What’s going on? We thought you liked Brooke Shields. But you are nothing if not unpredictable. This year we asked male and female readers two questions about Calvin Klein’s favorite 16-year-old:
Would you like to marry Brooke Shields?
Would you like to be Brooke Shields?
The answer to both was a resounding “No, thanks!” Nearly 90 percent of women readers polled said they wouldn’t want to be her, and 83 percent of men wouldn’t marry her.
That’s not all. We asked a question—with no one especially in mind:
Which contemporary celebrity will be most quickly forgotten?
Guess who can’t count on endless love? Brooke—by a whopping 3 to 1 over such also-mentions as Tony Geary, Farrah Fawcett, Bo Derek and Suzanne Somers.
Why are people down on Brooke? Maybe it’s jealousy, but the largest number said they wouldn’t want to be Brooke or to marry her because they couldn’t stand the pressure. “When she’s 20, she’ll be a basket case,” predicted one woman. But behind that is a real strain of sympathy for Brooke. “She’s a kid,” observed a man, “but hasn’t been given a chance to be one.” And from a woman: “She had to grow up too early. I loved my childhood.”
Brookie needn’t despair, though. She has a solid bedrock of appreciation among boys her age, 42 percent of whom stand ready and willing to wed her.
Should Prince Charles and Diana have waited longer before starting a family?
“What’s the big hurry?” said one-third of our readers overall and one-half of those aged 12 to 24. Yet 60 percent felt that the Eminent Expected is arriving right on time, with those over 35 most enthusiastic. Fewer than half of American women, by the way, have their first child by their 21st birthday. Di’s is July 1, which also happens to be her expected delivery date.
Would you rather that they have a boy or a girl?
Biology favors a boy (there are slightly more males born than females), so maybe it’s best that 57 percent of our readers are rooting for a boy. In this case, the baby’s sex matters. Under current law, a boy would be heir to the throne after Charles; a girl would be heiress only until she had a baby brother.
Will Prince Charles and Diana live happily ever after?
Last year 88 percent of women readers said they wouldn’t marry Prince Charles on a bet. But despite the rising divorce rate in England—well over one in every four marriages—72 percent predict blue skies for the Prince and Princess of Wales, with women slightly more hopeful than men. Teens and those 45 and up are most optimistic. The folks less sure are between 25 and 34 and are probably working out those early marriage knots.
Now that Elizabeth Taylor is separated from husband No. 7, whom should she marry next?
Perhaps inspired by their all-night reunion at Liz’s 50th-birthday party in London, a romantic 31 percent, apparent believers in manifest destiny, say she should remarry her fifth (and sixth) husband, Richard Burton, now separated from third wife Susan Hunt. The second biggest group (27 percent) think Liz should retire her ring finger—they say her best option is “no one.” Then follow Tony Geary, her onetime General Hospital co-star, and a three-way tie among her Little Foxes producer Zev Bufman (who’s already married), Eddie Fisher (hubby No. 4) and—oh, yes—Sen. John Warner (the incumbent).
Who is the best-looking woman in America?
Jaclyn Smith, 35, spent most of 1981 out of sight, awaiting the birth of her son, Gaston Anthony Richmond (he arrived March 19). But the actress’s beauty apparently is memorable. Jaclyn won this title in the first PEOPLE Poll, back in 1979, but was displaced for two years by the distracting Bo Derek. (Bo slumped to eighth this time.) Runner-up is Dallas’ sultry Victoria Principal, 32, very, very close behind Jaclyn, as she was last year. The surprise about third is that it is not Brooke Shields, not Olivia Newton-John, not Cheryl Tiegs, not even Christie Brinkley. It is the ever-violet Liz Taylor, still especially loved by over-45 readers. Does it mean something that not one of our top three is under 30? Brooke and Olivia are, in fact, tangled in a four-way tie for fourth with Lynda Carter and Linda Evans.
As always, male and female readers do not see eye to eye on their ideal beauties. Women prefer Liz by a whopping 8-to-1 margin and also admire Dynasty’s Linda Evans. Men are twice as likely to wink at Bo Derek or Lynda Carter. Between 18 and 24, readers are more apt to mention Olivia Newton-John.
But men, bless their gallant hearts, boasted that their wives and girlfriends were equally as beautiful as their first celebrity choice, Victoria Principal. Women, on the other hand, did not return the compliment to their hubbies and beaux. In answering the similar question, they rated the guys in their lives just a nose better-looking than those also-rans (and quite ordinary people) Timothy Hutton, Michael Landon and Chris Reeve.
Who is the best-looking man in America?
Last year we had to explain who Tom Selleck was. (You know, Magnum, P.I.?) This year the Clark Gablesque six-footer, who’s 37, comes in first among all groups, knocking perennial pretty boy Robert Redford, 44, into second. What’s Selleck’s secret? Softening those rugged features with beguiling humor, perhaps. In third place is Burt Reynolds (men like him), followed by Paul Newman (thanks to the women). Newcomer Rick Springfield, the Grammy-winning Australian rock star (Working Class Dog) who also happens to appear on the red-hot soap General Hospital, is very big with teens, right up there with Reynolds and Redford. In the 55-plus age group, incidentally, the fifth-place finisher is a handsome retired actor: Ronald Reagan.
Who’s your favorite TV actress?
Surprise! Hart to Hart’s Stefanie Powers, 39, three years into her classy series, has whupped those Dallas gals. Stefanie has guested and starred on TV (The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The Feather and Father Gang) for nearly two decades but hasn’t been a superstar till now. She was William Holden’s best companion before his death in 1981. Last year’s top vote-getter, Victoria Principal, has slipped a notch, and Linda Evans winds up third. Hill Street Blues’ lawyer Veronica Hamel finished fourth, getting a big boost from men. At this rate she’ll make DA.
Who’s your favorite TV actor?
This is getting monotonous Alan Alda swept the field for the fourth year. Everybody thinks he’s swell except, maybe (watch this group, Alan), teenagers, who picked Tom Selleck by a hair. Along with a magnum of support from women, that put the macho model turned P.I. in second place. Robert Wagner, the other half of the Hart to Hart team (who recently lost his real-life love, Natalie Wood), comes in third, followed by Michael Landon (Little House on the Prairie) and Daniel Travanti (Hill Street Blues, whose stars apparently are big with male voters).
Which television commercial is your favorite?
Many readers couldn’t think of any they liked. Those who could singled out the new Coca-Cola campaign which, the company says, has had the costliest kick-off in soft drink history. In the ad a gaggle of young dancers break from rehearsal to carol “Coke is it!” The second fave is the long-running Miller Lite series in which jocks pitch diet beer. Third is the Mean Joe Greene Coke classic, which was spun off in a 1981 TV flick.
What’s the most irritating commercial on television?
Ads for sanitary protection continue to turn off both sexes, as in 1980, when we last asked this question. Brenda Vaccaro pushing Playtex tampons is the most bothersome, followed by Cathy Rigby for Stayfree Maxi-Pads. Repugnant too are Wisk’s ring-around-the-collar ad and anything for Preparation H.
Which TV newscaster do you find most trustworthy?
The folks would rather Rather, and by a sizable 3-to-1 margin. Which would seem to suggest it’s more than wearing an ingratiatingly sincere sweater that’s paying off. (But what will you wear in July, Dan?) A head and shoulders behind the CBS anchor are NBC’s John Chancellor, second this year, and ABC’s Frank Reynolds, third. Nightline’s Ted Koppel is a new face in fourth, tied with Harry Reasoned Then come NBC’s Tom Brokaw and Roger Mudd in a draw. Running behind the basso profundos are Jane Pauley (who gets most of her votes from women), Jessica Savitch (who gets most of hers from men), Barbara Walters (about 50-50) and Today’s Bryant Gumbel, the sports-caster recently turned anchorman.
Which old television series would you most like to see revived?
Rickeeeeee! Lucille Ball’s teeth-rattling screams convulsed America for six unforgettable years (1951-57), not to mention untold hours in network reruns and syndication, and our female readers would rather have I Love Lucy back than any other series. Never mind those recent revivals of such derivative sitcoms as The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island and Beverly Hillbillies; TV humor has never surpassed Lucy, Men, on the other hand, hope for a reborn Star Trek, which tied with Lucy for first. Evidently not even a second feature-film spin-off later this spring can satisfy ardent Trekkies. The next-most-favored shows, in a three-way tie, are Carol Burnett, Gunsmoke and Mary Tyler Moore. (We were kind of rooting for The Name of the Game, which featured a magazine called—remember?—People.)
If the 1980 presidential election were rerun now, for whom would you vote?
