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Oprah tops Forbes most powerful celebrity list

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey acknowledges the cheers from students and audience as she receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Harvar
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey acknowledges the cheers from students and audience as she receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Harvar

By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After two years as a runner-up, Oprah Winfrey was named the most powerful celebrity on Wednesday by Forbes, heading the six women and four men who make up the top 10.

It was the fifth time the former talk show host who runs her own TV network has headed the annual ranking of 100 celebrities.

Singer Lady Gaga came in second, followed by director/producer Steven Spielberg and singers Beyonce and Madonna.

"There is nobody else with that kind of consistency and power," said Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes.com. "There are only three people who have been on every single one of our lists since 1999. It is Oprah, Howard Stern and Steven Spielberg."

Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, who was No. 1 last year, dropped to 12th place.

With earnings of $77 million from June 2012 to June 2013, Winfrey was not the highest earning celebrity, an honor that went to Madonna who made $125 million. But Forbes said Winfrey's position in Hollywood and her presence in the press, on television and in social media propelled her to the No. 1 spot.

"She still wields an enormous amount of power, which is really what we look for in our fame matrix. She is taking this cable network and turning it around just through the sheer force of her will, her connections and her ability."

Despite hip surgery, which forced her to cut short a tour, Lady Gaga earned $80 million in the past 12 months which, along with her army of fans and powerful social media presence, assured her second place.

"She is still a huge force in pop music. Even when she is not playing, people are talking about her and speculating about her," Pomerantz said.

Spielberg, with earnings of $100 million in the last year, was the top man on the list, ahead of rock star Bon Jovi at No. 7, Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer, who makes $400 million each year from ten sponsors, at No. 8, and Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber, the youngest member of the list, at No. 9.

"Between the money and the influence, he has had a good year," Pomerantz said about Federer, who was the only athlete in the top 10. Golfer Tiger Woods was a few spots below at No. 15.

Although only 23, sixth-place singer Taylor Swift, made the list for the first time and rounded out the top 10 along with Emmy-award winning TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

MONEY, FAME, SOCIAL MEDIA

Forbes based a celebrity's earnings on income from tours, books, contracts, endorsements, movies and residuals. Each celebrity was given a marketability score, developed by California market research firm E-Poll.

It gauged fame and influence by how often celebrities appeared in the media and used Starcount, a Singapore-based company that looks at 11 social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to determine their presence in social media.

"In today's world celebrities have this enormous ability to reach out to their fans, who really are their customers, and to sell their product, which is really themselves. If they don't take advantage of that it hurts them," said Pomerantz.

Pop stars, most notably Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Barbados-born singer Rihanna, are particularly good with handling social media, according to Forbes, whose full list can be found at http://www.forbes.com/celebrities/

Top celebrity couples included Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z (32) and American football quarterback Tom Brady (65) and his model wife Gisele Bundchen (81).

Newcomers to the list included Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, who was No. 49, Australian model Miranda Kerr at No. 100, and E.L. James, the author of the publishing sensation "Fifty Shades of Grey," who was No. 42.

"She (James) made $95 million last year," said Pomerantz.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Paul Simao)

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