By People Staff
Updated December 27, 2002 01:00 AM

Tom Hanks, 46, has replaced Julia Roberts, 35, in the hearts of American moviegoers and has emerged as the nation’s favorite star, according to the results of a new Harris Poll released Thursday.

The dual Oscar winner, who costars with Leonardo DiCaprio in Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” headed the annual measuring stick, followed by Mel Gibson, 46, and the third-ranked Roberts, who over the past few years has ended up near the top of the list.

Harrison Ford, 60, came in fourth, followed, in order, by Sean Connery, 72, and the legendary John Wayne, who died in 1979.

Denzel Washington, 48, was No. 7, followed by Clint Eastwood, 72; Tom Cruise, 40; and Sandra Bullock, 38, the only woman, besides Roberts, to make the grade.

While Hanks is the clear favorite among men, Roberts still holds the top position among women. She was also the favorite among 18- to 29-year-olds.

Last year, Roberts became the first woman to top the poll, while Hanks clocked in at second. But this year she was in the turkey “Full Frontal.” Her other movie, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” didn’t open until this Friday.

Harris has been polling Americans on their favorite stars since 1993. Consistently, the name of John Wayne pops up on the list.