(Click to find out who else made the cut…)
No. 1 Denzel Washington
Influential Score*: 40%
The Academy Award-winning actor has lent skill, credibility and gravitas to the roles he’s tackled, be them portrayals of historical heavyweights like Malcolm X and Hurricane Carter or conflicted characters like Training Day’s corrupt cop and The Bone Collector’s depressed detective. Off camera, he has funneled some of his fame and fortune into charitable causes and foundations, including the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of America, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Save Africa’s Children.
No. 2 Tom Hanks
Influential Score: 37%
Over the course of his lengthy and high-profile career, Hanks has proved his power both in front of and behind the camera. Whether he’s playing a homosexual AIDS victim in the 1993 tearjerker Philadelphia, a slow-talking Southerner in the 1994 hit Forrest Gump or a heroic captain in Saving Private Ryan, the Academy Award-winning actor has long captured the hearts of–and thus power over–his audience. Among his other focuses: protecting the environment, a cause the Hollywood star has put his weight behind in recent years.
No. 3 George Clooney
Influential Score: 34%
When the Hollywood heartthrob isn’t gracing big screens and tabloid spreads, he’s busy flexing his activist muscles. In recent years, Clooney’s efforts have been largely focused on the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region. In 2006, he traveled to Darfur with his father, a journalist, to secretly document the genocide. The now U.N. messenger of peace also appeared alongside Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel in an appeal to the U.N. Security Council for intervention in the devastated area.
No. 4 Will Smith
Influential Score: 33%
Smith is nothing if not powerful. In fact, the rapper turned box office superstar is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office. Off-screen, he and his wife Jada have devoted much money and time to the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, an organization focused on inner-city community development, youth educational projects and underprivileged children and their families.
No. 5 Morgan Freeman
Influential Score: 33%
The Academy Award-winning actor serves up an authoritative voice, a reserved demeanor and plenty of gravitas. Among his many silver-screen credits, including a turn as God in Jim Carrey’s 2003 film Bruce Almighty, are poignant roles in The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby. Off set, Freeman has offered that same sort of passion to causes like environmental and disaster relief.
No. 6 Angelina Jolie
Influential Score: 29%
Over the course of a decade, Jolie has arguably become as well known for her global humanitarian efforts as she has for her movie star status. In addition to being a mother of six and an Academy Award-winning actress, the tabloid magnet is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Refugee Agency. In that role, she has continually offered her time, money and clout to causes ranging from global poverty to Third-World adoption.
No. 7 Robert De Niro
Influential Score: 29
Regularly regarded as one of his generation’s greatest actors, the two-time Academy Award winner is best known for his portrayals of conflicted and often troubled characters. Among them: The Godfather: Part II’s Vito Corleone, Goodfellas’ mobster Jimmy Conway and Raging Bull’s boxer Jake LaMotta. Among his other contributions: massive investment in Lower Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood. Among other things, his efforts have produced film studio TriBeCa Productions and the highly acclaimed TriBeCa Film Festival.
No. 8 Harrison Ford
Influential Score: 28%
The Academy Award-nominated actor remains best known for his titular role in the highly lucrative Indiana Jones film series and as Han Solo in the original Stars Wars trilogy. Though he’s among Hollywood’s most private stars, the four-decade actor has rarely stayed quiet about some of his long-held Democratic beliefs.
No. 9 James Earl Jones
Influential Score: 28%
The Tony-winning stage actor and eight-time Emmy nominee boasts one of the most instantly recognizable–and arguably most influential–voices in Hollywood history. Over the course of his lengthy career, his unmistakably grand baritone has been put to use in flicks like The Lion King and Star Wars as well as the “voice” of CNN. Behind the scenes, he’s long been quietly devoted to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a local and national scale.
No. 10 Julia Roberts
Influential Score: 27%
Long known for her silver screen–and Academy Award-winning–fare, the Pretty Woman star is among Hollywood’s most recognizable actresses. And when she isn’t dazzling audiences on-screen, she has been known to offer her time and resources to UNICEF and other charitable foundations. She’s also kept busy promoting the use of renewable fuels as a spokeswoman and advisory board chair of Earth Biofuels.
*Source: E-Poll Market Research, which provides over 45 appeal rankings for more than 3,000 celebrities. For example, 37% would define Hanks as ‘influential’, and 34% would use the descriptor when referencing Clooney. (To put that in perspective, the average celebrity scores 11% on the firm’s Celebrity Influence Index.)