updated 12/18/2002 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/18/2002 AT 1:20 PM ET
Experience seems to be a factor for drunk people seeking rides home. According to a new survey asking for the public’s celebrity “fantasy” designated driver (if such a thing actually exists), the No. 1 choice is screen legend Paul Newman.
The actor – and longtime racecar enthusiast – who turns 78 next month, nabbed 36 percent of the votes to beat out the second-place finisher, actress Sandra Bullock, 38, who was the fantasy pick for 34 percent of drinkers (no doubt due in part to her bus-driving role in “Speed”).
The survey (based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,090 Americans ages 21 and older) was conducted by Data Development Corporation for the Anheuser-Busch people – in order to measure awareness and usage of the designated-driver concept and well as to, let’s face it, plug the beer.
Still, some of the results are interesting, given that Newman and Bullock bested the likes of Eddie Murphy (19 percent of the votes), Tom Cruise (15 percent), Jennifer Lopez (17 percent) and Jennifer Aniston (14 percent).
“I am very honored to have been selected,” Bullock says in a statement. “So since I won’t be imbibing before the bar closes … I get to choose the music on the rides home.”
In the poll’s other findings, 68 percent chose late night ABC anchor Ted Koppel over CBS host David Letterman, while early birds liked Regis Philbin (58 percent) over his cohost, Kelly Ripa (27 percent).
Meanwhile, 50 percent preferred Katie Couric over her “Today Show” cohort Matt Lauer (31 percent), and Barbara Walters was preferred over her “View ” cohost, Star Jones, by a 62 percent margin.