1) Peter Jackson/Fran Walsh - Their fabulous job with the recent films brought millions of people to the books.
2) C.S. Lewis - Tolkien likely wouldn't have published without his friendship and constant encouragement
3) Mabel Tolkien - His mother. The source of his inspiration to become learned in the ways of language without which, he might not have ever started writing.
4) Rob Gilson - School friend and member of TCBS (Tea Club and Barrovian Society): quote: I am a wild and whole-hearted admirer, and my chief consolation is, that if I am scuppered tonight there will still be left a great member of the TCBS to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve the TCBS. Six months later he was dead.
5) G.B. Smith - School friend & member of TCBS
6) Christopher Wiseman - School friends & member of TCBS
7) Edith Bratt - His wife, his Luthien. She wrote down and saved many of his earlier notes and inspired many of his stories and greatest characters.
8) Rayner Unwin - His publisher's son, who gave wholehearted approval of unpublished The Hobbit to his father. Tolkien relied on his comments and editing for many, many years.
9) Stanley Unwin - His publisher. He tried The Hobbi out on his 10-year old son Rayner, who wrote an approving report, and it was published as The Hobbit in 1937.
10) Christopher Tolkien - His son who drew all the maps for LOTR and who published The Silmariilion, Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle Earth series posthumously.
11) W.H. Auden - He stood up for LotR at a time when no other critics would.
12) Peter S. Beagle - Author of The Last Unicorn, and several other fine novels. Penned a beautiful foreword to LotR
13) Alan Lee - Tolkien artist and illustrator and creative consultant on LOTR Movies
14) John Howe - Tolkien artist and illustrator and creative consultant on LOTR Movies.
15) Gary Gygax - Popularized Elves, Wizards, Dwarves, and Halflings among generations of boys with disposable income.
16) Tom Shippey - Author of "J.R.R. Tolkien, Author of the Century"
17) Ralph Bakshi - Was the first to attempt to bring LotR to the silver screen.
18) The cast and crew of PJ's LotR films.
19) Susan Dagnall - An employee of the publishing firm of George Allen and Unwin. In 1936 an incomplete typescript of The Hobbit came into ger hands. She asked Tolkien to finish it, and presented the complete story to Stanley Unwin.
20) Saul Zaentz - Owner of Tolkien Enterprises and the prime mover behind the commercialization of LotR.
21) Readers & Fans - Millions and millions of people, young and old, who have embraced LOTR and made it part of their lives.
22) Arthur Rankin/Jules Bass - Brought "The Hobbit" and "The Return of the King" to viewers via made for tv animated films..
23) E.V. Gordon - Collaborated with Tolkien on an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a mediŠval English text. Gordon was also Tolkien's colleague at Leeds and a good friend until his (early and sudden) death.
24) Michael Drout - One of the leading forces in "legitimizing" Tolkien scholarship.
25) Father Francis Morgan - Who raised him, and who seems to have exerted a fairly profound influence on his personality.
26) Pauline Baynes - The illustrator of the original Hobbit. She seems to be the only person Tolkien trusted to illustrate his tales faithfully.
27) The Inklings - Provided friendship, encouragement and, yes, Fellowship that kept Tolkien going with his stories.
28) The governing body of Merton College - Gave Tolkien a home after his wife died.
29) The anonymous student... - ...who left the blank examination page on which Tolkien wrote the first line of The Hobbit.
30) Owen Barfield - the author of his biography as well as Flieger point out was a huge influence on how Tolkien conceptualized the power of language.
31) David Salo - Expert in, and proponent of, Tokien's languages
32) His children: John, Michael, Priscilla and Christopher! - After all, Tolkien started telling stories to his children, and we might never have had The Hobbit or LotR if Tolkien hadn't had children.
33) Robert Plant - Plant referenced Tolkien in his lyrics several times - bringing new readers into the fold whilst also simultaneously "rocking out" (in the parlance of our times). A most difficult balancing act.
34) Brothers Hildebrandt - Tolkien artists and illustrators
35) Ted Nasmith - Tolkien artist and illustrator
36) New Line Cinema - For being the only ones to believe in Peter's vision.
37) Howard Shore - Brought Lord of the Rings to life with his beautiful score.
38) Voice Talent of both Bakshi's and Rankin Bass' productions, these include Peter Woodthorpe, Brother Theodore, John Huston, Otto Preminger, Orson Bean, John Hurt, Christopher Guard and scores of others.
39) E. Lonnrot - Compiled Finnish legends and stories into the anthology that became known as the "Kalevala"--known to be a major influence on Tolkien.
40) Karen Fonstad - Author of 'The Atlas of Middle Earth' who helped us understand what Helm's Deep looked like and where Valinor really was.
41) Humphrey Carpenter - Tolkien biographer and editor of 'The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.'
42) Priscilla Tolkien - His daughter, Priscilla was directly responsible for Eowyn, since she wanted a female hero in the tale. Thank heavens Tolkien had a daughter!
43) Douglas Anderson - Well known Tolkien scholar and author of 'The Annotated Hobbit'
44) Wayne Hammond - Author of 'J.R.R. Tolkien, Artista and Illustrator,' for bringing Tolkien's own interpretations to his beloved public.
45) Marquette University - Home of the Tolkien archives; thousands of lovingly cared for original documents by and about Tolkien.
46) Jane Chance - Often published Tolkien scholar, author of 'The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power'
47) TORN's founders! - Xoanon (Michael Regina), Tehanu (Erica Challis), Corvar (William Thomas), Calisuri (Chris Pirrotta)
48) Letter writers - Everyone who wrote Tolkien a letter which he so graciously answered and gave us the answers to so many wonderful questions!
49) BBC - Made a wonderful recording of LotR and The Hobbit
50) JK Rowling - I know, some may balk this. But I personally feel she is majorly responsible for making fantasy "cool" again, and bringing literally millions of children to the world of fantasy.