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Beatles top Variety 100-year entertainment poll

Louis Armstrong, Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart also made the top 10
/ Source: Reuters

The Beatles were singled out Friday as the most influential entertainers of the past 100 years, beating out the likes of Elvis Presley, Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Mouse, according to a survey conducted by show business newspaper Variety.

Behind the Fab Four’s first-place finish, were in alphabetical order: jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong, television comedienne Lucille Ball, movie legends Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Charlie Chaplin, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, cartoon hero Mickey Mouse and singers Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.

Variety said the Beatles were named “Icons of the Century” because they were the entertainment personalities who made the biggest impact on the industry and the world in the past 100 years.

The newspaper published a list of 100 entertainers from all branches of show business, including actors, directors, screenwriters, musicians, television presenters, animals, comedians and cartoon characters. Among other names on the list were Johnny Carson, Johnny Cash and Lassie.

The winners were chosen by Variety editors based on polling of entertainment industry professionals and Variety staff and by online voting by the public on

Among the criteria for selection were a performer’s commercial, creative, political and social impact and even whether their image was presented — like James Dean’s — on a t-shirt.

The list was to be published in Variety’s Sunday issue to celebrate the paper’s 100th anniversary. “It seemed only natural to celebrate 100 of the people who gave us something to talk about,” said Steven Gaydos, the paper’s executive editor.