updated 05/29/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nothing is likelier to provoke a barrage of critical letters than choosing the world's 50 Most Beautiful (PEOPLE, May 8), if only because it means consigning billions to the ranks of the also-rans. This year, critics of the magazine's taste in gorgeousness were joined by those who were offended by our decision to present the annual Beauties issue in the week following the Oklahoma City bombing disaster. In fact, for production reasons, we had little choice. Because of the size of the Most Beautiful issue, much of it must be closed in advance—as it was this year, long before the bombing took place. Still, we provided 11 pages of Oklahoma City coverage, which readers found moving and memorable.

The staff assigned to pick the 50 Most Beautiful People should rush to the telephone and make an appointment with their ophthalmologist.

Since you included Keanu Reeves in your 50, I will forgive you for the Brad Pitt/Sexiest Man Alive thing.
KATHY C. RAYS, Duluth, Ga.

Uh, excuse me? No mention of Meg Ryan? Isn't that a little like noting the 50 best art museums in the world and forgetting to mention the Louvre?
HERR MCCOLLOM JR., Lancaster, Pa.

George Clooney is gorgeous, but how could you leave out Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph Fiennes and Hugh Grant?
MARY MORGAN, Waitsfield, Vt.

Granted, beauty is subjective, but your 50 Most Beautiful issue is ridiculous. Perhaps it might be titled "The 50 People with the Most Powerful and Persuasive Publicists" issue. Admit it!
Play a del Rey, Calif.

As a FedEx wife, I agree that UPS men may be easy pickups, but it takes a FedEx man to truly deliver.

I am appalled that your article depicts only what you think are "hunks" in the UPS world. There are several "babes" who work in delivery, and I have been told by many of my route customers that I'm the best looking UPS driver they have ever seen. Three cheers for the women in the UPS delivery world!
MARGO GRILLO, Indianapolis

Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley on the same page—be still, my heart! The only way it could have been better would have been to have had Robert Mitchum there too!
JACKIE J. PRADO, Kamiah, Idaho

How could you juxtapose the tragic victims of the Oklahoma terrorist blast with 50 people who were lucky enough to live to reap the benefits of their genetic good fortune? The placement and timing struck me as more than just a little crass.
CATHY KAY, West Hills, Calif.

I opened the issue and saw what readers always see these days. Hollywood types: blow-dried, liposuctioned, skin-fried, narcissistic, glory-worshipping airheads. Then I saw page 57 and the face of Rebecca Anderson. She was a nurse. She saw her fellow countrymen in grave danger and need. She responded immediately and selflessly and died performing what she considered her sacred duty. In the eyes of this American, she's the only true beauty in your magazine.
Columbus, Ohio

I am outraged to hear militia groups equate the destruction of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco with the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City. Government agents sat outside the Waco complex day after day asking the Branch Davidians to surrender. The agents begged them to at least send their children out of harm's way. David Koresh's followers made their choices. I only wish that the victims in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building had been given the same opportunity.
MARIA C. PALERMO, Stamford, Conn.

I am willing to live and die and stand by who I am, foibles and all, but I was stunned by the tone of the article by correspondent Kristina Johnson. To debate the piece line by line would take too long, but there are a number of events that are clearly inaccurate and some that are blatant misrepresentations. The notion that I was "peeved" by my assistant's "sniffling"—the angry, impatient diva—might play better with your readers, but that was not the mood. It was a lark, a Bonnie and Clyde rush to watch the Academy Awards, with laughter and what I obviously mistook for Ms. Johnson's good will. The story is littered with those sorts of references, aimed squarely below the belt. The slant of the story suggests that PEOPLE believes people only care to read negative stories. That has not been my experience. You write so cavalierly of what you characterize as the cruelty of others, perhaps you would do well to examine how often you dispense it.

Kristina Johnson replies, "While Ms. Dunaway is certainly entitled to her perceptions, I stand by my observations."

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