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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 23:48 GMT 00:48 UK
Gibson tops celebrity power list
Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson is one of Hollywood's biggest earners
Actor Mel Gibson has been named as the world's most powerful celebrity by US business magazine Forbes.

The Passion of the Christ director earned $210m (120m) in 2003 to take top spot in The Forbes Celebrity 100.

The 48-year-old eclipsed last year's winner Jennifer Aniston, who dropped to 17th position.

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling was ranked the sixth most powerful celebrity - rocketing up from 15th position last year.

The author has sold more than 250 million copies of her five Harry Potter books.

1. Mel Gibson
2. Tiger Woods
3. Oprah Winfrey
4. Tom Cruise
5. Rolling Stones
Source: Forbes

Forbes ranks people by combining earning power and public exposure - including magazine and newspaper articles, TV and radio appearances and web hits.

Other top-ranking Brits include The Rolling Stones whose mammoth tour and DVD sales boosted them by five places to number five.

England captain David Beckham's star status has propelled him from 56th place to 22nd, despite allegations of an affair and the relatively small US interest in soccer.

Editor-in-chief Steve Forbes said Beckham's move to Real Madrid had made him a bigger international star.

"Beckham has been getting more and more coverage in America and it shows that more sports stars and athletes are becoming global phenomenons."

Welsh-born actress Catherine Zeta Jones is at number 56, while her husband Michael Douglas does not even make the list.

But reality show stars the Osbourne family are also absent, despite peaking at number 12 last year.

Other high-profile stars who have fallen out of the top 100 include Jennifer Lopez and her former fiance Ben Affleck.

Mr Forbes said: "The list changes enormously each year.

"Mel Gibson wasn't even on it last year. But The Passion of the Christ has had a huge intake of money and will probably be a record by the time the residuals come in.

"Gibson has also received huge coverage, some of it controversial, from his film."

He said of Rowling's placing: "We've seen the latest Potter movie get off to a good start in the US. Everybody expects that her name will have legs on this list."

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