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Betty White tops, Tyler Perry drops in celebrity poll

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Betty White, the 90-year-old queen of comedy, remained the star with the most audience appeal in 2011 while cross-dressing Tyler Perry of the "Madea" films suffered a setback in a new celebrity poll on Thursday.

The survey from Encino, California-based E-Poll Market Research showed "Hot in Cleveland" star White was the most liked Hollywood celebrity in its survey covering calendar year 2011, a spot she also held in 2010. She was followed by Sandra Bullock and Michael J. Fox.

But the percentage of respondents who said they like Perry a lot dropped by 14 points, which the research firm pinned on a "South Park" spoof of the star and controversy surrounding him.

"He declined from a very high level. He was very popular in 2010," said Randy Parker, a spokesman for E-Poll, which found only 20 percent of respondents like Perry a alot. White, by contrast, had 53 percent say they liked her very much.

Perry, who had an overall popularity grade of 77 out of 100, or "E-Score," in the survey, is far from a critics' darling. But he has a fiercely loyal fan base and regularly tops U.S. box office charts with the films he writes, directs and stars in.

His film hits have included the 2005 breakout "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" in which he dressed up to play several characters including the tough-talking grandmother Madea. He has made several spinoffs such as last year's "A Madea Christmas."

But some detractors have accused Perry of perpetuating stereotypes about blacks. Director Spike Lee, for one, has been critical of Perry's low-brow comedy, and last year Perry fired back at Lee in a feud that seemed to take on a life of its own.

Joining Perry at the top of the E-Poll list of biggest decliners was snow boarder Shaun White, who was on everyone's TV screen in 2010 due to his gold medal finish at the Winter Olympics, then fell in media exposure last year. Still, White had an overall popularity ranking, or E-Score, of 90 out of 100.

"Parks and Recreation" TV star Aziz Ansari, a stand-up comedian who appeared last year in the film "30 Minutes Or Less," ranked as the biggest gainer on the E-Poll survey.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they liked Ansari a lot, which was up by 16 points from the year before.

The E-Poll celebrity rankings were based on results from weekly surveys done by the company. Each weekly survey had 1,100 respondents.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis)

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