By Arun Kumar
Washington, Jan 13 (IANS) Noted Indian American physician-TV presenter Sanjay Gupta figures among Forbes' 10 "Most Influential Celebrities" with famed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg narrowly edging out television show host Oprah Winfrey for the top spot.
"The CNN personality was almost named US surgeon general in 2009, but withdrew his name when it looked like too many members of congress would oppose his appointment," the US business magazine said, ranking Gupta eighth in its latest list with a 40 percent Influential Rating.
"When not appearing on CNN, Gupta is a neurosurgeon in Atlanta. In 2007 he got into a well-publicised debate with Michael Moore over his film Sicko," it said.
Explaining its surprise choice of Spielberg for the top spot Forbes said: "Influence means the power to affect people or events, especially when that power is based on prestige. By that definition, it might be surprising to see director Steven Spielberg topping our list of Hollywood's Most Influential Celebrities."
"Spielberg doesn't shoot books up the bestseller list like second-place Oprah Winfrey does, and he hasn't helped invigorate a political movement like ninth-ranked Glenn Beck," it said. "But he is almost universally liked and respected."
"He did influence an entire generation of filmmakers with movies like 'Jaws' and 'E.T'. And when he takes a political stance, the whole world listens," Forbes said.
"In 2008 he received gobs of publicity when he quit his position as artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in China, because he couldn't convince the Chinese authorities to help the people of Darfur Sudan."
Spielberg narrowly edged out Winfrey on the list, though each earned 53 percent ratings for influence, meaning that 53 percent of the population deems them influential.
The tie was broken by E-Scores, which measure a celebrity's "marketing effectiveness" by combing awareness, appeal and other factors. Spielberg got a 99 E-Score ranking, compared with Winfrey's 93.
The list was compiled by E-Poll Research, an Encino, California based service which ranks more than 6,000 celebrities based on 46 attributes.