Steven Spielberg was named by Forbes magazine on Wednesday as the most influential celebrity in the United States.
This has had the effect of pushing the former number one holder of the title, Oprah Winfrey, down to second place, with a 45 percent rating; Spielberg rated 47 percent.
The annual study has film directors occupying four out of the top five places. In addition to Spielberg, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas secured the number two slot, and directors Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese were placed fourth and fifth respectively.
It seems that the main factor in promoting Spielberg to number one was the success of his recent film “Lincoln” featuring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. The movie, which earned 12 Oscar nominations last year, including best picture, and best direction, grossed $275 million globally.
Forbes said 67-year-old Spielberg’s ability to attract overseas interest in a U.S. drama about 19th-century Washington politics, spoke volumes for his influence and good name. “Lincoln” grossed $93 million in foreign markets – over 35 percent of its revenue.
Gerry Philpott, president of E-Poll Market Research, which conducted the study for Forbes said: “A celebrity’s ‘Influential’ score represents how that person is perceived as influencing the public, their peers, or both.”
Oprah Winfrey, 59, who headed the list last year with 49 percent, dropped four points this year. Forbes said this could be due to the time she had to spend running her cable television network OWN, which had reduced her public profile and exposure.
Other high-ranking celebrities who featured in the top 10 included television physician Mehmet Oz, ABC TV journalist Barbara Walters, and U2 singer and activist Bono.
E-Poll Market Research ranked more than 6,600 celebrities on 46 personality attributes but Forbes declined say how many people actually participated in the survey.
Given the American obsession with celebrity, and all those who are famous for simply being famous, we should be grateful that the most influential personality was someone with the stature and talent of Steven Spielberg.
AND he didn’t have to swing naked on a wrecking ball to get the award……..