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TV’s 40 Most Fascinating Stars

I think Dick Van Dyke is the most deserving among the 40 who were chosen. As a 16-year-old who is a big fan of Diagnosis Murder, I was glad to read that he refuses to do violence and sex stuff in the show, even though that’s what network execs and advertisers would like so it will appeal to the younger audience.

Dawn A. Brown, Speedway, Ind.

I am 35, and although I am not exactly a spring chicken, I don’t feel like an old fogey either. I am very confused as to why writers and critics continue to describe Diagnosis Murder as a show for the “Geritol generation.” Do you have to be old to have a sense of humor? Do you have to be old to pick up on the chemistry and caring of the four principal characters? Do you have to be old to choose to watch a show that has values and portrays them instead of programs that consistently show round-robin bedtimes and plots that require no thought at all? I don’t think so, and I know my peers who watch the show don’t think so either.

Name Withheld, Springfield, Ill.

Count me as another big fan of Diagnosis Murder. It’s a great show; my 14-year-old twins and I can watch it together without being embarrassed or grossed out. I teach high school and see firsthand what influence so many “hip” shows have on teens. I promise you, it will come back to haunt us.

Alexis Freeman, San Antonio

Oprah, “the warm fuzzy blanket of daytime television”? I think not! It has been two years since I burned the blanket. Now my friends have, finally, come to see what I saw—a pretentious, name-dropping, guru-of-the-month-club reprobate whose only function, at this point, appears to be convincing others they are as lost as she. I might not be as smart or successful as what’s-her-name, but my mother didn’t raise any fools, and I always know when my chain is being yanked.

Pamela Hill, Pittsburgh

We love Blue’s Clues! For 30 minutes every weekday morning, my 2-year-old twin sons stand in front of the television and shout out words like “clue, Steve and Blue.” By Friday, my boys are counting, singing and solving right along with Steve. Thank you to Steve Burns and the creators of Blue’s Clues for so many smiles. And thank you, PEOPLE, for giving Steve a well-deserved nod.

Kari L. Barber, Round Rock, Texas

I have a question. Is it me or does Rebecca Romijn-Stamos have six toes? Look at the picture on page 60.

L. Gevirtz, Wayne, N.J.

The picture is ambiguous, but Ms. Romijn-Stamos reports that she has only five toes. We believe her.—ED.

I’m 29, and my Thursday nights wouldn’t be the same without Dick Van Dyke and Diagnosis Murder. The appeal for me is the lack of graphic violence and explicit sex.

Christi W. Story, Auburn, Ala.

Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner was an original, and we won’t see another like her for a long time. It would have been fitting to put her on the cover of PEOPLE. She deserved more than a two-page article, considering she was the fastest woman in the world, brought America three gold medals and changed women’s track and field forever. I think you could have put off Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (yawn) and George Clooney (double yawn) for a week, if not a month. They’ll still be here. Unfortunately, Flojo is not. She will be missed.

Natalie Djedje, Toronto

I was upset by a comment about the suspicion that Florence Griffith Joyner used performance-enhancing drugs. Even if that was the case, I don’t feel there is justification for bringing up accusations when she cannot defend herself. She should be remembered for what she accomplished and who she was, not what she may or may not have done.

Kate Mullin, Seattle

Abraham Lincoln

As a lifelong student of Lincoln, I find it preposterous that anyone would even consider the Hoffman photograph a legitimate photo of Lincoln. The height and breadth of the subject’s forehead is wrong; the breadth of his cheekbones compared to the breadth of his jaw is wrong; he has a cleft in his chin, but the chin is much weaker than Lincoln’s; his eyes, nose, mouth, ears, complexion and hands are wrong! You don’t need a computer analysis to determine whether or not this is Abraham Lincoln. Just open your eyes and look! It’s not him!

John Wehrman, Green Bay, Wis.

The Hoffmans truly want to have found a rare photo of the President. However, I think it is clear to anyone in the know that the photo, in fact, is of Ninian Edwards, a brother-in-law to Lincoln and one of his circle of friends in Springfield. That would account for the photo being in the Hay family’s possession, but one look at an early portrait of Edwards would put any questions to rest.

Judith Cole, North Quincy, Mass.

Whoever believes that that 1843 photo is a picture of Abraham Lincoln might want to buy my Polaroid picture of Betsy Ross!

Bill Johnson, Texas City, Texas

Valerie Emerson

While I do agree on Valerie Emerson’s right to decide what medication to give her child, I lose the ability to feel sorry for her after reading the whole article. She has three children by a man she describes as violent and a total of four children for the welfare system to raise. Yes, it is a sad story, but so is raising children in a violent home.

Kathy Olson, Calgary, Alta.

As a mother myself, I was moved by Valerie Emerson’s love and devotion to Nikolas and her other children. My heart goes out to her and them.

Lisamarie Newsom, New York City

Marv Albert

Hmmm. Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, is unhappy that Marv Albert got a job again? Would that be the same Patricia Ireland whom I saw on Larry King Live last week defending President Clinton? I guess her moral outrage hinges on whether or not she has something personal at stake. Give it up, Patricia! You certainly don’t speak for women, and you have seriously damaged any credibility you once had.

J. Morrow, Clayton, N.C.

Ruth Whitney

I started reading Cosmopolitan in 1983 at the age of 14. I was hooked after my first issue and never missed one until nearly 15 years later when Helen Gurley Brown retired and Bonnie Fuller took over. She changed everything and geared her fashion and editorial content toward the “under-21 crowd.” I hated everything. After giving the new editor a few months, I finally stopped buying it. Now she’s going to take over Glamour, my second all-time favorite? Yikes! Is Condé Nast on a suicide mission? Ruth Whitney is right to fear for the future of her life’s work. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may be a cliché, but its sentiment is not. Thank God for INSTYLE!

Marie Griffith, Davis, Calif.


I was shocked and outraged when Tommy Lee referred to the fact that his wife, Pamela Anderson Lee, sent him only two letters in jail and only spoke to him 10 times as “pathetic.” Pamela set a good example by staying away from her abusive husband. Many women in similar relationships would do well to take a lesson from her.

Amy M. Katz, Brooklyn

Tommy Lee thinks it’s pathetic that he only got two letters from Pamela while he was in jail. Had it been me, he would’ve gotten none!

Barrie Takaoka, Puunene, Hawaii