Billy Graham on ‘Most Admired’ List for Record 61st Time

By   •   December 27, 2017

“Our job in life is not to be successful, but to be faithful.” —Billy Graham

After recently turning 99 and entering his 100th year of life, Billy Graham has been recognized once again as one of the people Americans admire most—an honor he has received 61 times.

>> Has Billy Graham had an influence on your life? Share your story.

Gallup just released its annual list after asking more than 1,000 Americans which man and woman in the world they admired most. The poll has two criteria: the man or woman must be living, and the open-ended question is asked with no prompting, meaning those whose names are in the headlines are likely choices.

Mr. Graham has been among the top 10 most admired men every year since 1963 (except 1976 when the survey didn’t happen). He also appeared on the list every year from 1955-1961. He was ranked fourth this year.

Although he has never placed first (a spot usually reserved for U.S. presidents), he has been on the list more times than anyone else. Queen Elizabeth II follows his record with 49 appearances. Mr. Graham and the Queen have been friends for many years. Their friendship was recently portrayed in the second season of the TV series The Crown.

Former President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton each received recognition as 2017’s most admired man and woman—titles they’ve retained for the past decade. Still, the margins were more narrow this year with President Donald Trump trailing 3 percent behind Obama, and Clinton skimming past former first lady Michelle Obama by only 2 percent.

Others on the list for most admired men included Pope Francis (who took third place), Sen. John McCain, Bill Gates, Vice President Mike Pence and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, First Lady Melania Trump and Duchess Kate Middleton were also among the most admired women.

Decades of Influence

Billy Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950 and has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film and the internet.

The evangelist has preached in remote villages and in the heart of New York City. He’s ministered to heads of state as well as the simple-living bushmen of Australia and the wandering tribes of Africa and the Middle East, desiring all people to have a relationship with God.

Mr. Graham has also written 33 books. His recent works include Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond (2015), The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (2013), The Heaven Answer Book (2012), Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well (2011) and Storm Warning (2010).

Despite his many accomplishments, Mr. Graham has said, “Our job in life is not to be successful, but to be faithful.”

Now in his 100th year of life, the “pastor to presidents” continues his ministry through prayer at his Montreat, North Carolina, home. His work is also being carried out by multiple BGEA ministries.

One of these ministries is the Decision America Tour led by his son, Franklin Graham.

This past year, tens of thousands heard the Gospel through the Decision America Tour in Texas and Tennessee. In 2016, Franklin traveled to all 50 states, holding prayer rallies and telling the Good News in every capital city, while he encouraged people to pray, vote and engage in political elections.

Franklin will be traveling to the West Coast in 2018 to continue the Decision America Tour through one-day prayer and evangelism events in several cities across California, Washington and Oregon.

Learn more about the Decision America Tour.

The Gallup poll was conducted Dec. 4-11, surveying 1,049 American adults nationwide by phone. The overall margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published but you will receive our next BGEA ministry update. You can opt out of future emails at any time.


  1. Harold Peasley says:

    “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  2. Alfred Barnaby says:

    It was that faithful day in 1976 when I first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a TV show with this ministry. From this faithful day I am remember who I am in Jesus Christ and how much God loves. I am so thankful for the Billy Graham ministry. Thank you.

  3. Susan McEntee says:

    Billy gave me my hope and faith back when I had completely lost them. I watched him on TV and I was memorized by what he was saying. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and I will never forget it. Thank you, Billy, for always being there.

  4. Marthe Clavier says:

    I was attending my first Crusade in Manhattan with my aunt and was expecting my first child. I could not understand there was something in his eyes that made me realize it was the Holy Spirit. Praise God for him.

  5. Mary ann.lester says:

    Billy Graham is a man of God. He has served Jesus for many years. He brought me to serve the Lord. Jesus has blessed him. Keep serving God. Amen.

  6. Ruth Mead says:

    Thanks for being so faithful.

  7. Shirley whittlesey says:

    Keep up the good news.

  8. Fran Klapmeyer says:

    Rev. Graham ranks first on my list every year. I was blessed to be a part of his Miami Crusade in the 60’s. My sister and I, along with most of the youth from our church, participated in the choir. It was a powerful and memorable time in my life. I have visited the Billy Graham Library several times and always feel like I am standing on holy ground. Blessings and prayers.

  9. Marilyn Schoder says:

    I love Billy Graham and his family for the work they continue to do. Praise be to God. Amen.

  10. izabel says:

    Mr. Graham is an inspiration for many Christians in the world. Many things posted for you is the same in Brazil, where we’re living. My prayers for Mr. Graham and his ministry. God bless you.