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Elton John World News: Elton is in Top 20 of Forbes 100

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Friday 16 June 2006 @ 16:59 - GMT

Never mind the couch-jumping on Oprah Winfrey's programme. Tom Cruise is the world's No. 1 star, according to Forbes' annual "Celebrity 100 Power List," which ranks famous folks based on earnings and buzz.

The less-than-scientific ranking tracks the highest-paid stars from the worlds of television, film, music and sports, said editor Lea Goldman -- with this year's rankings including a particularly strong showing by British notables. These included Elton at #16; Paul McCartney in the 14th place; the Rolling Stones in the second spot, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling at #19.

"It's what kind of currency does the star's name have," Goldman said. "It's increasingly important how they are perceived both in industry circles and commercial circles, and this list represents who has cachet in both arenas."

Cruise is the only celebrity to top the list twice, she said. He was also No. 1 in 2001.

"He's one of the few guaranteed bankable stars," Goldman said. "No one in Hollywood can negotiate the kind of salary he gets."

With an estimated income of $67 million (53 million) last year, Cruise was not the top money-earner, but his couch-hopping, curt comments about Brooke Shields' postpartum depression and whirlwind romance with Katie Holmes made him one of the most talked-about stars of the year. He ranked 10th on last year's list.

Other names making the cut included models Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen, and golfers like Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods.

"There's a lot of fluctuation," Goldman pointed out. "It has to do with what (celebrities) are doing and how much they're getting paid for it."