The Power 50

4.3.2007

By Out.com Editors

Influential gays are becoming increasingly more visible--and more powerful.

26 Jim Nelson
When Art Cooper left GQ in 2003 after 20 years in the top post, then-executive editor Jim Nelson stepped up with aplomb, boosted circulation (even as the cover price rose), and reinvigorated the magazine's writing and photography. He's now so identifiable that he was the ostensible target of a 'Gay or Magazine Editor' chart in Details.

27 Lorri L. Jean
She's the Grover Cleveland of queer leaders: Like the 22nd president, she's served split terms'as CEO of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the world's largest LGBT organization (budget: $40 million). After a six-year stint that began in 1993, she went to Washington and whipped the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force into financial shape before returning to Los Angeles four years ago.

28 Adam Rose
Motivated by antigay legislation, Rose, the head of New York City mega-real estate developer Rose Associates, helped unseat incumbent Republican congresswoman Sue Kelly by writing a check for a cool half-million bucks to Majority Action, a political action committee, which put him among the top 20 donors to federal 527s during the 2006 election cycle.

29 Annie Leibovitz
Leibovitz defined the look of Rolling Stone, then Vanity Fair. Her iconic images of Demi Moore nude and pregnant, Whoopi Goldberg in milk, and Yoko Ono and John Lennon the day he was murdered made her one of the few household names in photography and earned her 'Living Legend' status bestowed by the Library of Congress. Last year the Brooklyn Museum launched the retrospective 'Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990'2005.'

30 Simon Halls & Stephen Huvane
These two publicists-partners at PR giant PMK-HBH'represent such headline talent as Ang Lee, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow, in addition to out actors Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, and Neil Patrick Harris. That sound you hear is Us Weekly calling every five minutes.

31 Bryan Lourd
As a partner at talent agency CAA, he's responsible for overseeing the careers of A-listers like Robin Williams, Julianne Moore, Warren Beatty, and Robert De Niro. He also has three $15-million-per-movie (plus profit sharing) clients: Brad Pitt, Drew Barrymore, and Reese Witherspoon. And he throws a kick-ass, must-attend Oscar party that has outshone Ed Limato's in recent years.

32 Bryan Singer
If you want your movie to make over $100 million, then Singer is your man to direct, having helmed X-Men, X2, and Superman Returns. He also serves as executive producer on Fox's top-rated drama House. Currently pending are the long-awaited The Mayor of Castro Street and, of course, another Superman flick.

33 Jonathan Burnham
After bagging a crop of celeb-driven best sellers for Miramax Books, Burnham became senior vice president and publisher of HarperCollins and was charged with classing up the joint. Last year Burnham brokered the $1 million deal for Anderson Cooper's book, Dispatches From the Edge.

34 Brian Swardstrom
While he may not represent Hollywood's top-grossing actors, this partner at talent agency Endeavor has the kind of top-shelf stars'like Edward Norton, Bill Paxton, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Jamie Bell'that filmmakers swoon for.

35 Robert Greenblatt
Since 2004'when The L Word premiered'Greenblatt has been president of entertainment for Showtime Networks, where he has overseen such hits for the premium channel as Weeds, Sleeper Cell, and Dexter. The network just premiered The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (budgeted at over $38 million, it's one of Showtime's most ambitious projects). Now airing is the TV version of the public radio show This American Life.

36 Chi Chi LaRue
N' Larry Paciotti, LaRue is the drag Martha Stewart of gay smut, directing videos and running Rascal Video, Channel 1 Releasing, and now All Worlds Video. Named Best Director at the 2006 GAYVN awards, LaRue decries the 'condom-optional' policy of other companies while simultaneously setting the tone for queer sex appeal.

37 Dan Mathews
As vice president of PETA, responsible for the group's most controversial campaigns ('I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur') and statements (he jokingly lauded Andrew Cunanan for getting 'Versace to finally stop using furs'), Mathews is a PR master, enlisting Pamela Anderson, P!nk, and Paul McCartney as spokespeople. His picaresque new memoir, Committed, recounts growing up gay, poor, and punk.

38 Neil Meron & Craig Zadan
The Storyline Entertainment producing pair'who together have earned six Oscars, five Golden Globes, and 11 Emmy awards'are credited for reviving filmed musicals, from the big screen's Chicago to small-screen versions of Gypsy, Annie, and Cinderella. Hairspray (starring John Travolta in drag) will likely continue their winning streak, while their (nonmusical) The Bucket List already has Oscar buzz. The upcoming The Mayor of Castro Street (with Bryan Singer attached to direct) further bolsters their queer creds.

