Oprah: queen of the celebrities

Oprah Winfrey has topped Forbes’ 100 list for the second year in a row, crowning the talk-show diva the world’s most powerful celebrity.

It’s her fifth time on the list and would have been her fourth consecutive at number one if Tom Cruise had not supplanted her in 2005.

The runner-up spot once again belongs to golf sensation Tiger Woods.

“It’s not surprising that Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods remain at the top this year — they’re certainly some of the biggest earners,” said Matthew Miller of Forbes magazine.

Two celebrity power couples filed into the top ten with Angelina Jolie ranking third and her partner Brad Pitt in tenth and spouses Beyoncé Knowles in fourth and Jay-Z in seventh.

Rounding out the top ten is soccer star David Beckham (5th), actor and heartthrob Johnny Depp (6th), reunited music group The Police (8th), and Harry Potter writer J. K. Rowling (9th).

The rankings give the most weight to earnings over the past year but also factors in elements such as Internet presence, press clippings, magazine covers and mentions on TV and radio.

During the past year Winfrey made $275 million, Woods $115 million, Knowles $80 million, Beckham $50 million, Depp $72 million, Jay-Z $82 million, The Police $115 million, and Rowling $300 million.

While Jolie’s and Pitt’s earnings of $14 and $20 million, respectively, pale in comparison, the popularity of the couple, who have four children and twins on the way, and their consistent presence in magazines caused their stocks to skyrocket.

“Had (Jolie) made a couple of millions dollars more she probably would have been close to topping the list because the number of magazine covers that she was on, the number of stories she was mentioned in, far surpassed anyone else on the list,” Miller said.

In contrast, Rowling took in more money than Oprah last year but her celebrity status is lacking.

The 2008 top 100 consists of 20 film actors, 20 athletes, 10 musicians, 10 talk show hosts, 10 TV actors, five “tween” stars (including Hannah Montana’s Miley Cyrus), five directors/producers, five celebrity personalities, four authors, four hip-hop impresarios, four chefs and three models.

There are 27 newbies on the list including Daily Show host John Stewart (80th), actor Steve Carell (87th), and reality television star Lauren Conrad. Conversely, stars sliding off the list include Tom Hanks, Jessica Alba, Hayden Panettiere, Adam Sandler, Scarlett Johansson, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Jessica Simpson.

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