Denzel Washington gets top billing in star poll

Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:48pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Denzel Washington, the star of "American Gangster" and "The Great Debaters," topped the list for the second year in a row as America's favorite movie star in a new survey.

The Academy-award winner was also the first choice of Democrats questioned in the annual Harris Poll, while Tom Hanks, the Republicans' favorite actor, captured the number two spot for the second consecutive year. He is currently in theaters playing a hawkish Democrat in "Charlie Wilson's War."

"I think what we're seeing here, is basically their types of movies," Regina Corso, director of the Harris Poll, said in a telephone interview.

"If you think of Tom Hanks -- 'Charlie Wilson's War' notwithstanding -- but if you go back to the 'Forrest Gumps,' the 'Apollo 13s' -- those very traditional, American values-type movies, I think that's why we're seeing Republicans leaning more toward him."

Corso added that that a lot of Washington's movies are racially-charged and most African-Americans are Democrats.

Johnny Depp, the star of "Sweeney Todd" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, rose four places to take the number three position, followed by Julia Roberts, the highest ranked actress on the list.

Will Smith -- star of "I Am Legend" rounded out the top five.

John Wayne, the only deceased star on this year's list, came in sixth place. Wayne is the only actor to rank in the poll's top ten every year since its inception in 1994.

Matt Damon and former James Bond star Sean Connery tied for seventh place, while Sandra Bullock, the only other woman to make the top ten, took the ninth spot and Bruce Willis of "Die Hard" fame came in tenth.

Reuters/Nielsen

 
<p>Director and cast member Denzel Washington poses at the premiere of his movie "The Great Debaters" at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California on December 11, 2007. Washington topped the list for the second year in a row as America's favorite movie star in a new survey. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>