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In the News: Billy Graham on 'Most Admired' List 61 Times
Social & Policy Issues

In the News: Billy Graham on 'Most Admired' List 61 Times

The Rev. Billy Graham, the renowned Christian evangelist who died at age 99 on Wednesday, holds the remarkable distinction of having appeared on Gallup's Top 10 "Most Admired Man" list 61 times, more than any other man since the annual listing began in 1948 -- and more than any woman has appeared on the companion Top 10 "Most Admired Woman" list.

Most Appearances in Gallup's Top 10 Most Admired List: 1948-2017
Men Women
No. of times No. of times
Billy Graham 61 Queen Elizabeth II 49
Ronald Reagan 31 Margaret Thatcher 34
Jimmy Carter 28 Oprah Winfrey 30
Pope John Paul II 27 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 28
Bill Clinton 25 Hillary Rodham Clinton 26
Dwight Eisenhower 21 Mamie Eisenhower 21
Richard Nixon 21 Barbara Bush 20
George H.W. Bush 20 Margaret Chase Smith 20
Harry Truman 20 Nancy Reagan 19
Nelson Mandela 20 Mother Teresa 18
Bill Gates 18 Clare Boothe Luce 18
Edward Kennedy 18 Condoleezza Rice 17
Winston Churchill 17 Betty Ford 17
George W. Bush 16 Mme Chiang Kai-Shek 17
Colin Powell 16 Helen Keller 17
Douglas MacArthur 15 Patricia Nixon 15
Barack Obama 12 Eleanor Roosevelt 14
Henry Kissinger 12 Maya Angelou 12
Pope Paul VI 12 Elizabeth Dole 11
Jesse Jackson 11 Barbara Walters 11
Adlai Stevenson 11 Laura Bush 11
Albert Schweitzer 11 Lady Bird Johnson 11
Herbert Hoover 10 Indira Gandhi 11
Pope Pius XII 10 Michelle Obama 10
Princess Diana 10

Graham achieved fame as a young evangelist in the late 1940s and 1950s when his rallies attracted increasingly large crowds and his influence spread, fueled in part by news coverage in Hearst newspapers and LIFE magazine. He subsequently became widely known for his worldwide evangelistic crusades that attracted millions of people and for his radio and television broadcasts heard and seen around the world. He also was known as the preacher to the presidents, and he met in person with every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, as well as Donald Trump before his presidency.

A 2005 Gallup poll showed that 85% of Americans said they had seen Graham on television at some point in their lives; 52% had heard him on the radio, and 16% reported having seen him in person.

Graham first appeared on Gallup's "Most Admired Man" list in 1955 and has been among the nation's top 10 most admired men every year since then, except in 1962 when he dropped out of the top 10 and in 1976 when Gallup did not publish the traditional Top 10 list.

Graham's 61 appearances on the list are far ahead of Ronald Reagan's 31 appearances, Jimmy Carter's 28 and Pope John Paul II's 27. Queen Elizabeth II's 49 appearances on the Top 10 "Most Admired Woman" list tops that category. Graham owes his remarkable record for being among the nation's most admired men in part to his longevity. The list requires that those named be living -- thus cutting short the number of appearances for people such as John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower, who did not live until they were almost 100, as did Graham.

Graham held the No. 2 spot on the list eight times -- from 1969 through 1974, and again in 1997 and 1999 -- but never appeared as the No. 1 most admired man, a distinction usually held by the sitting president.

In 2017, even at his advanced age and despite not having appeared in public for years, Graham placed fourth on the "Most Admired Man" list, trailing only Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Pope Francis.


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