1. MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN BEST-DRESSED WOMAN
Though she was admired as much for her common touch as her star quality, voters ranked Princess Diana above all others in these two categories. As a beauty she received 24 percent of the vote, above the patrician Princess Grace (23 percent), wholesome Julia Roberts (19 percent), sultry Elizabeth Taylor (17 percent) and exotic Lena Home (11 percent). As a keenly observed fashion plate, Diana claimed 37 percent of the vote, over sophisticated Jacqueline Onassis (28 percent), pixieish a Audrey Hepburn (17 percent), classic Princess Grace (10 percent) and man-tailored Katharine Hepburn (4 percent).
2. FAVORITE PRESIDENT
JOHN F. KENNEDY
FAVORITE FIRST LADY
John F. Kennedy got the presidential seal of approval from 36 percent of our voters. Ronald Reagan came in second with 25 percent, followed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (18 percent), Bill Clinton (10 percent) and Harry Truman (8 percent). Among men, however, JFK and Reagan tied for first place, with 29 percent of the vote apiece. Our race for favorite First Lady was no contest. The iconic Jacqueline Kennedy nabbed 37 percent of the vote, compared with 23 percent for human rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt, 18 percent for literacy leader Barbara Bush, 14 percent for health-care advocate Hillary Clinton and 6 percent for Betty Ford, who destigmatized alcoholism and addiction.
3. FAVORITE MALE MOVIE STAR
He’s the world’s No. 1 box office draw, earning $20 million per picture and rave reviews from our respondents, who heaped 39 percent of the vote upon strong, silent Harrison Ford. Paul Newman (with 18 percent) was a distant second, followed by Tom Cruise (15 percent), Cary Grant (12 percent) and Sidney Poitier (11 percent).
4. FAVORITE ATHLETE
Airborne basketball superstar Michael Jordan, with 41 percent of the vote, KO’d runner-up Muhammad Ali, who may still be the Greatest but received just 25 percent of our vote. Far behind were baseball legend Babe Ruth (18 percent), gymnastics wonder girl Mary Lou Retton (8 percent) and tennis darling Chris Evert (4 percent).
5. GREATEST SPIRITUAL LEADER
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Respondents share Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of racial equality. The Nobel Peace Prize winner received 28 percent of the vote, compared with 24 percent for evangelist Billy Graham, 20 percent for nonviolence practitioner Mahatma Gandhi, 18 percent for liberal thinker Pope John XXIII and (sorry, Richard Gere) only 5 percent for Tibet’s tireless Dalai Lama. Americans over 45, though, preferred Graham by a margin of 2 to 1.
6. SEXIEST WOMAN
Even 37 years after her death she remains a goddess. Her used makeup cart sold for $266,500 in October at Christie’s auction. So it’s no surprise that respondents were seduced by the considerable charms of Marilyn Monroe. The blonde bombshell received 32 percent of the vote, vs. 28 percent for Sophia Loren, 22 percent for Raquel Welch, 8 percent for Bo Derek and 6 percent for Brigitte Bardot. But our other sex symbols proved alluring as well. Welch won among respondents aged 35 to 44, and Loren was tops with those over 45,
7. FAVORITE COUNTRY MUSIC STAR
He has friends in low places—and loads of other places too. The winner, by a country mile, was Garth Brooks (33 percent). Patsy Cline came in second (19 percent), followed by Johnny Cash (16 percent), Dolly Parton (15 percent) and Hank Williams (11 percent). Those over 45, however, chose the immortal Patsy Cline.
8. FAVORITE TV HOST
Heeeere’s Johnny! The Tonight Show’s likable Carson, known for his perfect comic timing, took 38 percent of the total vote, stealing the spotlight from sympathetic Oprah Winfrey (27 percent), sarcastic David Letterman (15 percent), really big showman Ed Sullivan (12 percent) and sensitive guy Phil Donahue (5 percent). But Oprah won the loyalty of women and those under 35.
9. MOST INTRIGUING PERSON
He was a poor student as a child growing up in Munich but went on to formulate the revolutionary theory of relativity and explain the structure of the cosmos. In a close race for first place respondents chose brilliant physicist Albert Einstein, with 24 percent of the vote, over civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (22 percent), charismatic President John F. Kennedy (20 percent) and populist Princess Diana (20 percent). In last place were father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, with 6 percent of the vote, and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, with 5 percent.
