The Hotchkis & Wiley Small Cap Value Fund has returned 35% a year since the bull market began in 2009, the top-performing U.S. stock fund during the period. But you've never heard of James Miles and David Green, the fund's managers? That's no surprise. They're part of a group whose visibility is diminishing fast: famous stock pickers.

For decades the undisputed stars of the asset-management business, when investors such as Peter Lynch and Bill Miller were household names, stock pickers have remained largely anonymous to the larger public despite a six-year rally that produced some outstanding funds. They've been overtaken by bond legends such as Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach and hedge fund managers including Carl Icahn and William Ackman who have waged high-profile battles against companies.

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