To be a Hollywood celebrity is arguably to be in a position of power. The millions of dollars of earnings and throngs of adulating fans are proof of this.
In the US, Forbes Magazine compiled The Celebrity 100 — a ranking of the top 100 celebrities in the US based on money and fame.
Earnings estimates were based on income from films, TV shows, endorsements, books and other entertainment ventures. Fame was calculated through Google web hits, blog search, appearances on the cover of magazines, and number of Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
Top 10 Richest and Most Powerful Celebrities in the US 2010
Power Rank #1. Oprah Winfrey
Earnings (2010): $315 million
News that the 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.
#2. Beyonce Knowles
Earnings (2010): $87 million
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.
#3. James Cameron
Earnings (2010): $210 million
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.
#4. Lady Gaga
Earnings (2010): $62 million
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.
#5. Tiger Woods
Earnings (2010): $105 million
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.
#6. Britney Spears
Earnings (2010): $64 million
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.
Earnings (2010): $130 million
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.
#8. Sandra Bullock
Earnings (2010): $56 million
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.
#9. Johnny Depp
Earnings (2010): $75 million
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.
Earnings (2010): $58 million
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.
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