May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

In addition to Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow and the 48 other one-of-a-kind faces that grace this edition of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World, we’re offering a two-fer this year: Beginning on page 194, photographer George Lange captures nine sets of famous fraternal and identical twins. “I’ve never before met siblings who took such good care of each other,” says Lange of the 11-year-old Olsens, former Bay-watch star Alexandra Paul and her firefighter sister, Caroline, and the rest. “The closeness was universal.”

The same can be said of the early relationships forged by the five twins on staff at PEOPLE, where dynamic duos have been celebrated since 1974, when Richard B. Stolley, a fraternal twin himself, was appointed founding editor. News bureau assistant Suzanne Jones, 35, says that she and identical sibling Stephanie, a producer at Nickelodeon, have remarkably similar tastes: “When we were 5, our mother took us Christmas shopping separately, to buy presents for each other. We chose the exact same doll.” While the Joneses live just blocks apart in Brooklyn, London bureau chief Lydia Denworth, 31, is 3,500 miles from brother Michael, a Philadelphia-based grad student at Penn State. Being a twin, Lydia notes, leaves one hungry for an experience that isn’t shared. Michael, she says, “used to tell me that in the six minutes before I was born, he flew on the Concorde to Italy.”

Editorial assistant Mari Parks, 33, recalls, “I was the bookworm,” while fraternal twin Danielle “was more social.” Now, says Danielle, a customer service supervisor at Closet Maid in Ocala, Fla., “We’re surprised at how the same things matter to us—family, health and well-being.”

Sharing a birth date with news desk assistant Richard Williams, 39, could be trying for his sister, Renita Price. In junior high, “We had a take-home test, and Richard copied mine,” she remembers. “I got a 45. The teacher said, ‘Since you want to split the work, I’ll split the grade.’ ” But these days, Price, who works at Houston’s Memorial Hospital, loves the way daughter Dorita, 2, resembles Richard: “They both have a mischievous grin.”

PEOPLE business manager David Geithner, 32, says that he finds it “comforting” to think of identical sib Jonathan, an analyst at an Alexandria, Va., think tank. They call each other weekly, “but we don’t need to talk, because there’s a fundamental understanding between us,” says David. “I feel his presence all the time.”

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