Jolie dethrones Oprah as most powerful celebrity

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Birth of twins helped actress take No 1 spot on 'Forbes' list

Oprah Winfrey will have to wriggle up to make room on the sofa because the queen of daytime TV has just been toppled as the most powerful celebrity on the planet.

Step forward Angelina Jolie, whose roles in Changeling and Kung Fu Panda last year pale in comparison to the starring role she plays in her own family drama, the latest episode of which adorns the cover of at least two celebrity gossip mags each week.

Surfing the wave of publicity generated by the birth of her twins last July, she has been crowned by Forbes magazine atop its Power List of the 100 most influential celebrities in 2009.

"Oprah is still our biggest earner, but when it comes to fame, Angelina Jolie is hands down the most famous woman on the planet," says Macey Rose, a senior editor at Forbes.

"There's a mystique about her that she has been able to maintain for years now, and there is always another story to tell about her children, about her films, about her philanthropic work and about her relationship with Brad Pitt. She is part of the pop culture dialogue on a daily basis and that sets her apart from every other celebrity."

The magazine ranks celebrities not just for the earnings power they are packing, but for the impact of their "brand", counting up magazine covers, TV appearances, and the acres of newsprint and gigabytes of internet space that are given over to discussing their movements.

The list itself, in the issue which hits news-stands this morning, will no doubt become the latest chapter in that eternally fascinating love triangle: Brad Pitt is overtaken this year by his former wife, Jennifer Aniston, who pips him to No 8.

The top 10 most powerful stars is split 50-50 between men and women, but if the list had been based on earnings alone, only Oprah, Madonna and Beyoncé Knowles would have made the top 10.

Angelina Jolie's earnings last year are estimated at $27m (£17m), putting her at No 60, one-tenth of the sum raked in by Oprah from her TV, magazine and lifestyle empire.

And what of the Brits? They may well discover that their castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand, but for now Coldplay rule the world.

It is a rare radio station in Middle America that doesn't play something penned by Chris Martin at least once an hour, and his troupe is officially the most powerful band on the planet, according to Forbes, which reckons that the band racked up about $70m in earnings in the past year, mainly from their giant stadium tour. They are at No 15 on the list.

They were out-earned by the equally ubiquitous international sourpuss that is Simon Cowell, who made $75m last year from judging American Idol, the nation's most popular TV show, and from his own talent show formats on both sides of the Atlantic.

But Cowell has to settle for 25th place in the power rankings.

JK Rowling, having exhausted her seven wizard books, did not make the 100 at all this year, despite having made more money than Oprah the previous time out, the year when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published. Daniel Radcliffe – described by Forbes as a "tween star" – stays on the list, at No 70, having taken his clothes off on Broadway for the play Equus.

New to the list this year is the country star Taylor Swift, who made $18m in the past year from selling four million albums and touring, along with one Barack Obama, to whom Forbes magazine gives the designation "author".

He is the first sitting head of state to qualify for the list, after his rise to the US presidency helped him shift a million copies of Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. President Obama sits at No 49, a place behind George Clooney – and two places behind Australian grizzlerockers AC/DC.

Big names: Who made it

The 'Forbes' celebrity 100 power list:

Top 10

1. Angelina Jolie

2. Oprah Winfrey

3. Madonna

4. Beyoncé Knowles

5. Tiger Woods

6. Bruce Springsteen

7. Steven Spielberg

8. Jennifer Aniston

9. Brad Pitt

10. Kobe Bryant

The Brits

15. Coldplay

25. Simon Cowell

28. David Beckham

70. Daniel Radcliffe

94. Hugh Laurie

97. Kate Moss

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee