Who were the top TV stars of 1979? Here’s what teens said

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TV stars of 1979 in the Gallup Youth Survey: Ladd, Williams teenagers top TV personalities

By George Gallup

America’s teenagers have favorite television programs and favorite TV stars, but those two categories have surprisingly little to do with each other, according to the latest Gallup Youth Survey.

This week’s survey results, revealing the most popular TV personalities among young viewers, indicate that in many cases those stars are not regulars on the teens’ favorite programs. Indeed, in some cases, the most popular stars are not to be found on regular series at all.

To be sure, there are exceptions — most notably the number one male slot. This was occupied for the second straight year by Robin Williams, star of “Mork and Mindy“, which happens to be the overwhelming favorite program among teens today. But, while “Charlie’s Angels” only earned 10th place in the list of favorite teen programs, one of its stars, Cheryl Ladd, was at the top of the most popular female stars.

And that isn’t all. Another “Angel” Jaclyn Smith, was second on that list, followed by ex-“Angel” Farrah Fawcett. Another graduate of the program, Kate Jackson, was sixth on the female list. While “M*A*S*H” and “Happy Days” were prominent on last week’s most-watched programs list, each show has only one star represented among the favorite male personalities. Alan Alda, of “M*A*S*H” and Henry Winkler, of “Happy Days”, placed fourth and sixth respectively.

The top TV personalities according to teenagers 1979

Meanwhile, Burt Reynolds, who is not in a regular television series, placed second to Robin Williams on the list of favorite male stars, and Clint Eastwood, also not a series regular, placed fifth. Several other male and female stars of programs that were not among the teens’ favorites were, nonetheless, named by teenagers as being among their favorite TV personalities. In another interesting sidelight, while comedies dominated the teens’ list of favorite programs, many top stars — especially on the male list — are to found on crime dramas and other adventure shows.

Both Williams and Ms Ladd were at the top of last year’s lists as well as this year’s. It should be noted, however, that in 1978, the male and female performer categories were combined, and Ms Ladd was preceded by four male stars, while this year two separate lists were compiled.

Teenage girls and boys generally agreed on the personalities that made the lists this year, although the order in which those stars placed was not always the same for both sexes.

For example, while Williams was the favorite overall, and the favorite among teen boys, teenage girls put “CHiPs” star Erik Estrada at the top of their list, just above Williams. Similarly, Ms Ladd placed first on the boys list and on the overall list, but among girl voters, she was second to fellow “Angel” Jaclyn Smith.

The findings, based on telephone interviews conducted last month with a representative national cross-section of over 1,000 teenagers, ages 13-18 are shown in the charts.

TV actresses: Most popular female TV stars of 1979

1979 top female TV personalities

Favorite female TV stars of 1979 (choices of all teenagers)

1. Cheryl Ladd
2. Jaclyn Smith
3. Farrah Fawcett-Majors
4. Suzanne Somers
5. Carol Burnett
6. Kate Jackson
7. Pam Dawber
8. Cheryl Tiegs
9. Loni Anderson
10. Kristy McNichol

Favorite female TV stars (choices of girls)
1. Smith
2. Ladd
3. Burnett
4. Dawber
5. Jackson
6. Somers
7. Fawcett-Majors
8. McNichol
9. Tiegs
10. Lynda Carter

Favorite female TV stars (choices of boys)
1. Ladd
2. Fawcett-Majors
3. Smith
4. Somers
5. Tiegs
6. Anderson
7. Jackson
8. Burnett
9. Carter
10. Dawber

TV actors: Most popular male TV stars of 1979

1979 top male TV personalities

Favorite male TV stars of 1979 (choices of all teenagers)

1. Robin Williams
2. Burt Reynolds
3. Erik Estrada
4. Alan Alda
5. Clint Eastwood
6. Henry Winkler
7. Robert Urich
8. Robert Conrad
9. John Ritter
10. James Garner

Favorite male TV stars (choices of girls)
1. Estrada
2. Williams
3. Reynolds
4. Alda
5. Urich
6. John Travolta
7. Winkler
8. Shaun Cassidy
9. Scott Baio
10. Eastwood

Favorite male TV stars (choices of boys)
1. Williams
2. Reynolds
3. Eastwood
4. Alda
5. Winkler
6. Conrad
7. Estrada
8. Urich
9. Ritter
10. Garner

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