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50. KELLY BUSH
The I/D Public Relations Los Angeles office chief and managing partner has been representing Dustin Hoffman and Ellen DeGeneres for years, and as of late her firm has managed to secure younger talent on the rise and get them in front of all the right cameras—that was Bush you saw sitting next to Ellen Page at this year’s Oscar ceremony, close to fellow clients Jennifer Hudson, Casey Affleck, and Josh Brolin—and keep them out of the glare of the wrong ones.
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49. BENNY MEDINA
Though he parted ways with the seemingly inescapable Tyra Banks in August 2007, the manager and producer’s roster still boasts headliners like Usher, Chris Rock, Nicole Richie, and Mariah Carey, whose new album is destined for success in 2008. Medina’s 50th birthday bash in January drew marquee celebs like Denzel Washington, Janet Jackson, Ashley Olsen, and Prince.
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48. BRIAN SWARDSTROM
Yeah, we know that Tilda Swinton dedicated her best supporting actress Oscar to her agent, noting that he has “the same shape head and, it has to be said, the buttocks.” We just think that having your bod called out on national TV doesn’t automatically increase your power quotient.
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47. SUSAN ARNOLD
The first woman to be named a vice chairman at Procter & Gamble—the number 1 U.S. producer of household products, including Pepto-Bismol, CoverGirl cosmetics, and Crest Whitestrips -- Arnold now serves as president of the company’s Global Business Units and earns an estimated $1,856,000 annually. When she’s not busy climbing Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women List, where she rose to number 7 in 2007, the heir apparent to the P&G throne serves on Disney’s board of directors.
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46. MARTINA NAVRATILOVA
The former tennis pro was the 2007 GLAAD Media Awards Special Honoree, in part for the creation of her Rainbow Card credit card, which has raised more than $2 million for LGBT nonprofit organizations. Navratilova also serves as AARP’s health and fitness ambassador and was signed as the Tennis Channel’s primary commentator for all Grand Slam tournaments in 2008. But she still finds the time to play international exhibition matches against other past tennis champs.
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45. JONATHAN BURNHAM
As senior vice president and publisher of HarperCollins, Burnham continued to make publishing news as he brokered a $1 million deal for James Frey’s new novel, worked on deals for new books about John McCain, and gained notice as the U.S. publisher for 2007 Nobel Prize laureate Doris Lessing.
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44. BOB GREENBLATT
In the midst of the writers’ strike, Showtime’s president of entertainment (who oversees Weeds, Sleeper Cell, and The L Word) got his hands dirty cutting his network’s sadistic serial murderer series Dexter into tasteful bites for broadcasting on CBS. The show’s speedy and successful translation to a mainstream audience helped solidify Greenblatt’s role in maintaining cable networks’ relevance in a changing TV landscape.
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43. ADAM ROSE
Money talks and D.C. beltway insiders listen to Rose. The head of New York City real estate giant Rose Associates has already poured $50,000 into Democratic congressional campaigns and is enthusiastically backing Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.
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42. BRYAN LOURD
Über-agent Lourd has served as managing director of Creative Artists Agency since 1995, and though reports suggest that CAA’s profits may be dwindling, sources say it still rakes in nearly $300 million per year. CAA recently completed construction of its new L.A. headquarters in Century City for an estimated $35 million. Lourd’s personal client list includes Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, and Robert DeNiro. He also serves as a director of Barry Diller’s online media company, IAC.
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41. CAROLYN STRAUSS
As president of HBO Entertainment, Strauss couldn’t have had a better year from an awards standpoint. Since Strauss’s appearance on last year’s list her network has won 21 Emmy awards, the most for any network on television. The bad news for Strauss is that only two of those Emmys (both for Entourage) went to programs still on the air, and critical darling The Wire is in its last season. The pressure is on newer series -- like Flight of the Conchords -- and presumably, Strauss to maintain the network’s momentum.
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40. CHRISTINE VACHON
The renowned indie film producer’s award-worthy recent pics have included Todd Haynes’s Far From Heaven and I’m Not There and Helen Hunt’s feature directorial debut, Then She Found Me. After adapting National Public Radio’s This American Life for Showtime, Vachon’s Killer Films inked a deal with Lionsgate Television to develop new scripted series.
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39. JON STRYKER
The Michigan-based Arcus Foundation, founded and presided over by billionaire heir Stryker (he made the Forbes “World’s Billionaires” list this year), has an unusual twofold mission: gays and apes. Its 2007 grants to the Gay & Lesbian Fund, supporting social justice organizations, topped $11.8 million, and the Great Apes Fund, which supports the survival of great apes and their habitats, doled out nearly $4.16 million.
