It all began with a debate at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 1998 with 6 panel participants; then-managing editor Walter Isaacson published the list in 1999, naming the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Its popularity was so big, the Times decided to make it an annual ‘event’ in 2004.
While it is a rarity to appear more than once on the list, Oprah Winfrey has made it not twice but seven times.
The closest anyone has ever gotten to appear on the list with the same success as Oprah Winfrey is five times (Hillary Clinton).
Bill Gates, Barack Obama, George Clooney and Hu Jintao have all appeared four times.
A poll precedes the revelation of the annual list, with the public invited to cast their votes for “the leaders, artists, innovators and icons who you think merit a spot on this year’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world”.
The 100 List is already making headlines this year despite its April 29th publication: the poll results this far have named Lady Gaga and Chinese blogger Han Han as being more influential than Barack Obama.