Apparently the honeymoon isn’t over for Ronald Reagan. Despite a queasy economy, PEOPLE readers are willing to give Ronald Reagan another chance. He captured 48 percent of the vote, roughly the portion he received in the 1980 election. Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, pulled only 29 percent of our vote, versus 41 percent in the 1980 election. This year’s sleeper was John Anderson: He struggled in with 7 percent of the national vote in 1980, but nearly 20 percent of our readers would opt for him today. Wait till 1984, John?
Do you think Ronald Reagan will be too old to run for a second term in 1984?
Rooting for senior power, a majority (51 percent) said the President, who’ll be 73 next election year, won’t be over the Capitol Hill. However, it’s the readers closest to him in age who most disapproved of a second Reagan term.
His critics say Ronald Reagan is not very smart. Do you agree?
Sixty percent thought the President has plenty of smarts, but he can hardly be overjoyed. The other 40 percent said Reagan is not very smart, and nearly half of the 18-to-24-year-olds were of that opinion.
Is Nancy Reagan too fancy?
Last year two-thirds of our readers, asked this question, defended Nancy. But this year 50 percent found her too fancy—also snooty, snotty, snobby, hoity-toity and goody-goody. Some cited the White House redecoration and the $200,000 for china in these belt-tightening times.
Which political figure do you trust most? Which least?
In an unprecedented double whammy, Ronald Reagan copped both of these categories. A substantial 29 percent trusted him most (down from last year’s 36 percent). A distant second was Ted Kennedy; then came George Bush and Jimmy Carter just hairbreadths apart. But if Walter Cronkite had been running…well, don’t ask.
The least-trusted race revealed a marked polarity of opinion about our President. Reagan, mistrusted by 21 percent, shoved last year’s champ, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, into second place (14 percent) and the always-mistrusted Richard Nixon into third (10 percent).
Who should be the next Democratic presidential candidate?
Drag out those old Kennedy banners! In a stunning turnaround, it’s clearly Ted (as he reportedly wants to be called, now that he’s 50). Back in 1980, making his presidential bid shortly after the 10th anniversary of Chappaquiddick, he was voted the least-trusted politician. This year he has nudged Fritz Mondale, last year’s PEOPLE’S choice, into second as the prospective Democratic standard-bearer. A surprise in third is Ohio Senator and former astronaut John Glenn. Jerry Brown and Jimmy Carter are tethered in fourth.
Do you think the Reagan Administration has been unfair to the needy?
With everybody interpreting “needy” in his or her own way, 61 percent said yes. The largest group, 37 percent, felt strongly that this is true. Last year 58 percent said they thought previous Administrations had pampered the poor.
Expressing further doubt about Reagan, 59 percent said he doesn’t understand the problems of the working man—or woman.
Would you say the country as a whole is better or worse off than it was a year ago?
Is this Jimmy Carter’s revenge? PEOPLE’S readers are ready to hoist Ronald Reagan with his own 1980 campaign petard. More than half said that the country is worse off now than a year ago, with older folks more disillusioned than younger. But only 35 percent admitted to feeling personally worse off, and exactly half felt better off. In other words, our readers feel they’re okay, but the nation is on the skids.
Who is your favorite movie actor? Actress?
Even before they won their Best Actor and Actress Oscars last month, Henry Fonda, 76, and Katharine Hepburn, 72, had already won your hearts. As the crotchety Norman Thayer and his chirpy wife, Ethel, in On Golden Pond, Fonda and Hepburn have also helped the movie gross more than $80 million, showing us what senior clout is all about. Their PEOPLE Poll finish was a first for both, and Hepburn chalked up higher ratings from readers than any actress in the poll’s history.
In second place as favorite actor and favorite actress were another screen couple from the current movie crop: Sally Field (dethroned after wins in 1980 and 1981) and Paul Newman (the ’79 champ). Their showcase: Absence of Malice. Among actors, Robert Redford always has his place, and this year it was third. Fourth was Burt Reynolds and fifth Jack Lemmon, stunning in Missing. Third-place actress was Henry Fonda’s girl, Jane, also buoyant in On Golden Pond, then Meryl Streep, who shone radiantly through the mists in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Fifth was Faye Dunaway, whom everybody loved to hate in Mommie Dearest.
Who is your favorite male singer?
For the third consecutive year Kenny Rogers was tops in pops (across all age groups). Billy Joel, beloved by teens (and 1979’s winner), came in second, followed by the enduring Neil Diamond and Stevie Wonder. There is an interesting split here along age lines: Voting for a runner-up to Rogers, readers opted for Joel up to age 17, for Wonder from 18 to 24 and for Paul McCartney from 25 to 34, after which they graduated to Neil Diamond. After 54, though, it’s Barry Manilow time.
Who is your favorite female vocalist?
Is it time to retire the trophy? Even with a year between albums, Barbra Streisand finished first for her third win in a row. But Diana Ross is so close behind—just .05 of a percentage point separating them—that it is virtually a dead heat. Diana was followed by Olivia Newton-John, Stevie Nicks and Pat Benatar. Livvy’s Physical scored higher with male readers; Benatar ranked first among 12-to-17-year-olds; and Ross swept the 18-to-24-year-olds. With her older audience, Barbra, who’ll be 40 on April 24, better not trust anybody under 30 these days.
What is your favorite music group?
In music, as in taxes, joint returns can pay off. Admiring women voted Hall and Oates No. 1. Two Philly boys on the scene for 11 years, they used a string of hits in 1981 to win. Close behind is another soft-rock pair, Simon and Garfunkel, reunited last fall after an 11-year split. Their Central Park concert has generated a popular cable TV show and a double album that’s sold 450,000 copies. In third place is Foreigner, a mainstream rock group that placed first among hardened teenage listeners. Fourth-place Alabama, with its mellow country sound, is the top choice of the 45-and-overs.
Besides wanting readers to rate personalities, we also asked your feelings about issues large and small. Here are some of the intriguing answers.
Have you tried Rubik’s Cube? Solved it?
Nearly three out of four of those polled have struggled with the maddening little colored squares. In fact, an amazing 97 percent of those under 18 have tried the puzzle, nearly a third with success. Overall, only 17 percent have solved it, with men outnumbering women by 3 to 1.
Do you own a cat? Do you like cats?
One out of four readers owns a cat, but of these, only 87 percent like the critters. (This gives us paws.)
Will a nuclear war take place in your lifetime?
More than half of the readers 24 and under think they will witness a nuclear war. Taken as a whole, respondents of all ages are slightly less pessimistic. Fifty-seven percent do not expect such a conflict.
Are video-game arcades bad for kids?
Some towns would like to ban the arcades, but 58 percent of our readers aren’t worried about the microchip menace. Most enthusiastic are the kids themselves: Only 21 percent thought that any harm could come of hanging out with Pac Man and his buddies.
Do you approve of romances between older men and younger women? How about between older women and younger men?
Readers approve of May-September pairings and feel the same way whether a man or a woman is the older partner. Most tolerant were men and readers between 18 and 44.
Should prayer be allowed in public schools?
Seventy-eight percent of our readers would like to overturn the Supreme Court’s 1962 decision and put prayer back into the classroom. Older readers were most likely to be pro-prayer, whereas nearly one-third of those 18 to 24 would keep prayer out of the classroom.
Is it okay if someone is gay?
As the recent spate of movies indicates, we’re more open-minded about homosexuality. Fifty-five percent of our readers said that gay is okay. Acceptance is highest among young adults, lowest among teenagers.
Do you have any homosexual friends?
Coming out of the closet is a relatively new phenomenon, and our poll reflects it. Among readers 55 and over, 84 percent say they have no homosexual friends. This is also true of 91 percent of teenagers. But among those 25 to 34, nearly one-third say they have a friend who is gay.
Now that you know Billie Jean King had a homosexual affair, do you think less of her?
Sixty-nine percent do not, but women are slightly less supportive of Billie Jean than men. By age groups, once again, teenagers are most uptight about homosexuality, whereas the 25-to-34-year-olds are most accepting.
Should all guns be registered with local police?
A surprise here: A whopping 78 percent of our readers would register all guns, with 64 percent agreeing strongly that this is the best policy. The most insistent are women and those under 25.
Do you believe there will be Social Security when it’s time for you to retire?
A pessimistic 48 percent of our readers say no, they don’t think they’ll ever cash in on Social Security. A little more than a third say yes, they’ll get theirs, and 14 percent aren’t sure. Younger people are most doubtful about there being anything left in the till when their time comes.
If your children are of high school age or younger, do you think that you’ll be able to afford to send them to college?