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38. LORRI L. JEAN
After the hate-motivated slaying of 15-year-old gay Oxnard, Calif., student Lawrence King in February, the CEO of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center joined forces with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Transgender Law Center, and Project 10 to speak out against homophobia. As the leader of the world’s largest LGBT organization, Jean spearheads fund-raising campaigns devoted to women’s health, domestic violence prevention, and HIV/AIDS care.
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37. SIMON HALLS & STEPHEN HUVANE
When mega Hollywood publicist Pat Kingsley stepped down as CEO of PR behemoth PMK-HBH in September, Halls took the reins as co-CEO. Together, he and managing partner Huvane (pictured) serve as gatekeepers for celeb heavyweights like Jude Law, Kirsten Dunst, Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Mirren, Ang Lee, Ewan McGregor, and Neil Patrick Harris.
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36. ANNIE LEIBOVITZ
The photographer of so many Vanity Fair covers hasn’t folded up shop, but she has been scaling back since the 2004 sale of her Chelsea studio space, taking fewer projects and shooting from her home. Still, the retrospective “Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005,” which debuted at the Brooklyn Museum, kept the shutterbug in the public eye.
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35. RANDY LOVELY
The only out chief editor of a major U.S. newspaper, Lovely will see his work at the Arizona Republic -- where he was appointed to the top slot in January -- become only more important as every moment of Sen. John McCain’s past in the state is subjected to new levels of election-year scrutiny.
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34. CRAIG ZADAN & NEIL MERON
This dynamic team (Hairspray, Chicago) continues to produce boffo box office and critical acclaim (The Bucket List excepted) along with queer-friendly and gently subversive content. Yes, Gus Van Sant beat them to the punch in their 15-year quest to make a film of Randy Shilts’s Harvey Milk bio, The Mayor of Castro Street, but that’s just one project among many.
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33. JIM NELSON
Previously 26th GQ can certainly push public opinion, and Nelson put both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton on the magazine’s cover in 2007. But the man’s a rarity among New York editors in chief: He seems to spend more time in the office than getting onto the gossip pages -- a plus for the magazine, a minus for his public profile.
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32. JEREMY BERNARD & RUFUS GIFFORD
Hailed by gay political strategist David Mixner as “two of the best fund-raisers in the country,” business and life partners Jeremy Bernard and Rufus Gifford of the consultancy firm B&G Associates have since February 2007 raised tens of millions of dollars in the state of California -- second only to New York as a source of public funds for campaigners -- on behalf of Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid. In addition to the presidential race, they are overseeing the U.S. Senate campaigns of Jeff Merkley in Oregon and Mark Warner in Virginia.
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31. ROSIE O'DONNELL
The Power 50’s biggest loser in 2008, down 25 spots, has focused her considerable wealth and undeniable moneymaker -- her mouth -- on quieter, philanthropic endeavors. Without The View as her daily platform, her impact on the primary elections was negligible, and her public opinion influence has waned. Subject, of course, to wild and unpredictable change, most likely in haiku form.
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30. SHEILA KUEHL
The California state senator -- repeatedly voted the “smartest” member of the legislature -- helped get a same-sex marriage bill passed twice, only to see each vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. No matter the outcome of this year’s landmark state supreme court case, her leadership in the country’s most populous state will continue to set a national tone. Too bad term limits will leave her looking for work in November.
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29. ADAM MOSS
Previously 25th New York magazine snagged five trophies at the 2007 National Magazine Awards, even though Radar’s John Cook complained its “expertly crafted elements… still manage to suck.” Under Moss’s reign as editor in chief, New York has shown no signs of slowing. In February its highly coveted exclusive nude shots of Lindsay Lohan re-creating Marilyn Monroe’s final photo shoot (nipples and all) were unleashed on NYMag.com to staggering results: 40 million page views valued at over $500,000 in just the first two days after the photo portfolio was posted to the website.
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28. TIM GUNN
The nicest guy on TV? Hard to gauge -- but certainly one of the most popular. His work on Project Runway led to his own spin-off series and book, plus appearances on Ugly Betty. But Gunn was making news off-screen too, leaving his post as chair of fashion design at Parsons the New School of Design to take the title of chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc., a giant company whose brands include Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, and Lucky Brand Jeans.
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27. JASPER JOHNS
Johns’s False Start is the most expensive painting by a living artist (purchased for $80 million by hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin in 2006) and is a focal point in “Jasper Johns: Gray,” a landmark exhibit of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures that originated at the Art Institute of Chicago last fall. With a recent giant profile in The New York Times and ancillary exhibits popping up in response to “Gray,” Johns is very much in the cultural zeitgeist.
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26. FRED HOCHBERG
Formerly a cabinet official in Bill Clinton’s administration, Hochberg is now a leading fund-raiser for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Oval Office. He has a day job too, as dean of Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy.
