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The Forbes Celebrity 100: The Full List

Movie stars once called all the shots in Hollywood. Not anymore. Thanks to unscripted television and social media, 24-hour personalities dominate this year’s list of the 100 most influential people in entertainment— ranked by earnings, press coverage and internet impact

Published: Jun 29, 2012
Rihanna
Rihanna

1 | Jennifer Lopez
$52 MILLION

Between American Idol, a new clothing line and upcoming tour, Lopez is on fire. The singer also appears with her ex-husband on the Univision talent contest Q’Viva!

2 | Oprah Winfrey
$165 MILLION

With the end of her syndicated show, the media mogul’s earnings plummeted $125 million from last year. Still, Winfrey remains the highest earner on our list. Her new full-time job: Saving her struggling OWN cable network.

3 | Justin Bieber
$55 MILLION

The teen idol is now a serious investor. Among his portfolio holdings: Spotify, Tinychat and Sojo Studios, which makes the FarmVille-esque game WeTopia.

4 | Rihanna
$53 MILLION

The Barbados-born diva lands on our list for the first time thanks to hits including 'We Found Love' and 'Talk That Talk', as well as endorsements for the likes of Vita Coco and Nivea. With over 53 million Facebook fans, she’s second only to Eminem. Her fragrance, Reb’l Fleur, adds millions more to her coffers, as does a heavy touring schedule that included over 85 shows in the past 12 months. Up next: After collaborating with Emporio Armani on a small collection last year, she’s hinted at plans to launch a fashion line of her own in the near future.

5 | Lady Gaga
$52 MILLION

A lack of touring pushed Gaga from the No. 1 spot this year, but an arsenal of older hits and a new album kept the singer-songwriter in the top 5.

6 | Britney Spears
$58 MILLION

After a one-year hiatus a successful tour helped get Spears back on The Celebrity 100 this time. Her Christmas engagement kept her in the news.

7 | Kim Kardashian
$18 MILLION

Kardashian is the lowest earner in our top 10, but no one plays the fame game better. Her splashy wedding on E! attracted 10 million viewers, and her whiplash divorce landed her more than 50 magazine covers.

8 | Katy Perry
$45 MILLION

Still minting hits off of her 2010 album Teenage Dream, her divorce from comedian Russell Brand kept her in the press and inspired her latest hit, 'Part of Me'.

9 | Tom Cruise
$75 MILLION

All but written off as a has-been a few years ago, Cruise’s career has rebounded. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol earned $700 million at the global box office.

10 | Steven Spielberg
$130 MILLION

Spielberg got into TV in a big way this year, putting 4 shows, including Smash and megaflop Terra Nova, on the air. In theatres War Horse was nominated for Best Picture and The Adventures of Tintin brought in $375 million.

mg_65714_celebrity_one_280x210.jpg
L to R: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images; Lucas Jackson / Reuters; Jumana El-Heloueh / Reuters; Danny Moloshok / Reuters; Eric Thayer / Reuters; Lucas Jackson / Reuters

11 | Taylor Swift
$57 MILLION

Swift benefitted from a huge tour this year, grossing more than $1 million per night. The young singer-songwriter also earns big as one of the faces of CoverGirl. Her fourth album is due out this fall.

12 | Tiger Woods
$58 MILLION

Woods doesn’t bank as much as he used to for appearances, but he still cashes in on Nike clothes and shoes, and endorsement deals with Rolex, NetJets and others.

13 | Angelina Jolie
$20 MILLION

Jolie wrote and directed her first film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, this year. It fizzled at the box office, but Jolie still earns from residuals and Louis Vuitton ads.

14 | Donald Trump
$63 MILLION

Trump’s Apprentice TV show is still going strong, and he sells everything from a Trump fragrance to shirts at Macy’s. Flirtations with politics kept him in the news. A lot.

15 | LeBron James
$53 MILLION

In addition to earning on the court, James makes millions shilling for Dunkin’ Donuts, Coke and State Farm. He also owns a stake in Liverpool’s soccer team.

