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The world's most powerful celebrities

June 12, 2008 14:14 IST

It is the year of the tween. Coming off a massive concert tour, a hit 3-D movie--and a risqué picture in Vanity Fair--pop star Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) leads a slew of young stars onto Forbes' annual Celebrity 100 ranking of the world's ultra-famous.

Also building buzz, and drawing dollars, from the under-18 crowd were Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, teen crooners the Jonas Brothers and High School Musical stars Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale.

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Oprah Winfrey remains No. 1 on the Celebrity 100, a power ranking based on both earnings and fame. Despite weakening television ratings and magazine circulation, Winfrey earned 11,786.5 billion rupees before taxes in the past 12 months, and she remains one of the most famous faces in the world.

The Celebrity 100 is Forbes' list of the world's most powerful--and best-paid--celebrities. To generate the list, Forbes estimates celebrity earnings, then factors in media metrics like Google hits, press mentions as compiled by Factiva, TV/radio mentions from Lexis/Nexis and the number of times an A-lister appears on the cover of more than 50 consumer magazines.

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Earnings estimates are for June 2007 to June 2008 and consist of dollars earned solely from entertainment-related income. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted.

Golf star Tiger Woods retained the No. 2 spot on the list, raking in Rs 4,928.9 billion on and off the course, while actress Angelina Jolie soared to the third spot, combining Rs 600.0 million in earnings with unrivaled levels of fame.

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Joining Jolie in the top 10 is boyfriend Brad Pitt, with whom she is expecting twins. Pitt banked Rs 857.2 million in the past 12 months and was often spotted on the covers of magazines with Jolie as the two traveled the world promoting movies and working for various charities.

Another power couple in the top 10: pop star Beyonce Knowles (No. 4) and hip-hop mogul Jay-Z (No. 7). Beyonce had a monster year, pulling in Rs 3,428.8 billion between a highly successful concert tour, private shows, a fashion line, endorsement deals and film work.

Jay-Z left Def Jam Records to sign a Rs 6,429 billion deal with concert promoter Live Nation. The deal provides the rapper and entrepreneur with money for recording, tours and other entertainment endeavors for the next decade.

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Hip-hop impresario 50 Cent was the third-highest earner on the list (he ranked 26th overall), taking in Rs 6,429 billion before taxes. Last summer Coca-Cola paid Rs 175.7 billion for Glaceau, the beverage company that owns Vitamin Water. The self-admitted former drug dealer owned a small stake in the company.

The highest-ranked actor on the list is Johnny Depp, in sixth place. Depp made 3,085.9 billion rupees last year, much of it earned on the "back end" of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which grossed more than Rs 40,717 billion worldwide. Will Smith, ranked 11th, is the highest paid actor in Hollywood, bringing home Rs 3,428.8 billion, including an estimated Rs 857.2 million for his role in the upcoming anti-superhero flick Hancock.

This year 27 newcomers make the list. Among them: rock band the Police, who sold Rs 8,572 billion worth of tickets and played to 4 million fans during a massive international tour. Daily Show host Jon Stewart, The Office's Steve Carell and reality-TV personality Lauren Conrad are also notable new members.


The Forbes Celebrity 100 was edited by Matthew Miller, with additional editing by Dorothy Pomerantz and Lacey Rose.

Reported by: Kurt Badenhausen, Peter Beller, Kiri Blakeley, Monte Burke, Helen Coster, Alex Davidson, Mary Ellen Egan, Catie Etka, Erin Gell, Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Evan Hessel, Peter Hoy, David K. Randall, Emily Stewart, Lauren Streib, Chaniga Vorasarun.

Research: Clarita Jones, Anne Mintz and Susan Radlauer.

Photo research: Gail Toivanen.

Online: Michael Noer (editor); Nina Gould, Kai Hecker (design); Jane Colihan and Merilee Santoro (photo research).

Matthew Miller, Forbes
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