The Most Successful Obese Americans

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The most successful obese Americans include men and women who despite being overweight, have found mainstream success. These actors, actresses, musicians, politicians, pundits, and even athletes are all household names who either became famous despite being obese or packed on the pounds after they rose to fame.

If Hollywood has an obsession with being stick thin, it definitely didn't tell some of the most well known large actors, actresses, and other personalities who have reached legendary status despite their size. Oprah Winfrey is just one of many celebrities who has battled weight in a very public forum but never let it stop her from becoming an entertainment mogul.

Who are some successful fat people? For some, being obese has caused the public to question if they were fit for their individual professions. Fans have criticized professional athletes like John Daly and Babe Ruth for their weight, despite leading other athletes at the same games. Pundits have trashed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his weight, with some even claiming he's too fat to hold public office.

Sadly, for a few of these favorite obese celebrities, their overindulgence contributed to their death. Though other factors were at play, the likes of John Candy, Chris Farley, and even the great Elvis Presley are just a few celebrities who enjoyed gluttony and eventually, in part, died because of it. This list of celebrity fat guys includes male and female, tall and short, young and old overweight movie stars. 

But for all of the sad stories of obesity, there's also many celebrities who have proudly overcome their weight issues. Television personalities Drew Carey and Al Roker both shed extra pounds and became inspirational tales that others can use for their own benefit.

Some stories are definitely more inspirational than others just like some of these famous obese people are more successful than others. Tell us which obese person you think is the most successful by voting for that person, re-ranking this list your way or adding someone we've missed below.
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  1. 1
    Steve Ballmer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Successful Obese Americans
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer is an American businessman who was the chief executive officer of Microsoft from January 2000 to February 2014, and is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. As of January 22, 2015, his personal wealth is estimated at US$20.6 billion, ranking number 23 on the ...more

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    • Age: 59
    • Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
    • Profession: Businessperson
  2. 2
    Dick Cheney is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Successful Obese Americans
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Richard Bruce Cheney (born January 30, 1941) served as the 46th Vice President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 in the administration of George W. Bush. Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, but soon moved with his family to Casper, Wyoming, where he grew up. He began his political career as an ...more

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    • Age: 74
    • Birthplace: Nebraska, Area code 531, Lincoln, United States of America, United States, + more
    • Profession: Businessperson, Politician, Author
    • Credits: Gasland, Special Report with Bret Baier, Rush to War
  3. 3
    Kevin James is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Successful Obese Americans
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA

    Kevin George Knipfing, better known by his stage name, Kevin James, is an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. Kevin James is widely known for playing Doug Heffernan on the hit CBS sitcom The King of Queens. He is also known for his lead roles in the comedy films I Now Pronounce You Chuck and ...more

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    • Age: 50
    • Birthplace: Mineola, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Comedian, Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, + more
    • Credits: The King of Queens, Here Comes the Boom, Hitch, Paul Blart: Mall Cop
  4. 4

    Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and film director. After appearing in several minor roles in film and television during the 1970s and the 1980s, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress; she also received a Golden ...more

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    • Age: 67
    • Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Television director, Actor, Voice acting, Singer, + more
    • Credits: Titanic, Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes
  5. 5
    Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Successful Obese Americans
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use

    Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer and musician. Franklin began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklin's church as a child. In 1960, at the age of 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records only achieving modest success. Following her ...more

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    • Age: 73
    • Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America
    • Profession: Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Actor, Singer, + more
    • Credits: The Blues Brothers, Forrest Gump, Goodfellas, The Last King of Scotland
  6. 6

    John Stephen Goodman is an American actor who is known for his comedic and dramatic roles. Early in his career, he was best known for playing Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in 1993. He is also a regular collaborator with the Coen ...more

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    • Age: 63
    • Birthplace: USA, St. Louis, Missouri
    • Profession: Comedian, Television producer, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: Monsters, Inc., Roseanne, The Big Lebowski, Argo
  7. 7

    Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell is an American comedian, actress, author, and television personality. She has also been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, LGBT rights activist, television producer, and collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company R Family ...more

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    • Age: 53
    • Birthplace: Commack, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Editor, Talk show host, Comedian, Television producer, Film Producer, + more
    • Credits: Tarzan, A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, The Flintstones, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, + more
  8. 8

    Harold Glenn Hamm is an American entrepreneur primarily involved in the oil and gas business who is best known for pioneering the development of the large shale oil resources of the Bakken formation. On January 16, 2015 Hamm was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 48th richest person in United States and ...more

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    • Age: 70
    • Birthplace: Lexington, Oklahoma, United States of America
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