Who is the most beautiful person in the world? According to users of "People" magazine's website, the answer is Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf.
As they have for three years now, "People Online" staged the poll in conjunction with the annual Most Beautiful People issue of its print counterpart, and offered a collection of celebrity nominees including Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, and the usual pack of suspects. In a sign of just how democratic the Internet can be, the peripheral character from Howard Stern's radio show raked in more than 230,000 write-in votes to crush the more conventional competition.
Hank, who is a real live human being, benefited both from exposure on the Stern show and from a chain e-mail campaign that inundated mailboxes across the Internet with detailed instructions as to how and where to vote for him.
In this year of all things "Titanic," it seemed that Leonardo DiCaprio would be a lock for the title, but the young star could only muster third place. Benefiting from the poll's write-in feature, journeyman professional wrestler Ric Flair came in a distant second with 17,145 votes. Leo finally weighed in at number three with 14,471 votes, almost 216,000 votes less than Hank. DiCaprio can take solace in the fact that "People" editors tapped him as the cover boy for their "50 Most Beautiful People" issue.
The rest of the online top ten took a more conventional turn as Kate Winslet, Madonna, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Gillian Anderson all earned spots. Online voters did throw one last curveball though with their number nine choice: John Linnell of They Might Be Giants. That half of TMBG earned more than 4,000 votes, landing a spot on a top ten without Mariah, Courtney, or Xena.
Users can now read more about Hank, along with the rest of People Online's top ten most beautiful people, at the polls website, where the winner admits an affinity for beer, tequila and Pamela Anderson Lee.
Despite his resounding victory, fans hoping to see Hank in the pages of "People's" annual Most Beautiful People issue may be disappointed. Spokespeople for the site say that the online poll is run separately from the issue, and poll results have no bearing on who "People's" editorial staff choose to put in the issue.