16 | Beyonce Knowles
$40 MILLION

The new mom took a break from her hectic touring schedule this year, but she still has her music, House of Dereon clothing line and endorsement deals with companies like L’Oréal and DirecTV.

17 | Elton John
$80 MILLION

The 65-year-old pop rocker is still going strong with over 100 shows in the past 12 months and a 34th album on the way. His animated film, Gnomeo & Juliet, brought in $200 million.

Adele
Adele

18 | Simon Cowell
$90 MILLION

Cowell’s newest show, The X Factor, wasn’t the hit he was hoping it would be. Expect a new slate of judges for the upcoming season. Rumours have everyone from Britney Spears to Miley Cyrus signing on.

19 | Rush Limbaugh
$69 MILLION

The radio host stirred up plenty of controversy this year when he waded into the war over paying for contraception. He’ll now have to win back advertisers that left his show in droves.

20 | Tyler Perry
$105 MILLION

The writer/director/producer/star continues to churn out at least one movie per year, like the recent film Good Deeds. His income is boosted by a trio of TV shows, including House of Payne and Meet the Browns.

21 | Paul McCartney
$57 MILLION

Sir Paul continues to tour and milk his days with the Beatles. The singer got some extra press attention this year when he married New Yorker Nancy Shevell.

22 | Jennifer Aniston
$11 MILLION

Aniston took a break from playing the nice girl last year, co-starring in Horrible Bosses as a sexually aggressive dentist. Her relationship with Justin Theroux helped land her on 78 magazine covers.

23 | Glenn Beck
$80 MILLION

Beck may no longer be on cable, but he hasn’t disappeared altogether. He’s succeeding with his Web empire, which includes a radio feed, videos and blogs.

24 | Adele
$35 MILLION

Heartbreak has never been so lucrative. The big-voiced Brit gained mainstream fame singing away her pain on sophomore album 21, which has sold over 23 million copies since its 2011 debut; hits like 'Rolling in the Deep' and 'Rumor Has It' sent single sales past 25 million. After undergoing vocal surgery in November 2011, she made her comeback performance at the Grammys, winning all 6 awards for which she was nominated. Up next: Hitting the studio to work on new material and reportedly moving in with a new beau. Record executives may be rooting for a breakup.

25 | Bon Jovi
$60 MILLION

The New Jersey rockers continue to rake it in with sold-out shows and a new album on the way. Guests pay what they can at frontman Jon’s Soul Kitchen restaurant.

26 | Dr Dre
$110 MILLION

Handset-maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats by Dr Dre, the headphone company he co-founded with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine in 2006.

27 | Kobe Bryant
$50 MILLION

The NBA lockout dinged his on-court pay, but the Lakers star still earns plenty from endorsement deals with brands like Sprite and Turkish Airlines.

mg_65716_celebrity_two_280x210.jpg
L to R: Lucas Jackson / Reuters; David Moir / Reuters; Mario Anzuoni / Reuters; Jason Redmond / Reuters; Yves Herman / Reuters; Jason Merritt / Getty Images 

28 | Brad Pitt
$25 MILLION

Pitt got his third Oscar nomination this year, for Moneyball, and proposed to his long-time partner (and fellow Celebrity 100 member), Angelina Jolie.

29 | Ryan Seacrest
$59 MILLION

After signing on to host American Idol for at least 2 more years, Seacrest also recently inked a new deal with Comcast that extends his presence within the company from E! to NBC, where he’ll cover news, sports and entertainment. Look for the busy host on NBC’s Olympic coverage this summer. Seacrest is also the man behind the Kardashian TV empire, producing all of the clan’s shows. His newest hit is Shahs of Sunset about Iranian-Americans living in Beverly Hills.

30 | Howard Stern
$95 MILLION

The radio star hits network TV this year as one of 3 judges on the talent show America’s Got Talent.

31 | Roger Federer
$52 MILLION

Federer is the best-paid tennis player in the world. He gets millions for exhibition matches and to push products like razors and chocolate.