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25. TOM FORD
One of the most recognizable faces in fashion, Ford continues to embody luxury and elegance while simultaneously making news for his bold ad campaigns. He just announced his plan to open 100 Tom Ford stores within the next 10 years, signed Erykah Badu to be the face of an as-yet-unnamed fragrance, and continued to titillate and irritate with his crotch-centric ads.
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24. SUZE ORMAN
Since coming out last year, Emmy-winning financial guru Suze Orman has been pretty mum on the subject of her personal life, but with two books already published in 2008 (and a third, a Spanish translation of Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny) and breaking ratings records for The Suze Orman Show, she’s hardly slowing down.
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23. ANTHONY ROMERO
The ACLU’s first Latino and first gay executive director has held his own versus the organization’s notoriously difficult 83-member board, factions of which tried to oust Romero -- all while he tripled the annual budget and built it into what New York magazine called “the world’s largest public-interest law firm.” High-profile cases challenging Bush’s war on terror played a significant role in chipping away at the Administration’s approval ratings.
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22. NICK DENTON
One of the architects of the blogosphere, Nick Denton has been written off more times in the last year than Hillary Clinton, but the scourge of the self-inflated and pompous just keeps on going. After he registered a sizable drop in page views last fall for his flagship site, Gawker, The New York Times was quick to trumpet his demise. He hit back with his single biggest coup -- a leaked Scientology video of Tom Cruise -- and his figures shot right back up, with a quarter of a billion page views in January alone. With that kind of resurrection, plus a staff of 130 and revenues close to $12m, it's clear that rumors of his demise are premature.
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21. NATE BERKUS
At first only known as that interior designer on Oprah, Berkus quickly expanded into his own cottage industry with a product line at Linens ’n Things, a regular gig at O at Home, and a high-profile spot as host of Oprah’s Big Give, produced under the Harpo shingle.
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20. ANDREW SULLIVAN
Since moving his blog from Time.com to TheAtlantic.com, Sullivan’s annual page views jumped from 25 to 40 million, a whopping increase, but we haven’t seen so much of him on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher in this election year.
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19. GREG BERLANTI
As executive producer of Dirty Sexy Money, Brothers & Sisters, and Eli Stone (and previously Everwood, Jack & Bobby, and Dawson’s Creek), Berlanti is one of a very few reliable TV hitmakers. He soon makes the leap to big-budget superhero fare as the director and cowriter of the upcoming movie Green Lantern, based on the DC comic.
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18. CHRISTINE QUINN
Not only is Quinn, the speaker of the New York city council, considered the second most powerful person in New York City politics, she’s the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the position and is now largely favored to be the front-running candidate in 2009 for mayor when Michael Bloomberg leaves his post.
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17. MARTHA NELSON
As editor of the People Group -- a worldwide franchise with 41 million readers a week that includes People, People.com, and People en Español -- Nelson’s soft(er)-touch celebrity and human-interest news machine is still the go-to for classy coming-out stories and comeback confessionals.
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16. PEREZ HILTON
His mercilessly dishy gossip blog attracts 2.6 million visitors a month and demands up to $45,000 for its ad packages. Last summer found the self-described “queen of all media” appearing on The View, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-list, and Nightline -- and that was just in one week. Since then he became the star of VH1 reality series What Perez Says, and he was named one of Time’s Most Influential People of 2007.
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15. BRIAN GRADEN
With Graden as its president, Logo dove headfirst into politics last August, airing the first televised presidential debate dedicated to gay issues, an event that hosted Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. As president of entertainment for MTV Networks Music Group (which controls MTV, MTV2, VH1, and CMT), Graden oversaw MTV2 in its highest-rated year for viewers ages 12 to 34. And despite Britney’s comatose comeback performance, ratings for MTV’s 2007 Video Music Awards went up 23% from 2006.
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14. RICH ROSS
When it comes to program-ming for children and adolescents, the president of Disney Channel Worldwide probably has more clout than anyone else on television. Since his appointment in 2004, Ross -- who is responsible for 62 Disney channels and offshoots including CDs, toys, games, clothes, and international tours -- has spearheaded tween juggernauts Hannah Montana and the Emmy-winning High School Musical, whose 2007 sequel attracted the largest audience ever for any basic cable telecast and spawned a soundtrack that became the number 2 album of 2007.
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13. JODIE FOSTER
The two-time Oscar winner is one of America’s most acclaimed actresses—and certainly one of its highest-paid, with a salary of $15 million for last year’s The Brave One. If Foster’s first Golden Globe nomination in 10 years for her performance in that film didn’t garner her enough press, her acceptance speech at last December’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast vaulted her back into the public eye: After steadfastly shielding her private life for 15 years, Foster finally came out, thanking her lover, producer Cydney Bernard.
