Because we revere many of the great Hollywood stars of yesteryear people keep asking us if there are any current stars who would rival the likes of Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich or Carole Lombard, to name a few.
Yes there are. But with this one caveat: No one has been as beautiful or as compelling as Greta Garbo. No one. Garbo stands alone.
Now, having said that, let's name some of today's stars who measure up:
Tom Hanks - This back-to-back Oscar winner chooses his roles carefully while cultivating his well-crafted image as a modern-day everyman.
Diane Keaton - A deft comic touch reminiscent of Lombard.
Danzel Washington - Reliably excellent and eminently watchable.
Penelope Cruz - So beautiful she takes your breath away.
Leonardo DiCaprio - A great public persona; really looks and acts like a movie star.
Diane Lane - Elegant, classic beauty and nuanced, understated acting.
John Travolta - A star through all the stages of his life.
Robert De Niro - Defines what it means to be a great actor and a true star.
Meryl Streep - Among the truly great actresses of our time.
Daniel Day Lewis - Right up there with Brando and Olivier.
Jodie Foster - Maintains a versatile star quality, great range.
Jack Nicholson - An irresistible rogue.
Julia Roberts - Statuesque, with an intense vulnerability.
Will Smith - Endearing, and always memorable.
Brad Pitt - The definition of the term "star quality."
Sandra Bullock: Never overexposed, always a standout.
Robert Downey, Jr.: It's all in the eyes!
Ann Hathaway: Radiant and reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn.
And, perhaps: Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Javier Bardem, Julianne Moore, Emma Thompson, Juliette Binoche.
Maybe you can think of some yourself. Who are the great stars of today?