39 Ingrid Sischy
Editor of Interview since 1989 and friend and confidante to the stars, Sischy is the kind of old-fashioned editor who runs her magazine as an oligarchy. Warhol created the mold for the celebrity mag when he founded Interview in 1969, but it was Sischy who kept it going as her territory was increasingly co-opted by other magazines like Us Weekly and Vanity Fair. These days it's still often the first stop on a celebrity's rise to fame, but they never forget to return the favor when they're at the top.

40 Marc Cherry
Desperate Housewives' creator and guiding force has helped ABC regain its footing with his quirky dramedy. While some producers are given big deals to develop a slate of new projects, ABC just secured a deal with Cherry (rumored to be worth over $15 million) to keep Housewives happy through 2011.

41 Carolyn Strauss
HBO's president of entertainment oversees the cable network's groundbreaking series. She helped nurture shows like Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Entourage. And this summer John From Cincinnati (from Deadwood's David Milch) joins her slate.

42 Irshad Manji
A fearless advocate of reform in Islam'she's received death threats and had to bulletproof her Toronto home'she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for Project Ijtihad, an Internet project to revive Islam's tradition of dissent and debate. Her new documentary, Faith Without Fear, traces her journey through the Arab world and Europe as she challenges Islamic traditionalists.

43 Jodie Foster
The widely respected producer, director, and two-time Oscar-winning actor's talent and intellect are beyond debate, but mention her in a room of out lesbians and watch the sparks fly. Foster's production company, Egg Pictures, has produced critically acclaimed independent films (including The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys); she continues to headline big-budget blockbusters and was 2005's highest-earning actress ($27 million), according to Forbes. Look for her with Robert De Niro in Sugarland and Terrence Howard in The Brave One.

44 Christine Vachon
A renowned producer in the world of independent cinema, Vachon (who has also penned two books on Hollywood) and her partners at Killer Films, Pamela Koffler and Katie Roumel, have brought audience and critical faves like Velvet Goldmine, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Far From Heaven to the big screen. Now airing is their TV adaptation of public radio's This American Life for Showtime; up next are Todd Haynes's Bob Dylan flick, I'm Not There, and Tommy O'Haver's latest, An American Crime.

45 Andre Leon Talley
A self-made man, Vogue editor at large, and fixture on the front rows of runway shows for the last 25 years, Talley is a seriously connected fashionista. A prot'g' of legendary Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland, he continues to guide many up-and-coming designers, like Proenza Schouler and Trovata, into the spotlight.

46 Hilary Rosen
Under Rosen's leadership the Recording Industry Association of America won major legal battles limiting trade of copyrighted music, making her public enemy number 1 among college students. Since leaving the RIAA in 2003 she has been a pundit and blogger, and launched Berman Rosen Global Strategies, a digital media consulting firm, as well as OurChart.com, a lesbian social networking site.

47 Matthew Marks
While Marks's stable of artists is enviable for any young gallery owner, it was the deal he clinched to represent Jasper Johns'arguably the preeminent living American painter, and certainly the one whose work gets the highest prices'that put Marks, 44, on the map. In 2005, Marks presided over the first exhibit of Johns's new work since his 1996 retrospective, and in 2006 Johns's False Start sold for a whopping $80 million.

48 Benny Medina
The talent agent and producer was tabloid fodder in his 2003 legal battles with then-client Jennifer Lopez. But no matter; he engineered Mariah Carey's remarkable comeback (she's number 6 on Forbes's list of the richest women in entertainment), and he's got Tyra Banks on the roster now.

49 Mitchell Gold
Gold has seen annual revenue increases of about 20% since 2000 (compared to 3% industry-wide) for the furniture company he and business partner Bob Williams started in Taylorsville, N.C. Their products are sold at Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and Pottery Barn, and Gold and Williams are active and vocal supporters of LGBT political causes.

50 David Kuhn
For years Kuhn was known as Tina Brown's right-hand man, serving as the star editor's top deputy at The New Yorker and Talk magazines. Now he's a publishing powerhouse literary agent. His high-profile deals include a reputed $1 million contract for 'Deep Throat' FBI agent Mark Felt (movie coming soon) and a $650,000 advance for first-time novelist Dana Vachon (Mergers and Acquisitions). But he managed to make time for a brief appearance in the upcoming Bernard and Doris'about heiress Doris Duke and her homo majordomo.

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