Who is the best-looking woman in America?
If men had had their way, Dallas’ Victoria Principal and John’s Bo Derek would have been forced into a tie-breaking mud-wrestle for first place. But noooo. With female readers supporting her in force, Dynasty’s blond bombshell Linda Evans emerged as the fairest in the land, elbowing aside Victoria by a mere .2 percent of the vote and consigning poor Bo to fourth place. At 40, lovely Linda rose from last year’s fourth-place finish to take the title from the 1982 winner, Jaclyn Smith. This year Smith tied for third place with Elizabeth Taylor, 51, who received her heaviest support from readers over 35—obviously a group more inclined to believe that old saw about not getting older but getting better. Alas, Our Miss Brooke doesn’t seem to be Your Miss Brooke; she finished seventh overall, and even among her contemporaries, Shields was outdistanced by ageless cover girl Cheryl Tiegs.
Who is the best-looking man in America?
It wasn’t even close. Tom Selleck, Hawaii’s greatest gift to civilization since the pineapple, won hunks down. P.I. must stand for Perfectly Irresistible, since the 38-year-old Magnum star pulled an unprecedented quarter of all votes cast. Toupee or not toupee may be the question besetting chronic also-ran Burt Reynolds, 47, but thanks to male voters he still managed to grab second place from Robert Redford, winner of the first three PEOPLE polls, who this year dropped to third. It isn’t that Bob, at 45, has lost his looks, he’s just been hiding them; he hasn’t appeared in a film since 1980. The Verdict on Paul Newman: fourth, with most of his votes coming from women and readers over 35. Tied for fifth were Clint Eastwood and an actor who hasn’t made a movie since 1964. Still, when you live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, people remember.
Whom would you most like to change bodies with?
There will be no invasion of the body switchers this year, at least not if our readers have their say. PEOPLE people will stick with their own bodies, thank you. Among women, a plurality of 12 percent voted to switch with “no one,” while 9 percent admitted to wanting Victoria Principal’s corpus delectable and 8 percent would trade with Bo Derek. Our male readers know what they want in a bod: They want Tom Selleck (6’4″, 200) or “no one” 5 at all, both choices garnering 16 percent of the tally. ” Burt Reynolds was in second again. Arnold
Schwarzenegger muscled into third. Jocks fared poorly here, although pitcher (and Jockey shorts pitchman) Jim Palmer received I what might be called a brief mention.
In TV and music Stefanie, Kenny and Barbra are tops—again
Who is your favorite TV actor?
Surprise—it’s not Alan Alda! After four straight wins, we retired Hawkeye to the PEOPLE Poll Hall of Fame. Instead, uncork that magnum again, Tom Selleck fans, your favorite shamus (who was second last year) edged out Hart to Hart’s Robert Wagner by a mustache. Third was Dynasty’s John Forsythe (tops among readers over 55), followed by Hill Street Blues’ steely-eyed Daniel J. Travanti, whom men preferred (slightly) even to Selleck.
Who is your favorite TV actress?
America has found its own Princess Stefanie. As the gorgeous gumshoe on Hart to Hart, the Powers that beguiles you copped first place for the second straight year. Dynasty’s Linda Evans (No. 1 among 18-to-24s came in second, followed by Hill Street’s sultry public defender Veronica Hamel and voluptuous Victoria Principal. Movin’ On Up to fifth was The Jeffersons’ Isabel Sanford.
Who is your favorite morning TV personality?
Good news for Good Morning America’s David Hartman, who won with both sexes and is especially popular with the 18-to-44s. Phil Donahue came in second, followed by the Today Show’s Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley and, in fifth, the truly eye-opening Richard Simmons.
Who is the national news personality you trust most?
CBS’ $8 million Dan won, but Rather’s well-loved predecessor, Walter Cronkite, while out of sight, is hardly out of mind. Uncle Walter was second overall, but he’s still first in the hearts of the 25-44s. ABC’s Ted Koppel and Frank Reynolds tied for third, followed by NBC’s Tom Brokaw, whose co-anchor’s name is Mudd: He came in ninth.
Who is the national news personality you trust least?
Get it over with—it’s Barbara Walters. She didn’t do too badly with women and older Americans, but men and the 18-34s did her in. Oddly, most-trusted Rather came in second least-trusted. Roger Mudd was third, Frank Reynolds fourth, and old acid-questions himself, Mike Wallace, finished fifth.
