Obama, in another first, named "power" celebrity
By Jui Chakravorty Das
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is the first sitting head of state to make the Forbes Celebrity 100 Power List, with his many magazine covers and best-selling books blurring the line between politics and celebrity.
The president came in at No. 49 on the annual list released on Wednesday -- which ranks celebrities based on their earnings and mentions in the media -- after he made $2.5 million last year from his two best-selling books.
"Obama is hands-down the most famous person in the world," said Lacey Rose of Forbes magazine. "His historic presidential run helped him sell more than a million copies of his books; he landed on many magazine covers."
"There is a real interest in him as a president, a family man, a celebrity," she said.
Obama is the first African American to be elected U.S. president.
Former President Bill Clinton, who left office in 2001, appeared on the Forbes list in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Topping the list is actress Angelina Jolie, followed by talk show host Oprah Winfrey, then singers Madonna and Beyonce Knowles, making this the first year all top four spots were taken by women, Forbes said.
During the past year, Jolie made $27 million, Winfrey $275 million, Madonna $110 million and Knowles $87 million. While Jolie's earnings pale in comparison to the other women's, her constant presence in magazines propelled her to the top spot.
"She is in the dialogue of pop culture nearly every day," Rose said. "There is such an appetite for her relationship with Brad Pitt, her children, her philanthropic activity."
Madonna rose from No. 21 last year, after her 'Hard Candy' tour was the top-grossing international tour of 2008. She also remained in the media spotlight due to her divorce from director Guy Ritchie and her bid to adopt a second child from Malawi.
Golfer Tiger Woods came in at No. 5 with estimated earnings of $110 million, singer Bruce Springsteen nabbed No. 6 with an income of $70 million and director Steven Spielberg took seventh place after bringing in $150 million, Forbes said.
Actress Jennifer Aniston jumped to the No. 8 spot from No. 17 last year, after earning an estimated $25 million from two Hollywood movies, endorsement deals and royalties from her syndicated TV series Friends. She was also a regular in the media due to her former relationship with singer John Mayer.
Brad Pitt, who has six children with Jolie, came in at No. 9, with estimated earnings of $28 million.
Basketball player Kobe Bryant, who saw his popularity soar after making the 2008 Olympic basketball team, came in at No 10. Bryant raked in an estimated $45 million in the past year, padding income from his Los Angeles Lakers basketball contract with endorsements, Forbes said.
Among those dropped from the list are British author J.K. Rowling, who released her final Harry Potter book in 2007. Actor Johnny Depp, who placed sixth last year following the third installment in the movie series Pirates of the Caribbean, also fell off the list.
The full list can be seen at www.forbes.com/celebrities.
(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Eric Walsh)