32 | David Beckham
$46 MILLION

The soccer star just signed what is likely to be his last contract with the LA Galaxy. At 37, Becks has his eyes set on team ownership. Welcomed his first daughter with wife Victoria in 2011.

33 | Manny Pacquiao
$67 MILLION

Pacman is still a huge draw in the boxing world. His 2011 fight against Shane Mosley (Pacquiao won) generated 1.34 million pay-per-view buys. Pacquiao shills for Monster Energy drinks and Hennessy.

34 | Ellen DeGeneres  
$53 MILLION

The lesbian talk show host masterfully handled criticism from One Million Moms when the group objected to JC Penney hiring her as a spokesperson. She is also one of the faces of CoverGirl makeup.

Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest

35 | Michael Bay
$160 MILLION

Transformers: Dark of the Moon made Bay this year’s top-earning director. Next: Pain & Gain starring The Rock and Mark Wahlberg.

36 | George Lucas
$90 MILLION

Lucas returns to this list after sitting back in the producer’s chair with the recent Red Tails. Lucas still earns millions from the Star Wars franchise.

37 | James Patterson
$94 MILLION

Patterson is a writing machine. The author published 14 new books in 2011, almost all of which landed on the bestseller list.

38 | Jay-Z
$38 MILLION

Becoming a father to baby Blue Ivy didn’t slow down Jay-Z’s prodigious pace of money-making. The hip-hop star cashed in on Watch the Throne with Kanye West and a slew of non-musical ventures.

39 | Jerry Bruckheimer
$115 MILLION

Bruckheimer’s fourth Pirates of the Caribbean was a huge hit, bringing in $1 billion at the global box office. Up next: The Lone Ranger, with Johnny Depp as Tonto.

40 | Peyton Manning
$42 MILLION

The quarterback signed with the Broncos this year after missing the 2011 season because of neck surgery. He still collected his $26.4 million salary.

41 | David Letterman
$45 MILLION

The host signed a contract that will keep him on the air through 2014, making Letterman the longest-serving late-night host of all time.

42 | Sean “Diddy” Combs
$45 MILLION

The bulk of Diddy’s earnings came from his premium vodka, Ciroc; sales have doubled in the past year.

43 | Kristen Stewart
$34.5 MILLION

At the young age of 22, Stewart is the highest-paid actress of the past 12 months. Much of her money comes from the Twilight franchise, but she’s also starring in Snow White and the Huntsman.

44 | Cristiano Ronaldo
$42 MILLION

The Real Madrid player gets a nice pay boost every year on his soccer salary. He also endorses products from Castrol, Konami and a Portuguese bank.

45 | Kanye West
$35 MILLION

West’s collaboration with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, went platinum. The hip-hop star also always attracts plenty of media attention, most recently for his relationship with Kim Kardashian.

mg_65718_celebrity_three_280x210.jpg
L to R: Ray Tamarra / Getty Images; Phil McCarten / Reuters; Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images; Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters; Rick Wilking / Reuters

46 | Leonardo DiCaprio
$37 MILLION

The star’s recent big movie, J Edgar, was a box office dud that failed to earn any major Oscar nominations. Next up for DiCaprio: A 3-D version of The Great Gatsby.

47 | Rafael Nadal
$33 MILLION

Nadal brought in a healthy $8.6 million in prize money over the last 12 months, but he earns more from endorsements for Nike, Bacardi and Kia.

48 | Phil Mickelson
$48 MILLION

The new Golf Hall of Fame member finished third at the recent Masters Tournament. Off the tee Mickelson endorses brands like Callaway and Rolex and is designing golf courses in China.

49 | Toby Keith
$55 MILLION

In addition to touring, Keith opened 2 more branches of his I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant, including one in Boston, now his second-best-performing location.

50 | Lionel Messi
$39 MILLION

Messi has been chosen player of the year for 3 straight years. Widely considered the best soccer player in the world, Messi attracts upscale sponsors like Dolce & Gabbana and Audemars Piguet.

