Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Oprah tops list of most powerful celebrities
Oprah Winfrey has reclaimed her spot as the most powerful celebrity on the planet, displacing Angelina Jolie, according to Forbes magazine.
And, not to worry. The Great Recession that has caused stress and panic -- and a shortage of pay raises -- among mere mortals hasn't been a problem for the rich and famous.
Forbes said that the cumulative earnings of those who make up this year's Celebrity 100 Power List has grown to $4.7 billion from $4.1 billion a year ago. Winfrey alone earned $315 million from June 1, 2009, to June 1, 2010.
But in deciphering celebrity "power," Forbes doesn't take only earnings into account but also fame, which it measures by calculating the number of times a personality is mentioned in print, TV, radio and social media. That's why music, fragrance and fashion magnate Beyonce Knowles is No. 2 on the list with earnings of $87 million, while "Avatar" impresario James Cameron is third with $210 million.
Fourth on the list is a newcomer: Lady Gaga, who earned $62 million in the past 12 months. And holding onto fifth place for a second straight year is Tiger Woods, proving that celebrity power isn't necessarily diminished by marital infidelity. The pro golfer earned $105 million during the year.
Rounding out the top 10 are Britney Spears ($64 million), U2 ($130 million), Sandra Bullock ($56 million), Johnny Depp ($75 million) and Madonna ($58 million).
Besides Gaga, other newcomers include "Twilight" franchise stars Robert Pattinson (No. 50 with $17 million earned) and Kristen Stewart (No. 66 with $12 million earned).
Bullock -- with a high-profile split from her husband and two hit movies, "The Blind Side" and "The Proposal," during the time frame -- made one of the biggest gains among those on the list this year and last, from No. 92 to No. 8.
Just missing the top 10 was former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, who earned $80 million and is No. 11 on the list. The highest-ranking country music artist is Taylor Swift, who comes in right after Cowell and earned $45 million. She bested Miley Cyrus, No. 13 with $48 million.
In the battle of the basketball stars, Kobe Bryant was tops at No. 14, followed by Michael Jordan at No. 20 and LeBron James at No. 28, though Jordan, who retired as an NBA player seven years ago, earned more money: $55 million.
After Cameron, the highest film director on the list is Steven Spielberg, who earned $100 million and is No. 22.
In the land of TV talk -- beyond Winfrey -- Dr. Phil McGraw (No. 21) beats Ellen DeGeneres (No. 23), and David Letterman (No. 24) beats Jay Leno (No. 34). Conan O'Brien is No. 51.
The highest-ranked celebrity in radio is Rush Limbaugh at No. 19, having earned $58.5 million during the year. Howard Stern earned more ($70 million) but comes in at No. 39.
Last year's top choice, Jolie, fell to No. 18 with $20 million earned. Boyfriend Brad Pitt is No. 30, and his ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, is No. 26.
The full list is at www.forbes.com/celebs.