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Madame Tussauds: From Napoleon to Lady Gaga

Madame Tussauds reveals top ten celebrities: 1802 vs 2011

Apr 29, 2011

HONG KONG – Madame Tussauds is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Marie Tussaud, this year and to mark the occasion has released a comparison of the most popular celebrities in the original 1802 exhibition and its worldwide attractions today. The kind of names that drew crowds then and now are remarkably different.

In 2011 teenage girls clamour to have their pictures taken with heart throb Robert Pattinson or step on stage with Lady Gaga, whereas back at the turn of the 19th Century visitors went wild for politicians, philosophers, revolutionaries and Royals. Napoleon and Marie Antoinette, George III and Benjamin Franklin were amongst the most talked about figures with not an entertainer in sight.

The difference in the ‘headline acts’ provides a fascinating insight into how celebrity has changed, says Madame Tussauds archivist Kieran Lancini. He explains, “Back in 1802 extremely few people had access to newspapers, there were no photographs, and the public got its news through word of mouth. Madame Tussauds connected ordinary people to the big global stories of the day. The mass media has changed the fame game beyond recognition.”

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong General Manager, Kelly Mak added, “While today’s top 10 is mainly filled with the big names in entertainment, The Queen, Barack Obama, Spider-Man and David Beckham are still incredibly popular. Clearly what hasn’t changed is public curiosity about the famous and those in the public eye; it remains insatiable - and that’s why Madame Tussauds remains as popular today as it was over 200 years ago.”

Lady Gaga fans can now rock the stage with the pop princess at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, but the good news does not stop there. This June Madame Tussauds Hong Kong will unveil the Robert Pattinson wax figure. Fans will be invited to "tie the knot" with the Hollywood heart-throb in a romantic wedding-themed interactive area called “Marry Me”.

From now until May 31, fans can vote on their favourite styling for the Robert Pattinson wax figure – be it his signature edgy Twilight look or that of a red carpet affair. For details, please see:

Madame Tussauds reveals top ten celebrities: 1802 vs 2011

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