51 | Ashton Kutcher
$24 MILLION

With Kutcher as star, ratings on Two and a Half Men have slipped a bit, but the show is still a major hit for CBS. The Twitter heartthrob recently went through a very public split from wife Demi Moore.

Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather

52 | Floyd Mayweather
$40 MILLION

Mayweather is the biggest draw in boxing since Mike Tyson, the first boxer to have 4 straight fights eclipse 1 million buyers on pay-per-view. “Money” Mayweather commands a bigger percentage of each boxing purse because he also acts as promoter through his company, Mayweather Promotions. In his latest bout he defeated Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision on May 5 to run his record to 43 wins and zero defeats. He’ll net as much as $50 million when all of the revenue is split up (our earnings cut-off was May 1). The boxing world eagerly awaits a Mayweather versus Manny Pacquaio fight.

53 | Kenny Chesney
$44 MILLION

A big tour helped Chesney return to our list this year. The country star’s 13th album, Welcome to the Fishbowl, is scheduled to hit stores this summer. Its first single, 'Feel Like a Rock Star', is already selling well.

54 | Dick Wolf
$70 MILLION

Wolf is down to one prime-time show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but his TV shows still run endlessly in syndication, which means Wolf will rake it in for years to come.

55 | Sandra Bullock
$25 MILLION

Bullock’s 2011 movie, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, didn’t make much noise at the box office. She’ll earn a hefty upfront payday for the sci-fi movie Gravity, though.

56 | Johnny Depp
$30 MILLION

Depp’s summer blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, made $1 billion, but the star earned most of his money up front. Next he’ll play Tonto in Disney’s The Lone Ranger.

57 | Adam Sandler
$37 MILLION

Sandler’s Jack & Jill, where the comedian played both starring roles, won a disgraceful 10 Razzie awards, but it won’t hurt the star’s career. He’s one of the few actors who still collects $20 million pay cheques.

58 | Will Smith
$30 MILLION

After a break from the big screen Smith is back in the summer blockbuster Men in Black 3. His children are threatening to eclipse his fame. Son Jaden is a movie star and daughter Willow churns out hits.

59 | Cameron Diaz
$34 MILLION

Diaz’s latest, Bad Teacher, grossed $216 million on a tiny budget of $20 million. Diaz took home a nice chunk of that. She’ll play a rodeo queen in the upcoming Gambit.

60 | Tom Brady
$27 MILLION

The Patriots may have lost the Super Bowl, but Brady is still one of the best-paid stars in the NFL. His dejected pose after the game inspired the meme “Bradying.”

61 | Gisele Bundchen
$45 MILLION

Bundchen runs a mini-empire that includes lines of clothing and lingerie. Criticising husband Tom Brady’s teammates after they lost the Super Bowl got her more attention.

mg_65720_celebrity_four_280x210.jpg
L to R: Marcos Brindicci / Reuters; Carlo Allegri / Reuters; Steve Marcus / Reuters; Steve Marcus / Reuters; Benoit Tessier / Reuters; Craig Durling / Zuma / Newscom (Bottom)

62 | Mark Burnett
$55 MILLION

Reality master Burnett has another hit on his hands with The Voice. He also has The Apprentice, Survivor and Shark Tank on air.

63 | Alex Rodriguez
$34 MILLION

A-Rod makes most of his money on the field. Unlike some of the other athletes on our list, he earns only a couple million from endorsements for brands like Nike and Rawlings.

64 | Jerry Seinfeld
$40 MILLION

The comedian had a high-profile ad during the Super Bowl this year, but most of his money comes from touring. Seinfeld’s eponymous sitcom remains lucrative.

65 | Tom Hanks
$26 MILLION

Hanks’s Larry Crowne, which the actor co-wrote, produced and starred in, was a flop, earning only $52 million on an estimated budget of $30 million. Next up: A film based on Richard Phillips’s tangle with pirates.

66 | Stephen King
$39 MILLION

King is still going strong with 2 books in the last 12 months: 11/22/63 and The Wind Through the Keyhole, the eighth book in his Dark Tower series. A planned film adaptation of the series fell apart.

