooked up with Hollywood legend Michael Douglas who she married in 2000. 

However, Zeta-Jones never forgot her roots and maintained her connection with bingo by holding Christmas parties themed around the game.

She not only made the cards and balls herself, but also organised all the prizes and called the games to the delight of her family.

Quite what Douglas made of people shouting ‘bingo’ in his house is anyone’s guess, although it didn’t appear to dampen his love for his wife.

 

Russell Crowe

Anyone being asked to name a famous Hollywood actor who has links with bingo would be hard pushed to come up with Crowe as a suggestion.

The New Zealand born star made his name globally when he played Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the epic historical drama Gladiator.

Now famed for his gruff public persona, Crowe’s showbiz career actually started as the director of entertainment at a holiday resort on Pakatoa Island.

He worked under the stage name Russ Le Roq, entertaining holidaymakers in a variety of roles including as a bingo caller.

Crowe was eventually sacked from the job for calling out rude bingo rhymes, which is probably no surprise given his temperamental nature.

Despite this, Crowe will no doubt look back on his links with bingo with fondness given that he is now firmly established as one of Hollywood’s top stars.

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