By Andrea McCallum
HARRY Potter author JK Rowling has made a list of top power brokers following the global success of her wizard novels.
The Edinburgh-based author has been branded as one of the world’s ‘most influential’ people and joins Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg in the league table compiled by American business magazine Forbes.
Although Forbes estimated Rowling’s fortune at £675m ($1 billion) she is ranked next to Gates ($53 billion) and Spielberg ($3 billion) because of her cultural reach.
Forbes placed Rowling at 937th place in the world’s 1,000 richest people.
Other most influential celebrities on the Forbes list include fashion designer Ralph Lauren, chat show host Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump.
The Forbes guide said: “By our count, there are 1,011 billionaires in the world, but thanks to media exposure, if not overexposure, some are far more recognisable than others.
“They’re the celebrity billionaires – more than rich, they’re rich and famous – among the most well-known people on the planet.
“Others may be wealthier or more influential atop the worlds of technology, media, fashion and finance, but these 10 not only reap billions from their holdings but also shape our tastes – what we wear, watch, read, invest in and, increasingly, how we communicate with each other.”
The first Harry Potter book was written by Rowling when she was a single-mother living in an Edinburgh flat.
Now the author has been ranked seventh earlier in The Sunday Times Rich List for Scotland which valued her fortune at £519m.
Spielberg is regarded by Forbes as the most influential figure in Hollywood.
It said: “For two generations he has been Hollywood’s pre-eminent storyteller, the man behind a library of seminal films including Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List.
“Recent moves, including the release of a fourth instalment of Indiana Jones, added still more fame and fortune.”
The magazine said chat show host Oprah Winfrey was the only celebrity who would benefit from less exposure.
It said: “She doesn’t need any more media hype – and may actually profit from less.
“Over the past 25 years Winfrey turned her syndicated talk show into America’s town square and built a $2.4 billion fortune along the way.”