67 | Taylor Lautner
$26.5 MILLION
Lautner earned the same amount as his Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson in the past 12 months, but he got a lot more press attention. So Lautner lands on our list for the first time while Pattinson drops off.

68 | Brad Paisley
$32 MILLION

The country crooner’s 18th album, This is Country Music, went gold last June. The busy singer had a major tour and is already at work on his next album.

Khloe Kardashian Odom
Khloe Kardashian Odom

69 | LilWayne
$27 MILLION

The diminutive rhymester’s Carter IV sold nearly 1 million copies in its opening week last summer, but the bulk of his money came from 51 shows and a multimillion-dollar pact with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew.

70 | Dwayne Johnson
$36 MILLION

The Rock returned to wrestling this year and established himself as Hollywood’s biggest up-and-coming action star, reviving the Fast and Furious and Journey to the Center of the Earth franchises.

71 | Maria Sharapova
$26 MILLION

Sharapova earns way more off the court than on thanks to sales of her Cole Haan ballet flat and endorsements with companies like Samsung. Up next for the tennis star: A candy company.

72 | Ben Stiller
$33 MILLION

Stiller’s latest, Tower Heist, struggled at the box office, but he still earns plenty for comedies like the upcoming The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which the actor is also directing.

73 | Khloe Kardashian Odom
$11 MILLION

Kim might be the most famous of the 3 Kardashian sisters, but insiders say Khloe is the sister with the business smarts. With Kim and Kourtney she designed the Kardashian Kollection for Sears, promoted apparel line K-DASH on QVC, opened a new location of the family boutique, DASH, in New York and Kardashian Khaos, a novelty store, in Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel. Those are all new revenue streams for 2012. And while the family just re-signed with E! for 3 more years of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Khloe’s spin-off show with husband Lamar Odom is a hit in its own right. The couple’s fragrance, Unbreakable, is a big seller at Perfumania.

74 | Seth MacFarlane
$36 MILLION

MacFarlane is best known for his animated TV shows like Family Guy and American Dad, but his secret passion is science. The TV producer is using his influence to bring a new version of Cosmos to TV.

75 | Charlize Theron
$18 MILLION

Theron’s career is booming. She stars in 2 big-budget films this summer: Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus. Theron’s also gotten plenty of attention for her recent adoption of a baby boy.

76 | Sofia Vergara
$19 MILLION

The Modern Family star’s overnight success was actually 17 years in the making. In addition to acting and ad work for Pepsi and CoverGirl, Vergara co-heads an entertainment management company.

77 | Serena Williams
$13 MILLION

Williams was sidelined in 2011 with serious injuries, but she still managed to win 2 of the 6 tournaments she entered. She is now ranked ninth in the world and has a clothing line that sells on HSN.

78 | Alec Baldwin
$15 MILLION

The 30 Rock actor is also a breakout Twitter star. He earned legions of followers (and detractors) when he got into a fight with a flight attendant who wanted him to stop playing Words With Friends on his phone.

mg_65722_celebrity_five_280x210.jpg
Top: Gregorio Binuya / Everett / Newscom; L to R: Joe Kohen / Getty Images; Hans Deryk/ Reuters; Benoit Tessier / Reuters; Vivek Prakash / Reuters; Getty Images

79 | Janet Evanovich
$33 MILLION

At the age of 69 Evanovich is still churning out books. She released her latest Stephanie Plum book, Explosive Eighteen, this year. A film adaptation of the series starring Katherine Heigl bombed.

80 | Julia Roberts
$16 MILLION

Roberts is at an age and fame level when she can pick and choose her projects. This year she made some questionable choices. Larry Crowne bombed, and Mirror Mirror is struggling at the box office.

81 | Eva Longoria
$15 MILLION

With Desperate Housewives winding down, Longoria is well positioned to stay in the limelight. Her new show, Devious Maids, is in production and her perfume, EVAmour, sells well on HSN.

82 | John Grisham
$26 MILLION

Even when he’s not writing about legal intrigue, Grisham’s books are bestsellers. His latest, Calico Joe, is a father-son tale set against the world of professional baseball. It debuted at No. 1.

