Most Fascinating People of 2005

Since then, it's been an uninterrupted climb to the top. Even at this young age, Fanning is discriminating about her roles. "I have to have a feel for the character. ... If it's not the right thing or it's similar to something I've done before, that would be why I would not do something," she tells Walters.

Thomas Mesereau: Defending Jackson

One of the most important and powerful figures in Hollywood is a man who has never starred in a single film or television show. But for five months this year, attorney Tom Mesereau was in the media spotlight, successfully defending Michael Jackson in his child-molestation trial. He also represented Robert Blake, who was found not guilty of murdering his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. He was, however, later found liable for her death in a civil trial.

Mesereau tells Walters he never had a doubt that Jackson was innocent of the charges. "The fact is, kids went into his room. The parents were there too. The parents were allowed to stay over with the children. The way it was mischaracterized, and misrepresented to try and get a conviction was scandalous, it was wrong," he says.

Mesereau believes racial discrimination continues to compromise American culture. "Despite whatever advances this country makes in the area of civil rights, I still feel that people of color are devalued constantly in our society, and I do what I can to fight against it," he says.

Lance Armstrong: 'I Was Given My Life Back'

Cyclist Lance Armstrong achieved an unprecedented feat in 2005, winning his seventh Tour de France, a grueling race that lasts over 23 days and covers more than 2,200 miles.

It's not normal for one man to be so strong, so fast, so focused, but that may be because Armstrong isn't normal.

At 34, Armstrong has defied the odds. In addition to his remarkable achievement in cycling, he has survived cancer, raised millions of dollars for research through his foundation and become engaged to rock star Sheryl Crow.

Armstrong shares his feelings about battling cancer and facing death with Walters. "I was given my life back. I wasn't going to throw it away. I was going to do everything I could to be the best athlete, the best person. ... If it was on the bike, if it was off the bike, making a difference in the lives of people," he says.

And it's his successful battle with cancer, Armstrong tells Walters, that he feels is even more satisfying than his Tour de France victories. "I'm proudest of being a cancer survivor," he says. He says he plans to continue to devote himself to helping others with the disease. "I have a tremendous duty within the fight against cancer. I don't need to affect millions and millions of people. If I just affected dozens that would be enough," he tells Walters.

Beth Holloway Twitty: A Mother Undaunted

It's every parent's worst nightmare: let your child go away on vacation to a foreign land and they never return. We don't know what happened to Natalee Holloway, the teen who disappeared while vacationing in Aruba. But her bold, tenacious mother -- Beth Holloway Twitty -- will never rest until we do.

Twitty invites Walters into her daughter's bedroom, showing her graduation gifts that remain unopened and telling her she continues to hope that her daughter is alive.

"My biggest hope," she tells Walters, "is that she has only been kidnapped, raped, and drugged, and kept, against her will. I mean, I am hoping that they stopped with that, and didn't go ahead and kill her."

She acknowledges that she "buried" Natalie in her head when FBI officials told her in June that there was a strong possibility that her daughter was dead. Still, she is undaunted in her resolve to find out what happened to her girl. "I am never going to give up. ... I will carry her story for the rest of my life."

Rounding out Walters' "Most Fascinating" list are "Desperate Housewives" star Teri Hatcher, Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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