10. MOST INSPIRING WOMAN
Her devotion to the destitute struck a chord with our voters. A full 63 percent of respondents’ hearts went out to Nobel Peace Prize winner and saint of the streets Mother Teresa, compared with 23 percent for disabled barrier-breaker Helen Keller and 12 percent for eloquent Holocaust victim Anne Frank.
11. SEXIEST MAN
So just what is Mel Gibson’s lethal weapon? PEOPLE’S first Sexiest Man Alive still ranks as the favorite—even when compared with past lover boys like Clark Gable and James Dean. With 33 percent of the vote, Gibson won by a landslide over Gable (18 percent), Brad Pitt (16 percent), Dean (13 percent) and Marlon Brando (8 percent).
12. MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT
THE MOON LANDING
A new frontier was irresistible to our respondents, who ponied up 33 percent of the vote for Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing. Right behind (23 percent of the total vote, and in first place with females) was the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. Tied for second place overall (23 percent) was the landmark 1957 desegregation of public schools in Little Rock, followed by the 1989 collapse of the Berlin Wall (17 percent) and Charles Lindbergh’s historic 1927 flight across the Atlantic (3 percent).
13. FAVORITE MALE POP STAR
Was it the way he moved his hips, the way he curled his lip or the music itself that was so compelling? Our voters couldn’t help falling in love with the King. Elvis was cited by 30 percent, walloping the Boss (Bruce Springsteen, with 19 percent), the self-proclaimed King of Pop (Michael Jackson, with 17 percent), Ol’ Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra, with 16 percent) and Bob Dylan (14 percent).
14. GREATEST VISIONARY
THE PERSONAL COMPUTER
FAVORITE ANIMATED CHARACTER
The first category goes to the man who made a multimedia empire out of a mouse. Walt Disney garnered 30 percent of the total vote, beating out Henry Ford (24 percent), Microsoft’s Bill Gates (24 percent) and 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (20 percent). More men and respondents over 45, however, saw Ford as their futurist. And though Gates came in third, respondents elected the personal computer as the century’s greatest innovation (with 51 percent of the vote) over television (27 percent), air conditioning (13 percent), the microwave oven (7 percent) and parity hose (2 percent). But what’s up, doc? When it comes to animated characters, wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny topped Mickey Mouse 31 percent to 29 percent, followed by caveman Fred Flintstone (19 percent), underachiever Bart Simpson (12 percent) and vampy Betty Boop (6 percent).
15. FAVORITE TV DAD
Paging Dr. Cliff Huxtable. Dispensing gentle wisdom in a homey sweater to his five children, role model Bill Cosby walked away with this honor by a margin of 5 to 1. The comedian, who kept The Cosby Show at the top of the Nielsens for five seasons, received 64 percent of the vote, compared with 12 percent for My Three Sons’ Fred Mac-Murray, 10 percent for Father Knows Best’s Robert Young, 8 percent for Ozzie & Harriet’s Ozzie Nelson and 3 percent for The Brady Bunch’s Robert Reed.
16. FAVORITE FEMALE SINGER
Aretha Franklin gets plenty of R-E-S-P-E-C-T from our respondents. With 25 percent of the vote, the Queen of Soul won the battle of the divas over Barbra Streisand (24 percent), Madonna (20 percent), Diana Ross (16 percent) and Judy Garland (8 percent). Women, though, slightly preferred Streisand, while respondents under 35 picked the Material Girl.
17. FAVORITE TEEN IDOL
Can’t please everyone, as our winner’s famous song goes, but voters selected Ozzie and Harriet’s own Ricky Nelson (23 percent) over singing Partridge David Cassidy (19 percent), ex-Menudo Ricky Martin (17 percent), beach baby Frankie Avalon (15 percent) and Monkee Davy Jones (12 percent). But women elected Cassidy, and those under 35 picked Martin.
18. FAVORITE COMEDIAN
A landmark TV show meant only so much to our voters. Just 27 percent of total respondents love Lucy, and Jerry Seinfeld means nothing to all but 14 percent. The comedy crown went instead to Saturday Night Live alum turned movie star Eddie Murphy, who received 30 percent of the vote. Rounding out the also-rans were entertainer to the troops Bob Hope (17 percent) and Little Tramp Charlie Chaplin (6 percent). The ever-zany Lucille Ball did get the most laughs, however, from women and respondents over age 35, who ranked her No. 1.