83 | Meryl Streep
$12 MILLION

It’s been a few years since Streep starred in a box office winner, but her latest, The Iron Lady, a biopic about Margaret Thatcher, won the actress her third Oscar.

84 | Tiesto
$23 MILLION

The Dutch DJ grosses $250,000 per night on average; low production costs let him keep the bulk of that sum from more than 100 shows in the past year.

85 | JK Rowling
$17 MILLION

Harry Potter books and movies may be at an end, but the boy wizard is still hard at work online. Rowling launched Pottermore this year, an interactive place for fans to play and download e-books.

Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy

86 | Sarah Jessica Parker
$15 MILLION

Parker’s latest movie, I Don’t Know How She Does It, bombed. Still, Sex and the City re-runs keep the cash flowing.

87 | Li Na
$18 MILLION

Li is the first Chinese tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam event. She’s now in demand for endorsement deals.

88 | Hugh Laurie
$18 MILLION

This is Laurie’s last year playing the cranky Dr House. His TV show is going off the air after 8 years on Fox.

89 | Reese Witherspoon
$9 MILLION

Witherspoon is no longer box office gold. Her 2011 comedy, How Do You Know, was a major flop. The recent This Means War did a bit better, but the actress, who is expecting her third child, needs a hit.

90 | Jeff Dunham
$22.5 MILLION

The ventriloquist is one of the biggest touring acts in the nation. Dunham builds his own dummies and helicopters. The self-professed nerd also has a Mac museum with 40 functioning computers.

91 | Larry the Cable Guy
$18 MILLION

The comedian earns big money from touring, but he also has endeared himself to a whole generation of little boys playing Mater in Disney’s Cars franchise.

92 | Skrillex
$15 MILLION

The side-mulleted sensation helped popularise the dubstep subgenre of electronic music, winning 3 Grammys for his work. He cashes in on the road. Skrillex played over 150 shows in the past 12 months.

93 | Tina Fey
$11 MILLION

30 Rock is still more of a critical than ratings success, but syndication helps Fey’s TV earnings. The writer/producer/ actress gave birth to her second daughter, Penelope.

94 | Kate Moss
$9 MILLION

Moss is a fashion double threat, landing rich modelling jobs and designing gigs. She has a fashion line through Top Shop and endorsement deals with Hugo Boss and Longchamp.

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L to R: Yuriko Nakao / Reuters; Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters; Phil McCarten / Reuters; Getty Images; Joffet Emmanuel / Sipa / Newscom; Chris Pizzello / AP (Bottom)

95 | Ray Romano
$18 MILLION

Romano’s new TV show, Men of a Certain Age, was cancelled, but he still cashes in on Everybody Loves Raymond.

96 | Zooey Deschanel
$9 MILLION

The actress has a hit with the Fox show New Girl. Thanks to endorsements, her earnings spiked since her finances were made public in divorce filings last year.

97 | Bethenny Frankel
$12 MILLION

Our 2011 cover girl takes a tumble on our list because her biggest earnings came from selling SkinnyGirl cocktails to Beam last year.

98 | Tim Allen
$14 MILLION

Allen is back on prime-time television with Last Man Standing, for which he is being paid millions. Allen still earns from Home Improvement and the Toy Story franchise.

99 | Melissa McCarthy
$6 MILLION

Melissa McCarthy had a breakout year. Her Oscar-nominated performance in Bridesmaids— which pulled in $290 million at the box office— was lauded by critics. On CBS, McCarthy is one-half of Mike & Molly, which averages 10 million viewers each week and earned her a Golden Globe in 2011. Up next for the Illinois native: Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 and Identity Theft, alongside Jason Bateman and Jon Favreau.

100 | Adriana Lima
$7 MILLION

The Brazilian Victoria’s Secret model is now the face of Donna Karan. She got plenty of press this year for 2 Super Bowl ads, one for Teleflora and one for Kia.

(This story appears in the 06 July, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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