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New York's Power Siblings

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Daniel O'Donnell, 41, politician, and Rosie O'Donnell, 40, personality

Rosie's not the only openly gay member of her family. The former talk-show queen's older brother, Daniel, became the state's first out gay male Assembly member when he was elected last week to represent the Upper West Side's 69th District. He doesn't know if his famously loudmouthed sister helped or hindered his political aspirations. At least one voter told him during his failed attempt at a State Senate seat four years ago that she wasn't voting for him because she didn't like his sister. "I looked at her and said, 'Which one?' " Danny remembers. "She ooked very confused, but I presume she voted for my opponent." Rosie has never campaigned for her brother. "If she showed up at a subway stop one morning, the reports would be all about Rosie at the subway and not about my campaign," he says. Unlike Rosie, who came out last year, Danny's been out most of his adult life. He met his partner of 22 years, a special-events coordinator for the American Ballet Theatre, on the first day of their freshman year at Catholic University. But he's leaving the child-rearing to Rosie and their three other siblings: "We have thirteen nieces and nephews."

Sutton Foster, 27, star of Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Hunter Foster, 33, star of Urinetown

Every night, the Fosters go to work three blocks away from each other. When Hunter landed the lead in Urinetown, his first starring role, he assumed that the show wouldn't go far. "I was killing time; I thought it would be a modest run," he says. In the role of Bobby Strong, the rebel leader, he charmed critics with his exuberance and deadpan delivery of campy lines. Sutton's Tony-winning performance in Millie was a fairy-tale story: She was plucked from the chorus to play the lead a week before Broadway previews. "I cried, I was terrified," she recalls. "I thought they must be making a mistake." Hunter admits that he was disappointed he didn't get the Tony nod as well this year. "I wanted it to be the two of us," he says. "It would have been special that way."

Sunny Mindel, 46, Rudy Giuliani's spokesperson, and Lee Mindel, 49, architect

One day in suburban New Jersey, Sunny and Lee Mindel's family beagle had the temerity to defecate on a neighbor's picnic table. The neighbor -- in Sunny's words, "a cigar-chomping, blustery misanthrope" -- took the Mindels to court. No sooner had their father declared that he would represent himself than he went back to the beagle's breeder, found six of the dog's relatives, and corralled them into court for what Sunny and Lee believe was the first-ever doggy lineup. "He actually asked the man to identify the perp," Sunny marvels. "To our family, this was perfectly logical. Frankly, I was stunned when I found out that some of the things going on in our house weren't going on in everybody else's."

Vincent "Chin" Gigante, 74, Genovese boss, and Louis Gigante, 70, priest

After a ruling last spring that Vinnie's bathrobe routine was just an act (he got twelve years for racketeering in 1997), the Feds all but accused Father G., as he's known, of abetting the ruse by insisting his brother wasn't fit to stand trial. "He happens to be an exceptional brother," Louis maintains. If Louis were to be indicted for obstructing justice, it would be an amazing coda to a more amazing life: The priest's nonprofit group has built hundreds of units of low-income housing, and in 1989, he put up $25,000 bail for one of the accused rapists of the Central Park jogger.

Jerry Seinfeld, 48, comedian, and Carolyn Liebling, 50, manager

Jerry's sister, who lives on Long Island, has handled his affairs for as long as he's had affairs to handle. She scouted out a place for the Seinfelds in the Hamptons and serves as "president" of the Upper West Side garage that houses Jerry's storied car collection (Jerry is vice-president). She also quietly administers Jerry's scholarship program at Manhattan's LaGuardia High School through pencil, the group that organizes Principal for a Day. "She's great," says one source close to the grant program. "They just don't want to appear braggy."

Chloë Sevigny, 27, actress, and Paul Sevigny, 31, D.J.

Chloë Sevigny and her older brother, broker turned D.J. Paul, have turned New York into their own personal playground of late. While Chloë racks up movie credits and magazine spreads, Paul has been making upwards of $5,000 a night as a D.J. for some of the city's biggest events. "He's the perfect date for events, because he's articulate, charming, and then I don't have to talk to anybody," says Chloë. What's more, Paul uses his charm to promote his sister at every opportunity: "I talk to a lot more people than she does. I'm always, 'Why aren't you putting Chloë in this movie?' 'Why isn't Chloë in this magazine?' " Paul has gotten her at least two films this past year, they agree. "I was his little annoying sister," admits Chloë. "I would fake-cry a lot, and he would get in trouble over me. Nonetheless, a boy from our block was bothering me one time, and Paul hit him. He's always been very protective."

Steve Florio, 53, CEO and president, Condé Nast, and Tom Florio, 46, vice-president and publisher, Vogue

It takes a certain type of person to fire his own brother. But that is exactly what Condé Nast president Steve Florio did to his younger brother Tom, then president of The New Yorker, in 1998. Tom survived, of course, and went on to head Vogue, the jewel in the Newhouse crown. Weirdly, the cigar-smoking brothers have held the same job twice: Both have been publisher of Vogue and president of The New Yorker. By all accounts, the relationship is a highly charged one as both vie for the opaque S.I.'s approval. Steve is the more extroverted: "I can suck the air out of a room," he has admitted. But people wonder: Now that he's run most of the flashy Condé Nast titles, what's next for Tom after Vogue?

David Spade, 38, actor, and Andy Spade, 40, president of Kate Spade

Comedian David Spade could have told you a long time ago that his brother, Andy, has an eye for fashion -- one that's helped launch a million handbags bearing his wife's name (not to mention his own men's accessories line, Jack Spade). In the eighth grade, Andy called his kid brother on the carpet for sporting light-blue cords with a light-blue shirt and forced him to at least break up the colors with a belt! "That's when I knew he would be a multi-millionaire," David has said.

Susan Cheever & Benjamin

"I would punch him, he would cry, I'd get punished," says Susan Cheever, 59, of growing up with her brother Ben, 54, who puts it more bluntly: "We hated each other." As adults, though, the two are less prone to tears and fists. Both writers, they share their work over the phone once a week. "I refer to Ben as one of my Column Victims," Susan says, referring to the small group she reads her Newsday column to before sending it off. "Just the other day, I read something to Susan and she caught a few mistakes," says Ben, who admits he was at first jealous of Susan's writing. Of course, having John Cheever as a father only compounded their growing pains. "I think we're so close because our difficult relationships were both with our father," says Susan, who introduced Ben to his wife, Times critic Janet Maslin. "There are many misconceptions about how we grew up," Ben says. "People assume our father was rich, that he was constantly dropping writing tips out of his pockets. It wasn't like that -- he was very ambivalent about us becoming writers. It's amazing to be close with someone who just knows that."


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