A new study places the comedian at the top of the list of favorite deceased stars

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 12, 2005 11:00 AM
Kobal Collection

Lucille Ball, who would have turned 94 last Saturday and has been gone for more than 16 years, is America’s most beloved dead star, according to the national testing company that measures the popularity ratings of celebrities.

“What is there not to like about Lucy?” Steve Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, Inc., tells the Associated Press.

Bob Hope, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Red Skelton follow the lovable redhead on the list, with the Top 10 rounded out by Johnny Carson, John Ritter, The Honeymooners star Jackie Gleason, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and Michael Landon.

In the last few surveys – which are conducted nationwide via mail questionnaire – Tom Hanks proved to be the most popular living star.

Yet deceased stars still do business. Coors beer has used film clips of Wayne; Marilyn Monroe morphed into a Chanel makeup ad, and Fred Astaire has danced to hawk a vacuum cleaner.

Out of 169 personalities tested, diet doctor Robert Atkins had the lowest score. Tupac Shakur and Johnnie Cochran also have high negative ratings, Levitt said.