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America's most beloved celebrities

Some celebrities seem famous despite themselves. They may be talented, but they aren’t necessarily beloved. Some celebrities, though, are not just great at their craft but are also delightful. They are the celebrities we wish we were friends with. It’s always a joy to see them pop up, either in a movie or on a talk show or even on social media. Here are some of America’s most beloved celebrities.

 
1 of 25

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks
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Who could play a beloved celebrity but a beloved celebrity? Hanks is getting Oscar buzz for his upcoming turn as Mr. Rogers, the children’s TV icon. It’s perfect casting because everybody already loved Hanks, a great actor who is almost always charming.

 
2 of 25

Betty White

Betty White
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White has been a national treasure for decades at this point. She’s been on TV since the ‘50s, including hit turns in shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Golden Girls.” Several years ago, a movement was started to get White to host “Saturday Night Live.” That’s the power of Betty White.

 
3 of 25

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt
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Some tabloid folks, and Jennifer Aniston fans, may not love Pitt, but plenty of people do. It’s not just for his shirtless scene in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…” either. He’s a great actor, but not all great actors are necessarily beloved. People seem to like Pitt by and large, though — and have since he broke through in “Thelma and Louise.”

 
4 of 25

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift
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Swift has her naysayers, of course, and not just Kanye West. Nobody is universally popular. Yet the pop star has not just a ton of fans but also a gaggle of SUPER devoted fans. That overpowers the folks who aren’t as into her to get her on this list.

 
5 of 25

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke
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Much like White, Van Dyke has been adored for decades. In addition to his acting turns, the song-and-dance man just seems like a delight. Anytime he shows up on TV, he seems so nice and friendly. The guy has had a barbershop quartet for years. That’s simply charming.

 
6 of 25

Beyonce

Beyonce
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Beyonce has taken the throne from Madonna as the mononymous Queen of Pop. There is less controversy to be found with Beyonce though. Her Beyhive legion of fans are devoted to her to such a level she almost has a cult at her disposal — not that she wants one. Beyonce seems more benevolent than that, although “Lemonade” definitely makes us want to stay on her good side.

 
7 of 25

Conan O'Brien

Conan O'Brien
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Jimmy Fallon has his detractors for him not being political enough, while Stephen Colbert may be too political to be beloved by a super-wide audience (though we think he’s great). Let’s not forget the late-night lifer over on TBS, though. O’Brien has been a late-night host for over 25 years at this point. He’s built a huge fan base that has followed him from time slot to time slot and from channel to channel. O’Brien is so popular that when he started a podcast, it immediately became one of the most popular shows in the world.

 
8 of 25

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock
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The concept of the movie star is changing. There aren’t as many of them as there used to be, but we feel like Bullock is one. She was a huge star in the ‘90s, but “Bird Box” doesn’t become the phenomenon it did without Bullock as the star. On top of that, “Sandy” as she is sometimes called, has always seemed pleasant on talk shows appearances.

 
9 of 25

Jeff Goldblum

Jeff Goldblum
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Goldblum is an internet darling. You can go to YouTube where about a dozen different shows have gotten him to show up to do something. He’s quirky and strange, but his eccentricities just make him more popular. If you’re on Goldblum’s wavelength, you almost certainly love him, and enough people are to get him on this list.

 
10 of 25

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
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“Seinfeld” is an iconic sitcom but a couple of actors from that show have, shall we say, dipped in popularity over the years. That’s not the case with Louis-Dreyfus. In fact, if anything the erstwhile Elaine has just gotten more beloved. The Emmys certainly love her, as her haul from “Veep” proves.

 
Bruce Springsteen
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They call him “The Boss” for a reason. Springsteen has been putting on three-hour concerts for packed crowds across the country, and the world, for years. And the fans eat it up. Can you imagine being excited for a concert that has you on your feet for longer than a playoff baseball game? Springsteen fans sure can, and they are happy to do it.

 
12 of 25

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts
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It seems actresses aren't designated with the moniker of “America’s Sweetheart” anymore. One of the last to earn that label was Roberts. We can certainly see why. She wasn’t just a talented actress but also was one who seemed to ooze charm on screen. That remains true to this day.

