AFTER O.J. TRIAL, COVERS UPLIFT PITT

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Sometimes you just don't know who to believe.

Newsweek suspects Brad Pitt could just be a big slob, and uses him as a cover boy for its story on how the unkempt look seems to be sweeping the U.S. Vanity Fair posits he could well be the ultimate male sex symbol to emerge from Hollywood.

Perhaps it's the paradox that helped Mr. Pitt rack up 5.5 points on three covers to tie the stats earned by the much more sensible topic of mutual funds for Cover Story's second place in February.

Cover Story is Advertising Age's monthly ranking of celebrities' popularity as reflected by their appearances on the covers of more than 30 of the nation's leading publications.

The consistent performance of the O.J. Simpson murder case, scoring 12.5 points on 10 covers, far outdistanced the second-placers.

Actress Connie Selleca posted a fourth-place finish, earning 4.5 points with two covers. And the No. 5 spot was shared by sitcom doyenne Roseanne and actor Morgan Freeman.

Both earned 4 points, with Roseanne appearing on four covers as she prepared for her third marriage and Mr. Freeman gracing two covers.

Tying for seventh with 3 points for one cover apiece: Tim Allen, Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, Edward Furlong, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Antonio Sabato Jr., Susan Sarandon and Uma Thurman, as well as financial writer Dan Dorfman and grunge goddess Courtney Love.

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