What’s your favorite prime-time show?
Not so very long ago it almost died of anemic ratings, but an 11th-hour rave wave along the TV critics’ beat saved Hill Street Blues from a real bummer. Now it leads your list, with a big boost from male readers. But hey, let’s be careful out there, next year you Hill Streeters may get mugged by Dynasty, which finished a dangerously close second. M*A*S*H (RIP) came in third. Proving you-know-who doesn’t finish first in every category, Magnum, P.I. slogged in at fourth place, followed by the degenerate Dallas.
What is your least favorite TV show?
Three’s Company, says our crowd. Laverne & Shirley (sans Shirley) ranked second, followed, inexplicably, by two favorites, Dallas and Hill Street Blues. Fickle readers! Surprisingly, nearly 15 percent of you said you didn’t have a “least favorite” show. Now That’s Incredible.
Do you watch daytime soap operas? If so, what’s your favorite?
Lust in the afternoon appeals to nearly half of our readers (47 percent, mostly women and those under 35). To you soap viewers, All My Children is the best, trailed by General Hospital, Days of Our Lives and Guiding Light. Will Erica stop whining? Will Dr. Martin die of terminal understanding? Will Dr. Hardy ever see a patient? Tune in tomorrow.
Would you appear with your family on Family Feud?
Caught between dignity and a chance at 10 grand, 56 percent would go for the cash.
Should Johnny Carson be replaced?
A resounding 67 percent say Johnny should stay put as king of late-night comedy. Besides, who would take in Doc and Ed?
Who is your favorite male singer?
Boring. Kenny Rogers is tops in pops for the fourth straight year, with Billy Joel and Neil Diamond locked in a tie for second place. Next comes Paul McCartney, followed by the only new face among the top five, Lionel Richie.
Who is your favorite female singer?
Enough already. Barbra Streisand also wins for the fourth straight year. She finished a nose ahead of Diana Ross, who was followed by Olivia Newton-John, Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt. Pat Benatar owns the 12-17s, Barbara Mandrell the over-55s.
What is your favorite music group?
It’s two in a row for Hall and Oates. The Philadelphia duo beat out Alabama (the fave of women and readers over 35) and Fleetwood Mac (No. 1 among 18-to-24s). Up from Down Under, Men at Work worked their way into fourth on the basis of their debut album, Business As Usual.
Who is the funniest person in America?
No, you wise guys, Ronald Reagan did not win this one, though a whimsical 1 percent of the readers thought he should. America laughs hardest at Richard Pryor, who broke you up in three feature films last year. (Bob) Hope springs eternal, especially for the over-55s, and managed to finish second overall. Wild and crazy voters placed Steve Martin third, while the only funny female in the running was Joan Rivers, who finished fifth.
Do you trust your President? No? How about a woman in the White House?
Should Ronald Reagan run for reelection?
Poll results this year do not bode well for our President. A solid majority, 59 percent, think he should pack it in after this term. The oft-cited “gender gap” surfaced plainly: Men (44 percent) supported a Reagan rerun more than women (35 percent).
How much of what the President says do you believe?
A faithful 6 percent of you believe everything he says. An extremely turned-off 10 percent don’t believe a single word of it. Nearly two-thirds of you, however, believe him half or less of the time.
Do you like Nancy Reagan?
Last year 50 percent of our readers expressed dissatisfaction with Nancy’s spendthrift ways. This year she has improved her image, winning accolades from two-thirds of you. One 55-plus reader described the First Lady as “a good faithful wife who supports her husband.” Her problem now, apparently, is him.
Whom are you most sick of?
Ooof. This is the kind of contest usually won by hard-core celebrities like Howard Cosell (who was crowned Mr. Boring in the 1979 PEOPLE Poll) and Brooke Shields (last year’s Miss Forgettable), who tied with him for second this year. But in 1983 the President of the United States takes this curse by a landslide, winning (if you call it winning) across the board.
Which political figure do you trust most? Least?
The winner in both categories, for the second consecutive year, is Ronald Reagan, and the Prez’s rating is going the wrong way in both areas. In 1981 36 percent of readers trusted him most. In 1982 it was 29 percent. This year only 23 percent. Runner-up (21 percent) in the “most-trusted” category is “none of them”—talk about cynical! Next comes Ted Kennedy with 7 percent.
