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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Harry Potter might be the most famous boy wizard in the world, but it's brainy Hermione Granger who is casting the biggest spell on fans, according to an online poll released on Tuesday.
Hermione emerged as the most popular character in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series, and Emma Watson, the 19-year-old who plays the schoolgirl, was the actor fans believe will have the best career -- possibly as a sex symbol -- once the eight "Potter" movies have ended.
Actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Potter, laughed off suggestions he might be gay, but told AOL's Moviefone website in an interview; "It's always good to keep them guessing."
With "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" about to open in movie theaters round the world, 39 percent of those questioned in the poll at AOL's Moviefone.com and Bebo.com ranked Granger as their favorite character, with Potter coming in next at 29 percent.
Some 51 percent thought Watson would have the best post-Potter career, with a large majority (67 percent) approving the idea of her appearing naked.
Watson has been quoted as saying she would be prepared to strip for a movie -- but only if it was made by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci.
Radcliffe, who turns 20 years-old next week and who has already bared all in the stage production of "Equus", said he felt for his co-star and the media attention she is now attracting.
"She's always been a very, very pretty girl, and now suddenly that she turned 18, everyone's like 'OK, now she's fair game! Paparazzi!'," Radcliffe told Moviefone.com.
"It is kind of creepy, I did feel bad for her. Men will never know the kind of humiliation of having an upskirt done, which poor old Emma had," he said, referring to pictures of recent "wardrobe malfunctions" by the actress.
Radcliffe said he was aware that he was becoming something of an icon in the gay community. "Some people think I'm gay when I meet them, which I think is awesome. It's always good to keep them guessing," he laughed.
"I don't go on any blogs or chats or anything, but my friends are demons for them, and apparently someone said 'Daniel Radcliffe is gay. He's got a gay face!' I really don't know what a gay face is," Radcliffe said.
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" opens in movie theaters on July 15. Radcliffe, Watson and the rest of the cast are currently filming the two movies of the final book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", which are due out in late 2010 and 2011.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte