Untarnished Figures

Now that Goldman's scuffed up and Tiger's a cheater, who's left to believe in? From Warren Buffett to Chelsea Clinton to Mehmet Oz, VIEW OUR GALLERY of people still worth admiring (for now).

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Jamie Dimon

Far away from all the SEC allegations against Goldman Sachs is J.P. Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon. During Dimon's tenure, the more than 200-year-old bank has been one of the healthiest firms to come out of the credit crisis and was one of the fastest to repay its TARP funds. Dimon even has an unlikely fan in President Obama, who's in the middle of pushing through a vast financial reform bill. "You know, keep in mind, though there are a lot of banks that are actually pretty well managed, J.P. Morgan being a good example, Jamie Dimon, the CEO there, I don't think should be punished for doing a pretty good job managing an enormous portfolio," said Obama. Unlike some of the other financial institutions and personalities, Dimon appears to not only be a strong businessman, but also highly favored among his peers—or at least the president. Lloyd Blankfein, take note.

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Derek Jeter

Team captain of the Yankees since 2003, Derek Jeter is a 10-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year award winner and World Series MVP. That's not even mentioning his several Silver Sluggers, Gold Gloves, batting and scoring titles. But beyond all his accolades, it's the way Jeter's handled the game all these years that gains him the most respect—even Red Sox fans can appreciate the way their longtime rival plays with integrity. Off the field, after his first year in the big leagues, the shortstop started the Turn 2 Foundation to help children and teenagers stay away from alcohol and drug addiction.

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Tom Hanks

The nicest guy in Hollywood made Forrest Gump one of the most memorable characters in cinema history, brought Woody to life in Toy Story, and is the only actor sweet enough to pull off wooing America's Sweetheart Meg Ryan (three times). The world's enthusiasm for Tom Hanks' reassuring Everyman demeanor hasn't slowed down—he's still the most bankable star at the box office. Hanks scored Academy Awards for his groundbreaking roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, but unlike a few of his colleagues, values his role outside of work even more. He's a staunch advocate for environmentalism, same-sex marriage, and alternative fuels, yet manages his personal life with equanimity. After Mormon Church members pushed through Proposition 8, a bill defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Hanks called them "un-American," but later apologized by in a statement saying, "Everyone has a right to vote their conscience; nothing could be more American."

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's squeaky-clean reputation is in its beginning stages (she is, after all, only 20 years old) but the country-pop princess is one of those rare role models who appears genuine. She launched a campaign to protect children from online predators at the age of 17, donated $100,000 to the Red Cross to aid Iowa flood victims at 18, and has since donated $250,000 to various nationwide schools she attended or was involved with. Oh, and as for her day job? She's a talented musician who writes, sings, and performs her own songs. Swift also managed to do the improbable and cross the vast pop-country genre divide by winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2010. Swift's closest brush with scandal was the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when, during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video, Kanye West rushed the stage and nabbed the mic to tell everyone Beyoncé should have won. Kanye's plan backfired, and Taylor Swift came out smelling like a rose—and with more fans than ever.

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Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman's tough-love approach for distilling economics into columns the masses can appreciate has enlightened readers of the New York Times since 1999. Krugman, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on international economics and trade, openly and avidly criticized Bush tax cuts while advocating lower interest rates and increased government spending on infrastructure, military, and unemployment benefits. In one of his few public missteps, the economist served on an advisory panel for Enron but resigned to comply with The New York Times' conflict of interest rules when he began writing as an op-ed columnist.

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Prince William

While many Britons have lost faith in the monarchy, they see in Prince William what they admired most in his mother and grandmother—a rare kindness sometimes lacking in those who have the burden of carrying out royal duties. Much like his mother, William has taken on a number of humanitarian causes, visiting HIV/AIDS clinics and shelters, volunteering with the British Red Cross, The Royal Marsden Hospital, and granted patronage to Centrepoint, a charity that assists the homeless, and the Tusk Trust, a wildlife conservation charity. William received a degree from University of St. Andrews and then enrolled in the military where he earned his wings, and is now part of the Royal Air Force's Valley's Search and Rescue Training Unit. He's done all this without a red-carpet fuss—even his long-term relationship with Kate Middleton has been scandal-free.

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Dr. Mehmet Oz

We now are closer to universal health care, but a few years ago Oprah Winfrey introduced us to a universal health-care giver—"America's Doctor," Mehmet Oz. Dr. Oz follows in the footsteps of his cardiothoracic surgeon father, Mustafa, who emigrated from Turkey and worked in Cleveland, where Oz grew up. Despite logging a lot of face time on TV, Dr. Oz manages to perform hundreds of heart surgeries a year. He also launched Healthcorps in 2003 to help educate students about their health, empower citizens to affect change within public health departments and the business community, and create support for health advocacy. Oz has been influenced by the Christian mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, who taught "true marriage lasts for eternity," which may be a factor in Oz's 23-year marriage to his wife, Lisa.

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Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is more than one of the most revered actresses of her generation, she's low-key, no-fuss, and widely respected—a running gag at awards shows is how many trophies she's racked up, yet all the jabs are done in jest. Her peers clearly adore her. Streep's success is perhaps a byproduct of her childhood: She grew up as the daughter of a pharmaceutical exec and a commercial artist and lived in an affluent New Jersey township where she was trained by a renowned vocal coach since age 12. None of her extensive training, however, is evident in the work she produces—from Sophie's Choice to Julie & Julia, she's as effortless as she is humble. Also notable is her 32-year marriage to under-the-radar sculptor Don Gummer, who doesn't seem to mind being the man behind the red-carpet mainstay.

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Gen. David Petraeus

As the top commander in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, General David Petraeus has risen through the ranks to become an invaluable asset to the Obama administration. Despite some bruising by the public, the Iraq surge is now seen as successful. Petraeus attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Princeton, the U.S. Military Academy, and Georgetown as well as enduring combat in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. In his new position at Central Command, Petraeus is responsible for American operations in 20 countries. Right after he was named both "Leader of the Year" and "Man of the Year," in 2008, he was diagnosed and treated for early-stage prostate cancer. Now he's making the rounds of the conservative lecture circuit, leading some to believe he may follow in the footsteps of Dwight Eisenhower and run for public office. Petraeus is denying an interest in a political run, but few will be surprised to see the former general run in 2012.

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Chelsea Clinton

Despite being the daughter of former President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton took nothing for granted. No "only child" syndrome here—she kept out of the spotlight during the high-pressure environment of her father's impeachment in 1999. She worked to earn degrees at Stanford University and Oxford. Chelsea also went to work as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, but has since returned to graduate school at Columbia University's School of Public Health. The now-30-year-old former first daughter is engaged to be married this summer.

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Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett could spend his $47 billion on luxury yachts or summer homes, but instead the third richest man in the world has taken the philanthropic route, pledging 85 percent of it to the Gates Foundation. The American "Oracle of Omaha" is the primary shareholder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and his wealth has roots in a long life of business, beginning as a child going door to door selling chewing gum, Coca-Cola and weekly magazines. Buffett's work ethic may stem from his attitude against "dynastic wealth," or one generation's profitability from the previous generation. It's hard to scoff at a man who had a vision so early on, so perhaps it's best to take notes from him instead.

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Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer is a practicing physician, Harvard professor, MacArthur "genius" grant winner, NGO-founding anthropologist, and an infectious-disease specialist, but one former patient has another moniker for him—"god." Given Farmer's résumé fighting global health crises in Russia, Rwanda, Peru, among other countries, that term doesn't feel like hyperbole. In 2009, Farmer was appointed by President Clinton as a Special U.N. Envoy to Haiti, meaning his organization, Partners in Health, was already on the ground when the earthquake hit. Farmer may be too modest to claim deification, but he's certainly trying to save the world, one life at a time.

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Alice Waters

Decades before it was chic to be a locavore, Alice Waters, co-owner of California's famed Chez Panisse restaurant, was advocating for organic food and sustainable eating. In recent years, Waters has added childhood obesity to her mission, and championed edible gardens, particularly at schools. While critics claim her food philosophies are elitist, chefs such as Jamie Oliver disagree: "She has found a way to get everyone on board and really teaches kids and adults about proper food," Oliver said recently. "And she teaches them to really enjoy and cherish it too. Her books bring her recipes to everyone. There's nothing elitist about that." Waters' latest book, In the Green Kitchen, features recipes and techniques for cooking healthy, affordable meals.

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George Clooney

Whenever there is trouble in the world—whether it's 9/11, the tsunami in Thailand, or the earthquake in Haiti—George Clooney can always be counted on to rally his famous friends and lend support. Over the years, the Academy Award-winning actor has also been a very vocal advocate for the plight of Darfur. Clooney is that rare Hollywood activist who is never sanctimonious, which is in part why he has been so successful at shining light on a crisis and raising much-needed money.

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Lisa Simpson

Yes, the Simpsons are an astonishingly dysfunctional brood, but white sheep of the family, Lisa Simpson, has always remained a paragon of hard work and wholesome values. In the past two decades, her character has won a Genesis and Environmental Media Award for her environmentalist beliefs, including crusades against animal cruelty and support for vegetarianism. Bart and Homer may laugh at her goody-two-shoes persona, but the rest of us know she's right.