In the least-trusted race, Reagan wins with 25 percent of the vote (up from last year’s 21 percent). Gone but not forgotten is Richard Nixon (13 percent) while, 14 years later, the specter of Chappaquiddick is still strong enough to land Kennedy in third (9 percent).
Whom should the Democrats nominate in 1984?
With Ted Kennedy out of the race, Walter Mondale won this mini-primary with 31 percent of the vote. John Glenn got off the ground, if not quite into orbit, with a second-place 25 percent. Nobody else collected more than 6 percent.
If Reagan doesn’t run, whom should the Republicans nominate?
Vice-President George Bush got promoted by 38 percent of our readers. Howard Baker took second (22 percent), and Robert Dole third (10 percent).
How soon will a woman be elected President?
More than half our readers said they expect to see a woman in the White House within 20 years. (But what would her husband be called, one wonders—First Gentleman?) Ironically, fewer men (11 percent) than women (19 percent) feel there will never be a Madame President.
Should women be required to register for the draft?
A woman’s place is on the home front, said 61 percent of our readers. Predictably, the sexes differed widely on this issue. Forty-five percent of men thought there should be a GI Josephine, as opposed to 32 percent of female voters.
Will Social Security be there for you in your old age ?
Our readers are apparently not very secure about Social Security: 46 percent said they could count on it, 48 percent thought not. Most pessimistic were those between the ages of 25 and 44, with 64 percent doubting they’ll ever see a nickel.
Do you favor capital punishment?
Seven out of 10 readers said yes. Men (74 percent) were stronger believers in an eye for an eye than women (67 percent). Teenagers formed the largest anti-capital punishment group.
Is the country better or worse off than it was a year ago?
Recovery may be just around the corner, but 44 percent of you said the country is in worse shape, while only 34 percent thought things had improved. An even one-fifth say they’re about the same. Of course, “about the same” isn’t so great in light of the fact that 57 percent of you considered the country in worse shape last year than in 1981.
Have you, or anyone in your family, been personally affected by unemployment or by the Reagan Administration’s budget cuts?
Happily, 63 percent of you have not been affected. Not so happily, the rest of you have been battered by layoffs and cutbacks in student loans, welfare benefits and disability payments.
Is it a politician’s own business if he uses cocaine?
Nope, snorted our readers. When we counted noses on this question, we found that 73 percent felt politicians should be as pure as the driven snow.
Which world leader do you fear the most?
A mere five months ago you’d probably never heard of Yuri Andropov. Now he’s really got you worried. Well, 43 percent of you, at least. Far behind were the twin madmen of the Middle East—Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi (10 percent) and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini (6 percent). Oh, yes, Ronald Reagan also drew 5 percent of the vote.
Is marriage in these people’s future?
Warren Beatty—Wild Warren, 45, has stayed a bachelor for this long, and 45 percent of you feel that isn’t likely to change. Still, 40 percent of you heard wedding bells in his future (are you listening, Diane?). Fifteen percent didn’t know—or is it care? Prince Rainier—Half of our readers—especially those between 35 and 44—think Rainier, 59, will find a new serene highness. Jackie Kennedy Onassis—Can anybody fill the shoes of a President and a billionaire? Maybe. Sixty-one percent of you say that O will not be 53-year-old Jackie’s last name forever. Yoko Ono—Will John Lennon’s widow, 50, be starting over? Well, you’re no help. Forty-five percent of you say “yes,” and 45 say “no.”
Will this romance last?
We ran a list of celebrity couples past our reader savants and asked the musical question: Will he still love her tomorrow? Though you were not overly optimistic about the long-term chances for any of these relationships, you did seem to feel that Robert Wagner, 53, and Jill St. John, 42, were most likely to make a life together. And considering how many of you thought Warren Beatty would remain a lifelong bachelor, it’s remarkable that you rated his romance with Diane Keaton, 37, as second most durable. You felt that prospects for Burt Reynolds, 47, and Loni Anderson, 36, and for Farrah Fawcett, 36, and Ryan O’Neal, 41, were not so good, and that Woody Allen, 47, and Mia Farrow, 38, might as well call it quits. Mick Jagger, 39, you clucked decisively, will never find satisfaction with Jerry Hall, 26.
Coupling vs. uncoupling and the poop on everything from herpes to Armageddon
Besides asking readers to rate prominent personalities, we also probed your ideas on pressing issues of the day, beginning with a question debated by philosophers for centuries:
Is sex overrated?
