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Friday, June 17, 2005

Oprah is most powerful celebrity

The Divine Miss Oprah Oprah Winfrey is the world's most powerful celebrity, according to a list compiled by business magazine Forbes.

The 51-year-old talk show host is followed in second place in the annual rankings by golfer Tiger Woods.

Actor turned producer and director Mel Gibson, last year's most powerful person, is third, followed by Star Wars supremo George Lucas.

Sir Elton John is the highest-ranking Briton on the list, in ninth place, with an estimated paycheck in the past 12 months of USD 44 million dollars.

The singer beats Hollywood star Tom Cruise - whose relationship with Batman Begins star Katie Holmes has put him in the limelight.

Cruise is in tenth place, with 31 million dollars, followed by Brad Pitt, with USD 25 million dollars.

As well as looking at a celebrity's earnings over the past year, Forbes examines Internet presence, press clippings, magazine cover stories and mentions on TV and radio.

Oprah, whose talk show is watched by 30 million viewers each week in the US alone, and was third place last year, has estimated earnings of USD 225 million dollars.

Director Steven Spielberg comes sixth (USD 80 million dollars) followed by Johnny Depp (USD 37 million dollars) and Madonna (USD 50 million dollars).

Harry Potter author JK Rowling is down 16 places from six to 22 this year.

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