Who are the Five Most Famous People in the World?

On a Global scale who are the five people alive today who could be recognized by the most people? Not being famous in only China, Brasil, or Canada, but encompassing the whole Earth. We'll call it earthfame just to keep it snappy and memorable.

Official portrait of Barack Obama. He is wearing a suit jacket and stripped tie, and an American flag lapel pin. There is an United States Flag is in the background.This Huffington post article asks: "Is Obama the most famous person in the world?" I expect that because of Obama's broad appeal, the stiff presidential race he ran, and the historic election he won, Obama has mega earthfame. I think heads-of-state in general get a significance boost on the earthfame scale.

U. S. movies, television and the music industry churn out all sorts of celebrities such as George Clooney, Ophra Winfrey, and Michael Jackson. Being an ego-centric resident of the United States of America, I'll have to consider the billions of people that don't speak English as their first language and haven't been affected by North American media. Furthermore, is there a media personality that appeals so widely across cultures as to achieve earthfame?

Having recently watched the summer Olympics hosted by China, Michael Phelps is an easy name for an American to suggest. His achievement of winning more medals to date than any other olympic athlete in a single set of games promoted him instantly to the stratosphere of fame in the USA. Seeing as he was an athlete from the USA, and I live in the USA, my judgment of how high his earthfame is suspect. Based on this I am inclined to defer to Billynho and suggest his top three athletes for consideration: (1) Tiger Woods. (2) David Beckham. (3) Ronaldinho. The question remains, are athletes, media personalities or political leaders more deserving of being on the list?

I say toss one to the list of famous athletes. On my trip to China in 2002 David Beckham was a common ground between my new Chinese friends and me. Though I must admit the only reason I knew who he was because of the movie "Bend it Like Beckham."

I recently surfed across a forum thread discussing this issue. Shining Arcanine suggested this list:

1) Pope Benedict XVI
2) George W. Bush
3) Osama Bin Laden
4) Saddam Hussein
5) Bill Gates

Shining Arcanine suggested that list in 2006, and perhaps would update it if given the chance. Nevertheless, I think this list is worth considering. As the head of the Catholic church, I'll agree the Pope as a position is well known. What is less certain for me is whether Pope Benedict XVI is as famous as his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

Osama Bin Laden made this list because he claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks, for which his name received a lot of airtime in the United States, and because of the world-wide fame of those attacks probably elsewhere too.

Bill Gates is a debatable choice for me. He is called the richest man in the world. With that title it is possible that he has a lot of earthfame. However, I think that in many parts of the world his name has little need to be mentioned, and very possibly is an unknown.

Who do you think are the five most famous people in the world?