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Forbes Celebrity List Features Familiar Faces

Forbes magazine’s annual Celebrity 100 list is out, and not much has changed.

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey bumped last year’s topper, Mel Gibson, and took the top spot for the first time. Her Chicago-based show, going for more than two decades, continues to soar and produce ancillary products like magazines and book clubs. Winfrey ranked No. 3 last year.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
Following Winfrey to round out the top ten are: Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson, George Lucas, Shaquille O’Neal, Steven Spielberg, Johnny Depp, Madonna, Elton John and Tom Cruise.
 
The entire list includes actors, athletes, authors, chefs, models, magicians, musicians and more.
 
Eight of the top ten are men. Three are African-American. Two are sports figures. Two are singers. Five are filmmakers or actors.
 
“Today, it’s easier than ever to find fleeting fame,” said Paul Maidment, editor of Forbes.com, in a video introduction to the special report. “You can be famous just for being famous.”
 
In that vein, hotel heiress and reality TV star Paris Hilton ranked 55.
 
But that’s not the whole story: Some celebrities actually attain such status through accomplishment. Maidment pointed to examples like golf pro Tiger Woods and filmmaker George Lucas, whose reported salaries this year are $87 million and $290 million, respectively.
 
The report’s Web page at Forbes.com allows visitors to sort the list by rank, name, pay; and even press coverage, TV mentions and Web hits (determined by Google activity).
 
Take Bill Clinton. He ranks 56 overall and 89 by pay. But Forbes determines he’s No. 1 in Web, press and TV rankings.
 
Other interesting figures making the list are Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, who moved up to No. 12 from 44 last year; and radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who lands at No. 28, slipping eight spots from the previous year.
 
The list also includes a good round-up of relevant articles, including one about Christian keynote speakers. That story includes a list of popular Christian speakers and their fees. Topping that list are NFL quarterback Kurt Warner ($40,000), former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser ($20,000) and TV personality Art Linkletter ($15,000).
 
The Celebrity 100 is just one list of dozens maintained by Forbes. Other lists include worst cars, finest neckties and best places to die.
 
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
 
The Celebrity 100 from Forbes is here.