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GENTLEMEN PREFER HUNT

It's no surprise that U.S. troops in Bosnia would be mad about Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy or the "Baywatch" beauties. But how do you explain Barry Manilow and Bill Gates?

They all made the informal list of celebrities that U.S. military personnel most would like to sit down and chat with, said Johnny Grant, Hollywood's honorary mayor.

"They think Helen Hunt's so down to earth. They just genuinely like her," Grant said Tuesday, hours after returning from a Christmas visit with troops in Bosnia.

Besides "Mad About You" star Hunt and McCarthy, other favored actors were Harrison Ford, Will Smith, Jack Nicholson, Halle Berry and Pamela Anderson Lee. Singers Garth Brooks, Toni Braxton and Patti LaBelle joined Manilow. Basketball star Michael Jordan and writer Tom Clancy made the list.

As for Gates, the computer genius gets credit for helping soldiers keep in touch.

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