The act of love, celebrated so lyrically by poets and romantics, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, said a world-weary 64 percent. Women (68 percent) were more blasé about sex than men, and a full 80 percent of readers over 55 found the pleasures of the flesh to be a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Are you sure we’re talking about the same thing?
Has herpes affected your sex life?
Well, we can’t blame your apparent indifference between the sheets on “Jerry Falwell’s revenge.” More than 90 percent of you reported that herpes hasn’t cramped your style. Among marrieds, only 2 percent said they are affected by the scarlet letter of the ’80s. Among singles, that figure rose to 13 percent.
Would you sunbathe in the altogether at a nude beach ?
Our readers want more than coconut oil between them and the eyes of the world. A bashful 72 percent promised to keep their bathing suits on. Women (85 percent) and readers over 55 (93 percent) are the groups least inclined to skinny-dip. Nearly half of the singles and readers between 18 and 24, though, seemed eager to let it all hang out.
Is it okay for unmarried couples to live together?
Living in sin is no sin, said two-thirds of our readers, a gain of 6 percent since we first asked this question in 1979. Predictably, singles approved of nonmarital cohabitation more often than those who have tied the knot (83 percent to 59 percent). And men countenanced living together (79 percent) more readily than women (57 percent).
Will a nuclear war occur in your lifetime?
Last year 40 percent of our readers expected to go up in a mushroom cloud. This year fewer of you were thinking the unthinkable: only 28 percent. The younger the voters, however, the more they expected to go out with a big bang.
What is the most boring current fad?
Valley Girl slang really barfs out 21 percent of our readers. Almost as grody are video games (19 percent), designer jeans (16 percent), E.T. merchandise (15 per cent) and diet crazes (14 percent). Cat books and jogging are positively tubular by comparison.
Which do you prefer, dogs or cats?
Our readers may not mind cat books, but the fur really flew when we posed this question. Dogs won this perennial bone of contention with a landslide 71 percent of the vote. Put that in your lasagna and eat it, Garfield.
At what age should people be allowed to drink?
Keep kids off the sauce as long as possible, said our readers. More than half (57 percent) set the best age at 21. Predictably, the same percentage of teenagers want to belly up to the bar sooner—at age 18 or 19.
If money were no object, would you have cosmetic surgery?
To paraphrase Billy Joel, you love you just the way you are. More than three-quarters of our readers have no desire to go under the knife for beauty’s sake, though more women (30 percent) than men (12 percent) would like to be re-sculpted. The age groups least inclined to see plastic surgeons are the youngest—who have no wrinkles to remove anyway—and the oldest. Do they think they’re beyond repair?
Are computers making life better?
Yes, say 63 percent of our readers. Especially optimistic about the machine of the year are men (71 percent) and young readers (74 percent). The older you are, however, the more suspicious you are of these newfangled contraptions.
Speaking of technology, would you like a personal robot? What would you have it do?
Male, female, young and old, you all want your very own R2-D2 and you want to work the little fella to the microchip—cleaning, cooking, earning a living. Women readers are particularly interested in robots who iron clothes. Men want machines that will pitch in and do yard work or take out the garbage. Some of you want to make the poor creature go out and get a job, others want a machine that makes love. “I want it to do everything,” said one teenager in St. Paul, Minn., “to be my slave.”
Your favorites for Oscars—and just plain favorites
On April 11 the Motion Picture Academy will present the Oscar winners. In a special mini-poll, we asked you to vote. The envelope, please:
Which movie should win the Oscar for Best Picture?
Despite the thorough sponging of America last Christmas with those Mommy-please-I-want-that spinoffs, tears haven’t dried for Steven Spielberg’s all-time box office champ, E.T., the favorite with a damp 37 percent of our readers. Tootsie ranked second (29 percent) and Gandhi (No. 1 with the over-55s) third, followed by The Verdict and Missing.
Who is your choice for Best Actor?
Dustin Hoffman took an Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer just three years ago, but you’re banking on toot-toot-Tootsie’s good guy to do it again. His savvy, sensitive portrayal won over a whopping 52 percent of you. The Verdict’s Paul Newman, who has never won this award, though he’s been nominated six times, finished second with 27 percent. Gandhi’s Ben Kingsley ran a distant (11 percent) third, and far, far behind were My Favorite Year’s Peter O’Toole and Missing’s Jack Lemmon.
