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Billy Graham set a record on Gallup’s ‘Most Admired Man’ list

Billy Graham speaks with Pope John Paul II in 1993. After their first meeting in 1981, Graham had said “after only a few minutes, I felt as if we had known each other for many years.” Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

(RNS) — Evangelist Billy Graham has been ranked among the top 10 in the Gallup Poll’s  “Most Admired Man” list more times — 61 —  than any other man since Gallup began the poll of Americans in 1948.

That’s also more times than any woman has appeared on its “Most Admired Woman” list.

The Gallup Organization owed Graham’s record-breaking appearances on the list in part to his longevity. Graham died on Wednesday (Feb. 21) at the age of 99. To make the list, you must be a living person.

Graham never held the top spot on the list, a position most often claimed by sitting presidents. He held the second spot eight times. After Graham, Ronald Reagan holds the next highest number of appearances in the top-10 list: 31.

Looking across several decades, here’s how he ranked in relation to presidents and other influential leaders:

2004

President Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan greet Billy Graham, left, at the National Prayer Breakfast held at the Hilton Washington on Feb. 5, 1981. Photo courtesy of the White House/Creative Commons

1. George W. Bush

5. Billy Graham

1999

1. Bill Clinton

2. Billy Graham

1992

1. George H.W. Bush

5. Billy Graham

1982

1. Ronald Reagan

2. Pope John Paul II

3. Billy Graham

Evangelist Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II met privately for 30 minutes earlier this month, during which time Mr. Graham presented Pope John Paul II with a handsome quilt from the North Carolina mountains near his home. This capped three days of meetings with Vatican officials. Photo courtesy Billy Graham Foundation

Evangelist Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II met privately  in 1990, and Graham presented the pope with a quilt from the North Carolina mountains near his home. Photo courtesy Billy Graham Foundation

1980

1. Pope John Paul II

2. Jimmy Carter

4. Billy Graham

1978

1. Jimmy Carter

2. Pope John Paul II

3. Billy Graham

1974

1. Henry Kissinger

2. Billy Graham

3. Gerald Ford

1969

1. Richard Nixon

(1971) President Lyndon B. Johnson (left) chats with Billy Graham during the Greater Southwest Billy Graham Crusade in Irving, Texas. Religion News Service file photo

President Lyndon B. Johnson, left, chats with Billy Graham during the Greater Southwest Billy Graham Crusade in Irving, Texas, in 1971. RNS file photo

2. Billy Graham

1965

1. Lyndon Johnson

4. Billy Graham

1955

1. Dwight Eisenhower

9. Billy Graham

Source: The Gallup Organization

About the author

Yogita Patel

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