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Oprah Tops Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Celebrities List

Wonderwall, Monday, June 28, 2010, 2:37pm (PDT)
  • Edited by Dorothy Pomerantz and Lacey Rose for Forbes.com:

    LOS ANGELES -- Pants-less pop stars, late-night warriors and sexy vampires spiced up the fame game last year, with Lady Gaga, Conan O'Brien and Twilight superstars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson joining the Forbes Celebrity 100 list for the first time.

    But despite their impressive debuts (Gaga hit the list in fourth place), Oprah Winfrey is the year's big winner. After being ousted by Angelina Jolie on last year's list (Jolie dropped to No. 18 this year), the Queen of all Media takes back her crown on Forbes' annual ranking of the world's ultra-famous. Winfrey earned $315 million over the past 12 months.

    RELATED ON FORBES: World's 100 Most Powerful Celebrities

    Beyonce Knowles climbs two spots to No. 2 on this year's list, raking in $87 million over the course of the year. Her 90-plus date global tour grossed more than $85 million, bolstering a portfolio that includes album sales, her House of Dereon fashion line and a slew of endorsement deals, ranging from Nintendo to L'Oreal. Continuing to expand her business empire beyond music, the female half of hip-hop's most powerful couple also released her first fragrance, Heat, earlier this year.

    RELATED ON FORBES: Jonas Brothers Inc.

    In at No. 3: director James Cameron. Thanks to the box office success of Avatar, the man who once declared himself "the King of the World" pulled down a hefty $210 million over the last year. Though his 3-D film failed to win the Best Picture Oscar, it broke Cameron's own record by grossing $2.7 billion at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing film ever. (Titanic had rested at the top for 12 years with $1.8 billion.) With the Blu-ray edition of Avatar setting sales records and a sequel in the works, expect Cameron to continue to mint money for years to come.

    RELATED ON FORBES: World's Most Powerful Actors

    Lady Gaga catapults onto our list, ranking ahead of much more established pop stars like Madonna (No. 10) and U2 (No. 7). She has a 106-date world tour and her willingness to partner with corporations like Virgin Mobile and Polaroid to thank for an estimated $62 million in earnings. What's more, her fame and theatricality have brought her gobs of press coverage, while her music videos have made her something of an Internet sensation. Proof: The fashion-forward rocker ranks first for social media and Web presence among the Forbes Celebrity 100.

    RELATED ON FORBES: World's Most Powerful TV Actors & Actresses

    Gaga is also the list's top-ranked newcomer, leading a group that includes the Black Eyed Peas ($48 million), O'Brien ($38 million) and Twilight costars Pattinson and Stewart. Pattinson comes in at No. 50 with estimated earnings of $17 million, while Stewart, who is working on fewer non-Twilight projects, comes in at No. 66 with a $12 million haul.

    RELATED ON FORBES: World's Most Powerful Personalities

    Rounding out the list's top five: golfer Tiger Woods. Despite personal and professional setbacks this year (all negative publicity was extracted from this year's list), the tabloid target still managed to earn $105 million between June 2009 and June 2010. The reality: While his revenue streams have diminished post-scandal (Accenture, AT&T and Pepsi have all dropped Woods as a spokesman), he continues to generate millions from deals with Nike, Electronic Arts and Upper Deck. His golf course design business is also struggling due to the troubled global economy.

    Expect to see Woods' income take a sizable dip on next year's list, a byproduct of his tarnished image and the reality of celebrity earnings at large.

    RELATED ON FORBES: World's Most Powerful Musicians

    The Celebrity 100 is a measure of power based on money and fame. Earnings estimates, which include income from films, television shows, endorsements, books and other entertainment ventures, are calculated between June 2009 and June 2010. Figures were rounded off where appropriate. Additional sources include Billboard, Pollstar, Adams Media Research, The Nielsen Company and SNL Kagan. Fame is calculated using Web hits on Google ( GOOG - news - people ) Blog Search, TV/radio mentions on LexisNexis, overall press mentions on Factiva and the number of times a celebrity's image appeared on the cover of 25 consumer magazines. Social rank is calculated using metrics like Facebook friends and fans as well as Twitter followers.

    RELATED ON FORBES: World's Most Powerful Athletes

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