Sophie’s Choice was yours too. Meryl Streep came away a winner with 30 percent of the vote. Sixty-one percent of our readers have never even heard of Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman’s sultry star, but she must have made quite an impression on those who had, finishing second (22 percent) to Streep. Julie Andrews (No. 1 with the over-55s) placed third. Missing from most of your ballots was Sissy Spacek (she finished fourth), and Jessica Lange—nominated for the downbeat Frances—came in last. (Read on, Jessica.)
Best Supporting Actress?
She’s the first actress in 40 years to be nominated in two categories, and although she would rather it were the other way around, our readers feel Jessica Lange will walk away with this one. With 47 percent of the vote, Jessica won for her sweetly vulnerable performance in Tootsie. Victor/ Victoria’s ditzy blonde, Lesley Ann Warren, finished second (23 percent), followed by Tootsie’s Teri Garr, Garp’s Glenn Close and Frances’ Kim Stanley.
Best Supporting Actor?
Ten-hut! Lou Gossett Jr., An Officer and a Gentleman’s demanding drill instructor, was saluted by a commanding 38 percent of you. At ease. The Verdict’s urbane, crafty James Mason captured second with 26 percent. Victor/ Victoria’s gay blade, Robert Preston, came in third, followed by Charles (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) Durning and John (Garp) Lithgow.
Who is your favorite movie actor?
Those eyes, those lips, that salad dressing. Whatever the reason, Paul Newman took the title for the first time since 1979. His role as a boozing, bumbling, has been Boston lawyer in The Verdict drew raves from fans and critics. Not surprisingly, Newman (who placed second to Henry Fonda last year) is a big favorite among women. Dustin Hoffman finished a close second. Robert Red-ford ran third, perennial charmer Burt Reynolds came in fourth and Clint Eastwood placed fifth.
Whos’s your favorite movie actress?
There are other actresses, you know. But apparently this is Meryl Streep’s year. Her brilliant outing in Sophie’s Choice, plus some help from the fawning media, boosted her to the top. (She was fourth last year, when On Golden Pond’s Katharine Hepburn won.) Giddy Goldie Hawn (men voters were her Best Friends) was second, followed by last year’s runner-up, Sally Field. Jane Fonda, who didn’t make a film in 1982, needs a workout in order to pull up that sagging popularity: Third a year ago, she dropped to fourth this time. Surprisingly, Jessica Lange ran a dismal seventh.
Of princes, a soft-core porn queen and a future king
Who is your favorite member of the British royal family?
Our readers know exactly what they want when it comes to royalty—a dimple, a gurgle, even a dirty diaper. In a stunning upset, 9-month-old Prince William outpolled his elders with ease. Amazing; he can’t even talk and he’s your favorite. (Could that be his secret?) Wee Willie’s senior by 82 years, the Queen Mum, came in second, and Queen Elizabeth took third. Despite saving scads of magazines from financial ruin, international cover girl Princess Diana finished a poor fourth, just ahead of her hubby. The least popular Windsor was the irascible Princess Anne. For her, our first Royal Pain award.
Is it okay for Prince Andrew to date a soft-porn starlet?
After helping the Royal Navy defend the Falklands, Randy Andy, 23, behaved like, well, a sailor on shore leave. He flew to the Caribbean to frolic with soft-porn actress Koo Stark, 26. His mom was shocked. PEOPLE readers were not. Let him sow a few wild oats, said a madcap 68 percent of you. Men (76 percent) and readers between 18 and 34 (82 percent) were most inclined to smile upon Andy’s shenanigans.
Is Princess Diana spoiled?
How the mighty have fallen—in this poll, at least. More than half of our voters (52 percent) replied that the future queen is a tad too full of herself. In general, men were more inclined to call Diana spoiled. Only readers over 45 consistently sided with the increasingly camera-shy Di.
Will Charles and Diana live happily ever after?
The honeymoon’s over, kids. Last year 72 percent of you thought this was a marriage made in heaven. This year—after she sulked on the ski slopes and he told her she was being “stupid”—only 58 percent are betting Chuck and Di will grow old together. The greatest pessimism came from folks between 18 and 24—in other words, Diana’s contemporaries. Can this marriage be saved? We’ll see what you think next year.