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|Oprah Winfrey On The Wealthiest List ! by buzzgonz(m): 12:44pm On Mar 08, 2008|
Last spring's cover of New York Magazine featuring Steve Jobs was largely unremarkable, yet another glossy gusher about Apple and its founder. But beneath the trippy technicolor close-up of the face that launched millions of iPods read the simple, big-bullet headline: iGod.
The canonization may be a touch premature, but Jobs has emerged as the West Coast digerati's biggest superstar, thanks to Apple's enviable lineup of cult gadgets. The former super-geek is now super-cool, boasting the accoutrements more commonly associated with, well, actual superstars like Mick Jagger -- groupies, rabid fans and even haters.
Acolytes line up with sleeping bags and coffee thermoses to sleep outside of San Francisco's Moscone Center the night before Jobs delivers his keynote speech at the Macworld convention. On YouTube, devotees pore over decades-old interview clips, video spoofs, even footage of a woman stalking a car on a California highway because its license plates read "S Jobs." He's spawned his own wannabes, including Forbes' own Dan Lyons, last year revealed to be the anonymous author of the outrageously popular "Fake Steve Jobs" blog.
In an era when business news commands the front page, it was inevitable that the richest men and women would become famous simply for being very rich. Microsoft founder Bill Gates was the richest man in the world for 13 straight years (he has been displaced this year by Warren Buffett). Wealth not only bought him access to the world's most exclusive events -- the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual Sun Valley tech pow-wow -- but, more surprisingly, access to the world's biggest celebrities. Nerdy Gates has rapped "Big Pimpin'" with Jay-Z and shared Time magazine's "Person of the Year" cover with U2's Bono.
Some billionaires, like Donald Trump, doggedly cultivate celebrity themselves. Thirty years ago, Trump emerged from a cadre of low-key Manhattan real estate scions to become possibly the world's most famous land baron. A relentless self promoter, a young Trump courted the press with brazen publicity stunts, like bringing armed bodyguards to meetings with bankers, briefly toying with a presidential bid and slapping the Trump name on anything that would bear it.
He wooed reporters by personally returning their calls and consistently delivering the kind of outrageous soundbites that beg for front page placement. Three decades later he hasn't changed a lick, minting headlines by marrying again (wife No. 3, Melania, is a former model some 20 years his junior); picking fights with Martha Stewart and Rosie O'Donnell; and suing a New York Times reporter who had the audacity to suggest Trump's net worth was in the millions, rather than billions. Forbes pegs Trump, who today presides over a real estate, entertainment and merchandising empire, as worth $3 billion. Nonetheless, The Donald disputes our figure: "I'm worth $7 billion."
Not surprisingly, the fields of media and entertainment have spawned a handful of celebrity billionaires, including legendary movie director and producer Steven Spielberg, T.V. queen Oprah Winfrey, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling. The famously blustery owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner III, worth $1.3 billion, debuts on the billionaire rankings this year. In New York he is both revered and reviled, depending, of course, whether the Yanks won or lost the World Series and whom the team has recently traded or fired.
Despite having once declared, "I've got the greatest job in the world," New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, worth $11.5 billion this year, was a regular talking point on the nation's cable news networks in recent months as rumors percolated that he'd enter the presidential race. In late February, he finally laid to rest those rumors by definitively ruling out a bid in an Op-Ed piece for The New York Times. Yet Bloomberg remains a news cycle staple for the time being as he very publicly mulls which candidate to endorse.
Source : http://omg.yahoo.com/celebrity-billionaires/news/7236
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