Forbes Celebrity 100: The world's most powerful celebrities

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Oprah Winfrey takes back her crown while pop chart phenomenon Lady Gaga catapults to No. 4 on this year's Celebrity 100.


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.

(Scroll down to see a list of the top 10 most powerful celebrities.)

The talk-show host choked up when announcing that this coming season of her flagship chat fest would be her last. The news helped the self-made billionaire garner more press mentions than any other member of the Celebrity 100. Winfrey earns big thanks to The Oprah Winfrey Show as well as her magazine, popular website, radio channel, TV specials and movies like the Oscar-nominated Precious. Looking ahead, her Harpo production company, which launched the careers of Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz, will introduce interior designer-turned-talk-show host Nate Berkus this fall.

Months later, the mogul will roll out the lifestyle-themed Oprah Winfrey Network in partnership with Discovery Communications.

FORBES CELEBRITY 100: The Top 10
(Click on name to see full profile.)

No. 1: Oprah Winfrey (2009 Rank: 2)

News that this coming season of The Oprah Winfrey Show will be her last helped the self-made billionaire garner more media attention than any other member of the Celebrity 100. Her Harpo production company, which spawned the careers of Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz, will introduce interior designer Nate Berkus this fall. Months later, the list's top-earner will add the lifestyle-themed Oprah Winfrey Network in partnership with Discovery Communications to her media empire.



No. 2: Beyonce Knowles (2009 Rank: 4)

One half of the most famous couple in hip-hop, Beyoncé continues to expand her business empire beyond music. Endorsement deals with companies ranging from Nintendo to L'Oreal and her growing House of Dereon fashion line bring in millions of dollars per year on top of the $86 million she grossed from a 93-stop world tour.



No. 3: James Cameron
(Returns to List)

As the director of the highest grossing film of all time, Cameron is definitely "king of the world." Avatar has earned $2.7 billion at the box office alone and has changed the way Hollywood makes films. In the near future almost every studio blockbuster will be released in 3-D. Cameron is already at work on Avatar 2.



No. 4: Lady Gaga
(New to List)

A newcomer to the Celebrity 100, Lady Gaga broke down the door to fame with outlandish outfits and quirky videos, including one that featured her and Beyonce poisoning an unappreciative boyfriend. Bringing in an estimated $31 million with a 106-date tour that grossed $95 million, Lady Gaga is also a marketer's dream, teaming up with Polaroid, Virgin Mobile, Monster Cable and Viva Glam.



No. 5: Tiger Woods
(2009 Rank: 5)

Tiger Woods' fall from global sports icon to tabloid fodder was stunning. He saw Accenture, AT&T and Pepsi drop him as a pitchman, but he remains the highest-paid athlete in the world thanks to huge deals with Nike, Electronic Arts and Upper Deck. Nike built a $650 million (sales) golf business from scratch on Woods' back. His fledgling golf course design business has been hurt by the economic downturn, as all three courses he's worked on have experienced major delays.



No. 6: Britney Spears
(2009 Rank: 13)

Not long ago, most of the entertainment world had written Britney Spears off as a celebrity flameout. But over the last year Spears logged the fifth highest-grossing tour in the world, bringing in $130 million in gross box office receipts by playing 98 dates. High-profile endorsement deals with Elizabeth Arden and Candies' prove that the public expects Spears to stay in the spotlight for good.



No. 7: U2
(Returns to List)

The world's biggest rock band, U2 launched a massive world tour in 2009 that has brought in more than $311 million in gross box office receipts. Each tour stop brings in $10 million in gross ticket sales. Add in lucrative merchandise sales, heavy radio play and a steady-selling back catalog, and you have the highest-earning band on the planet.



No. 8: Sandra Bullock
(2009 Rank: 92)

With two hit movies (The Proposal and The Blind Side) and an Oscar win, Bullock should have been sitting on top of the world. She is financially. With $56 million she's the highest-earning actress. But a messy breakup with cheating husband Jesse James turned her into tabloid fodder. Bullock overcame adversity with news of an adoption and a public return at the MTV Movie Awards.



No. 9: Johnny Depp
(2009 Rank: No Rank)

Depp zooms close to the top of our list this year thanks to his work as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's 3-D update of Alice in Wonderland. The Disney film has grossed $1 billion at the worldwide box office, making Depp the only actor to headline two $1 billion films. Depp also landed a big upfront payday for The Tourist. Costarring Angelina Jolie, the film is a rare case these days of two big stars getting big bucks.



No. 10:
Madonna (2009 Rank: 3)

The Material Girl isn't quite ready to cede her spot in pop music's hierarchy to Lady Gaga or Britney Spears just yet. The 52-year-old singer had the fourth highest-grossing tour of 2009, bringing in $6 million a night and $138 million overall. An episode of the Fox hit sitcom Glee, which featured cast members singing several of her songs, added to her already high profile and cushioned her significant earnings from publishing royalties.



More on the Methodology

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 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.


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