Obama, in another first, named "power" celebrity

Wed Jun 3, 2009 6:27pm EDT
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By Jui Chakravorty Das

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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.   Continued...

<p>President Barack Obama shakes hands with well-wishers at Hradcanske Square in central Prague April 5, 2009. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger</p>