By Dorothy Pomerantz
In the movie "Saving Mr. Banks," a crucial plot point hangs on whether Walt Disney will make "Mary Poppins" an animated film. He promises author P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) that he won't. But we all know that parts of the film were animated. So is he lying or just carefully choosing his words?
How you feel about the movie depends a lot on this question. If you see Disney as a manipulative liar trying to trick Travers, the film doesn't really work. But if you trust Disney that the small bits of animation he plans to add to the film won't take away from Travers' vision, the film is a sentimental triumph.
To sell the moment, the filmmakers turned to the most trustworthy of all actors: Tom Hanks. Although he didn't land an Oscar nomination for his role, Hanks won universal praise for his portrayal of the prickly legend and the $35 million film earned $100 million at the box office.
Hanks is the most-trustworthy celebrity in Hollywood, according to our most recent Forbes/E-Score list. For its E-Score Celebrity service, E-Poll Research ranks more than 6,600 bold-faced names based on 46 attributes. When E-Poll looked at a combination of trustworthiness and appeal, Hanks came out on top. His trustworthy score was 25 and his appeal was 81 giving him combined score of 106.
"Trustworthy, like influential, can be very subjective descriptors based on the nature of their celebrity. For the most part, it reflects how genuine people perceive that person to be," says Gerry Philpott, president of E-Poll Market Research, which provides the E-Score data. "It positively impacts a celebrity's 'brand' for getting top roles and endorsements if consumers see them as credible and believable."
Only a few people know how trustworthy Hanks is in real life. What people trust is his image. In film after film Hanks has reinforced his persona of the nice, dependable guy. Although he doesn't do endorsements, Hanks could make a fortune offering that persona to marketers who would love to have Hanks speaking up for their products.
Morgan Freeman, who in the past has topped the trustworthy list, ranks third this year. Freeman is one of the few trustworthy celebrities who uses his persona to shill products. Anyone watching the Olympics this year regularly hears Freeman's distinct voice in Visa ads. He's also made hay out of goofing on his own image. In the new "Lego Movie" Freeman voices Vitruvius, a blind Lego guru who has his share of silly lines. Freeman gets a 21 for trustworthiness and an 82 for appeal.
Sandwiched in between Freeman and Hanks is Carol Burnett. She gets a 24 for trustworthiness and an 80 for appeal. Considering those numbers, maybe someone should give the comic legend another show. Though she sometimes pops up in cameos on shows like "Hot in Cleveland" and "Glee," Burnett mostly stays out of the limelight. She was recently nominated for an Emmy for the audio version of her book "Carrie and Me" about her daughter who passed away at age 38.
Michael J. Fox ranks fourth with a 26 trustworthy score and a 76 for appeal. NBC was hoping to ride the star's appeal all the way to the bank with "The Michael J. Fox Show." But the show, loosely based on Fox's struggles with Parkinson's Disease, is at a serious risk of being canceled. It has been pulled from NBC's lineup for now.
Rounding out the top 5 is Betty White. Best known for "Golden Girls," White has staged something of a comeback over the last few years with films like "The Proposal" and TV shows like "Off Their Rockers" where older people pull pranks. At the age of 92 she is still beloved and shows no signs of slowing down. White scores a 22 for trustworthiness and a 79 for appeal.
Morgan Freeman, who also has portrayed a president or two, also pitched Obama to the nation. It must be fun to be labeled trust worthy and have millions of bucks and be able to be a person of principal and not one who has to answer to the company store all the time.
Not sure I would trust anyone in Hollywood. All seem to have a liberal agenda, only a small handful are smart enough to simply do the job they are paid for and shut the heck up.
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