With annual college costs averaging $5,400 nationwide in nonpublic institutions, and hitting twice that in prestigious schools, 29 percent say no and 18 percent say they aren’t sure. The remaining 53 percent think they can handle it. Teenage parents, interestingly, are more confident (but perhaps less realistic) than the ones facing tuition bills sooner.
Is military spending too high?
Ronald Reagan is sticking to his guns about a military buildup, but 61 percent of the readers polled think such spending is already too high. Men are most hawkish; over-55s most fervently dovish.
Has your weight changed in the past year?
Nearly half of the readers say yes. Of these, a little more than 50 percent gained weight, and 25 percent put on 15 pounds or more. Women are better at losing a little weight, but men are champs at losing a lot, with more than half of them dropping at least 15 pounds. Projecting from our sample, we estimate that PEOPLE’S 25 million readers gained a collective 56,355,000 pounds last year and lost 61,765,000 pounds. Whew!
What do you talk about at parties?
Sex? Money? Power? Crab-grass? Well, you readers yak it up mostly about “relationships, Which might include everything from the latest office affair to your mother-in-law. The second most popular topic is children; that’s in first place after age 45. It’s the marrieds who talk so much about kids, singles who go on (at even greater length) about relationships. Next comes money (men, mostly), then politics, television and dieting.
Would you have a test-tube baby?
Only two American women have borne babies conceived outside the uterus, but 51 percent of our readers said they’d be willing to have a child by this method.
Which professionals do you trust the most? The least?
You can really count on doctors, say 45 percent of the readers. But beware of car mechanics, say 39 percent. Policemen are still our friends, ranking as second most trusted. Lawyers are second least trusted, and journalists (say it isn’t so!) come in third on both counts.
Are the Arabs trustworthy? Are the Israelis?
It’s a broad word, a buzzword. Eighty-two percent of our readers are leery of the Arabs. Lest Zionists rejoice, however, 60 percent distrust the Israelis too, though older respondents show greater sympathy.
Will you be glad, sad or indifferent if the Equal Rights Amendment dies?
If efforts to get three more states to ratify ERA before the June 30 deadline fail, 41 percent will be sad and only 20 percent will be glad. Thirty-seven percent don’t care.
Do you agree with Ronald Reagan that movies were “better when the actors kept their clothes on”?
Quite so, harrumphed 67 percent, the majority of them women. Ninety percent of the over-55 group, who remember the movies he was talking about, couldn’t agree more.
Are you mad at Warren?
We didn’t actually ask that question, but now we wish we had. Nobody (Diane Keaton wasn’t asked) mentioned sexy Warren Beatty, 45, for best-looking this year. What’s more, even with Reds at the nabes, Beatty placed a proletarian 10th among favorite movie actors. Well, at least he can snuggle up to his Best Director Oscar.
What do you think of the Moral Majority?
The Moral Majority also got a drubbing, as readers associated Jerry Falwell with it. A third of those polled had violent reactions (“Throw them in the ocean,” said a woman); another third just didn’t care.
What’s the most boring show on television?
Once again, you fingered Dallas even though it’s Nielsen’s top-rated show. You also yawned over the Somers-less Three’s Company and daytime’s No. 1 soap, General Hospital. And what’s this? In fourth place is the long-running M*A*S*H. Maybe the unit needs a transfusion.
Who is the most boring woman on television?
Last year you’d barely heard of her, and this year she’s the most boring. Morgan Fairchild, 32, played slinky, sexy rich bitches on Happy Days and Mork and Mindy before landing steady mischief-making on Flamingo Road. ‘Tain’t fair, Morgan. Maybe it’s just that mane of yours. Readers are equally bored with another TV blonde, country-pop singer Barbara Mandrell. Ronald Reagan’s first wife, Jane Wyman, is the third most boring—despite (or maybe because of) her comeback on CBS’ Falcon Crest. Valerie Bertinelli and Isabel Sanford wind up tied for fourth on the ho-hum list.
Who is the most boring man on television?
They were beloved fixtures in the old Mary Tyler Moore Show newsroom, but this year people would rather turn off Ted Knight and fellow MTM alum Ed Asner. Maybe Ted really is too close for comfort. And Asner’s bumptious leadership of the Screen Actors Guild may have antagonized readers. Last year Ed finished just behind Alan Alda as everybody’s second favorite guy on the tube. Dallas’ J.R., Larry Hagman, is also wearing thin. Sue Ellen isn’t the only one who would like to be rid of him.