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12. THE NEW YORK TIMES GAY MAFIA
Richard Berke, Ben Brantley, Frank Bruni, Stuart Elliot, Patrick Healy, Adam Nagourney, Horacio Silva, Stefano Tonchi, Eric Wilson
We can’t help but notice that the Gray Lady has a thing for the gays who together help to set the agenda of the world’s most influential newspaper. They might not have a lot to say to each other, but they sure have a lot to say to us. And although the paper has just undergone a hefty round of layoffs, we suspect it would be much worse without Tonchi at the helm of T, the glossy style supplement that can teach Anna Wintour a trick or two -- the holiday 2007 issue alone brought in $5 million in ad revenue.
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11. SCOTT RUDIN
Following a quieter release year (The Queen, Notes on a Scandal), the executive producer has exploded since last year’s list with his films No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, which together earned six Oscars, capped by a memorable acceptance speech from Rudin. More recently, he also produced this year’s The Other Boleyn Girl and Stop Loss. Next up for Rudin are two surefire adaptations: Doubt, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams; and Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
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10. PETER THIEL
Nicknamed “don of the PayPal mafia,” the eccentric cofounder and former CEO of the online payment service, and former child chess prodigy, now serves as president of the $3 billion hedge fund Clarium Capital Management LLC. Thiel’s initial investment of $500,000 in the wildly popular social networking site Facebook is now worth over $1 billion. Bonus: He’s doing his part to keep us all around a little longer, having recently donated $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation, an antiaging research group.
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9. MARC JACOBS
It’s not easy being the most influential designer in the world, but the Jacobs juggernaut keeps rolling; he’s tabloid fodder and the instant arbiter of cool, as Loïc Prigent’s 2007 documentary film Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton demonstrated. While belts may be tightening globally, growth at Louis Vuitton (where Jacobs is creative director) seems unstoppable; parent company LVMH’s 2007 profit reached $3 billion.
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8. JOE SOLMONESE
The Human Rights Campaign president’s biggest fight in 2007 was with other veteran gay rights supporters over HRC’s compromise on employment protections for transgender people. Most of the organization’s 700,000-plus members, though, seemed to back Solmonese’s incremental approach. A guest spot on The Colbert Report proved mastering satire is key to controlling a message, especially in an election year.
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7. JANN WENNER
The founder, editor, and publisher of Rolling Stone recently celebrated the magazine’s 40th anniversary (and its largest circulation ever) and with coauthor Corey Seymour just published the book Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson. Us Weekly, another title from Wenner Media, earns about $90 million annually -- and it all goes to Wenner Media since Disney sold back its stake in the magazine.
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6. ANDREW TOBIAS
The Democratic National Committee treasurer is just too busy these days to write personal finance books like The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need. But since the Democrats could actually win the presidency, this minder of the party’s purse emerges as an even more powerful behind-the-scenes player.
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5. TIM GILL
He made his fortune in software (he founded Quark in 1981) but now spends his time on the Gill Foundation and Gill Action, which supports LGBT-friendly state and local candidates. Gill always keeps a low profile, and with other active voices this election year, he’s moved down just slightly on our list.
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4. DAVID GEFFEN
If his influence is exaggerated (he noisily switched his political support from Hillary to Barack in 2007, only to see Hillary win California), Geffen’s personal fortune certainly isn’t. With a net worth of $6 billion, he ranks higher than Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, and his prestigious art collection will doubtless keep him comfortable if and when he departs DreamWorks, the studio he founded with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994. His purchase and $10 million renovation of the prestigious Malibu Beach Inn last year suggests he may go the way of entertainment mogul-turned-hotelier Merv Griffin.
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3. ANDERSON COOPER
Anywhere you flip the dial, he’s there: anchoring CNN’s nightly news and ratings-breaking election coverage, guest-hosting on Live With Regis and Kelly, and filing special reports for 60 Minutes. One lunch with Tom Ford launched rumors of a clothing line. He’s still cautiously neutral -- and silent on his sex life -- but his domination of the airwaves is undeniable.
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2. BARNEY FRANK
In a landmark election year, it was only logical that the House Committee on Financial Services chair and 14-term congressman from Massachusetts climbed up a couple of notches. A Democratic president would only increase the political clout of this most powerful of gay elected public officials.
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1. ELLEN DEGENERES
Having weathered the “Puppy-gate” media storm and an ill-perceived crossing of the writers’ strike picket line, DeGeneres and her daytime show remain perennially popular. Her most recently reported salary of $15 million put her in 15th place on Forbes magazine’s 2007 list of the top 20 TV stars -- above Barbara Walters and Matt Lauer. Last October she dipped her toes into the 2008 presidential campaign by inviting Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama on her show. In February she dropped in on a Clinton campaign event for a spirited back-and-forth via live satellite.