 
13 of 25

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for MTV

Sure, Johnson got booed plenty when he was a pro wrestler, but that was because he was supposed to be. Then the man known as “The Rock” for many years turned to acting and, well, he had a knack for it. Johnson is now maybe the biggest action star in the world, and when he isn’t doing that he’s providing his voice to films like “Moana.”

 
14 of 25

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner

The character that really broke McCarthy through to the mainstream in “Bridesmaids” is maybe a tad abrasive, but McCarthy isn’t like that at all. In addition to being a hilarious actress, McCarthy seems like a nice, convivial person. Plus, she’s always working alongside her husband, Ben Falcone, and who doesn’t like to see a couple who gets along that well?

 
15 of 25

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
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Yes, McCartney is British, but only one word is needed to prove his popularity in America: Beatlemania. McCartney and his bandmates took this country by storm, and McCartney has never really lost his popularity. It’s been decades since the Beatles last made music, but McCartney is still out there touring and basking in the love of fans around the world.

 
16 of 25

Brie Larson

Brie Larson
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The Marvel movies are the pinnacle of popular cinema at the moment. There also aren’t a ton of prominent women in the films just yet. One of them is Scarlett Johansson who, shall we say, has said controversial things from time to time. Larson, who starred in “Captain Marvel,” has a better track record. She also has an Oscar for Best Actress.

 
17 of 25

Will Smith

Will Smith
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Smith hustles for our love. He’s a huge movie star and has been for years. Smith was one of the preeminent stars of the ‘90s, and yet he’s all over social media doing stuff to try and garner fans. Smith has been the consummate showman since the Fresh Prince days. That’s how you stay beloved for this long.

 
18 of 25

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler
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Poehler’s most famous role is one of the most likable characters you’ll see on TV in Leslie Knope. However, she’s done so much more than her “Parks and Recreation” role. Back when she helped found the UCB, who would have thought Poehler would become such an adored celebrity. Certainly not the people who got pranked in the hidden camera sketches the quartet used to do on their Comedy Central show.

 
19 of 25

David Harbour

David Harbour
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Harbour was largely an unknown before “Stranger Things” debuted on Netflix. Now he’s an internet darling. Yes, his “Hellboy” remake didn’t dominate the box office, but he’s still Hopper. Harbour will likely be able to ride on the goodwill of that role for years.

 
20 of 25

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
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We’re on a bit of a resurgence in the love for Lopez right now. There was a time when there was a backlash, mostly related to her relationship with Ben Affleck and also the movie “Gigli.” Fortunately for the singer/dancer/actress, she’s largely moved past that. Now she’s beloved again and maybe going to get an Oscar nomination for “Hustlers.”

 
21 of 25

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
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There was a podcast called “Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time. Period.” That speaks to the popularity of Washington as an actor. He’s won an Oscar, he’s starred in big films and he still has name recognition. Also, people seem to think he’s really cool.

 
22 of 25

Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams
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A few “Game of Thrones” actors built up a lot of popularity as a result of the show. Williams, who started playing Arya Stark as a teenager, maybe made the biggest strides. She’s seemed charming and delightful on social media and off the screen. Also, she’s good friends with the also quite popular Sophie Turner, who is a bit more of an acquired taste.

 
23 of 25

Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm
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Hamm starred in one of the most popular dramas of the last 20 years: “Mad Men.” He won an Oscar for it. He’s also appeared in comedies and proved he can be really funny. He reps St. Louis sports. He’s always a great interview. All in all, Hamm is incredibly charming and seems to be able to do whatever he feels like.

 
24 of 25

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
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The Academy certainly loves Streep. It seems to hand her a nomination for every other film she makes, and yet nobody is complaining about that. Movie fans also love her, otherwise she probably wouldn’t keep getting so many chances. She can star in a serious Oscar movie and also sing in a film like “Mamma Mia.” Whatever she’s doing, Streep is garnering more and more fans.

 
25 of 25

Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek
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Who is the most beloved game show host ever? We phrased it in the form of a question in honor of long-standing “Jeopardy!” host, Alex Trebek. Bob Barker had a lot of fans back in the day, but he’s sort of faded from the popular consciousness. That’s not the case for Trebek, who is still hosting “Jeopardy!” even though he’s also been dealing with cancer. It will be a true shock to the system when Trebek is no longer hosting the quiz show and dishing out facts, snark and charm.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

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