Top 50 Richest Celebrities Ranked By Total Net Worth

The celebrities on the list had estimated combined assets of $18.7 billion, more than the gross domestic product of Iceland.
Harriet King August 17th 2018 Entertainment
We have to admit, it doesn't always feel great to see how many millions and billions of dollars celebrities are raking in. Particularly when our alarms go off early in the morning and we have to prepare for yet another day of work. It feels so unfair - why can't we be rich?
But, the other side of us is so curious to know who has the most money. And how much of it do they have, anyway? Is it the musicians who make the most? Or is it the actors and television stars? As you can see, we have a lot of questions!
Luckily, we've done all the investigating for you and you won't have to stay curious for long. Keep reading as we lay out who is the richest and how much they've got in their bank account. Try not to get too jealous - at least we don't have to worry about the paparazzi, right?
50. Jon Bon Jovi - $410m
Jon Bon Jovi, front man of the band that bears his surname, certainly isn't 'Living On A Prayer'. A lifetime of hit album after hit album has given him a personal fortune that will last 'Always'. With a personal fortune like his, we imagine that life is pretty much always a 'Bed of Roses'.
It's often the case with musicians that they lose their appeal as they get older, but it looks like Bon Jovi's fans have managed to 'Keep the Faith' and stick it out with him for the long term. His stardom transcends music, and has led to some acting work, appearing on hit TV shows like 'Ally McBeal' and even a couple of movie credits. Beat this for trivia though; his first work as a recording artist was as a guest singer on a 'Star Wars' Christmas album.
ADVERTISEMENT
49. Adam Sandler - $420m
Say what you want about Adam Sandler's movies - and a lot of people have - he's got 420 million reasons not to care about your opinion. The comic actor's instincts for a box office smash have rarely been wrong even when the critics disagree, and he's got the bank balance to prove it.
Classic golfing comedy (and those are two words you rarely see together) 'Happy Gilmore' set the tone for his future success way back in 1996, and Sandler has never looked back since then. He actually acts as a screenwriter and a producer for many of the films he appears in, maximizing his pay check by not having to split the royalties as many ways as most do. He's also prolific, with over 60 movie credits to his name with IMDB. Like many of his Hollywood comedy contemporaries, Sandler first cut his teeth as a guest star on 'Saturday Night Live'.
48. Mel Gibson - $425m
It's fair to say that, especially in recent years, Mel Gibson's career has suffered from a number of ups and downs. Public outbursts of antisemitism and alcoholism, which it should be noted he's apologized and sought treatment for, have taken some of the shine of what has been a glittering career on the silver screen. They have not, however, taken anything away from his impressive personal fortune.
A major film franchise helps with the star power and earning potential of any actor, and Gibson has been lucky enough to star in two. The 'Max Max' series earned him his early riches and set him on the right path, and by the time the 'Lethal Weapon' franchise rolled into town he'd cemented his place among the elites of Hollywood. Turning his hand to screenwriting and directing, hits like 'The Passion of the Christ' and 'Apocalypto' earned him a reputation for being just as gifted behind the camera.
47. Michael Bay - $430m
You don't have to be a big-name actor to make big bucks in Hollywood. Just ask superstar director and producer Michael Bay. From the day his career started as a storyboard filer for the 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' installment of the Indiana Jones series, he's blazed a trail through the movie industry, working with almost every name worth knowing in the past thirty years.
We said that a good film franchise is great for the bank balance, and Bay might know that better than anybody. The revived 'Transformers' brand has resulted in a number of box office smashes, and it's been Bay at the helm of every single film. A clever businessman, Bay entered into an agreement with 'Transformers' copyright holders Mattel which entitled him to a percentage of all merchandising sales related to the films. That deal alone accounts for nearly half of all his current value.
46. Victoria Beckham - $450m
Twenty years ago, when we first met Victoria Beckham as 'Posh Spice' from the Spice Girls, it was just a nickname. Beckham must have taken it pretty seriously, because she's spent every day since then amassing huge piles of money, so she can enjoy the finer things in life.
Marrying one of the world's most famous and successful sportsmen in David Beckham meant her name was never out of the newspapers, and the Beckhams were arguably the celebrity power couple of the 1990s, particularly in Europe. Aware that she didn't have the greatest singing voice despite her pop success, she bowed out of music after a couple of solo releases and turned her hand to fashion design. Her clients are strictly A-List, and everybody from Beyoncé to Kate Winslet has been snapped wearing a Victoria Beckham dress at some point.
ADVERTISEMENT
45. Ellen DeGeneres - $450m
The only person in the world who could possibly say they've enjoyed more success than Ellen DeGeneres is Oprah. Not even Jerry Springer could hold a candle to the success DeGeneres has had either in profile or longevity. And being a talk show host wasn't even her first choice as a career!
DeGeneres first became famous as a comedian and comic actor. As long ago as 1982 she was named the Funniest Person in America by Showtime. That success led into her long running self-titled sitcom 'Ellen', which concluded with her character outing herself as gay. DeGeneres herself then confirmed she was homosexual shortly afterwards in a conversation with Oprah and has been heralded as an icon of the LGBT community ever since. Her bravery in coming out at a time where it was less socially acceptable to do so than today empowered a generation of young gay people, and it may be their support which has contributed to her wealth.
44. Trey Parker - $500m
Trey Parker is, along with Matt Stone, one half of the comedy duo responsible for creating 'South Park'. So how could he be on the list here without his comedy partner when their success is so linked? Maybe we'll get to that later in the list, and maybe we won't. Stay tuned.
'South Park' is still going strong today, 21 years after the first episode hit television, and is a gargantuan franchise. Not stopping there, Parker has continued to work with Stone on movies like 'BASEketball' and 'Team America: World Police', which generated huge sums at the box office. His musical comedy 'Book of Mormon' also brings in money on an industrial scale; it still tours around the world today, and so far, has brought in over $500m in ticket sales and merchandising. Parker is a gifted musician, with many of the songs in his shows being his own creation, earning him further royalty payments.
ADVERTISEMENT
43. Petra Ecclestone - $500m
This might be the first name in this list who has you wanting to look her up on Google, so let us save you the bother. She's not as big a deal in terms of celebrity as the names we've looked at so far, but she's every bit as rich. British-born Petra Ecclestone is an heiress. She's like a British Paris Hilton, without the scandals.
Her father is Bernie Ecclestone, a billionaire who has served for years as the chief executive of Formula 1 motor racing, which is hugely popular around the world. Like her sister Tamara, who has a $300m fortune of her own, Ecclestone has done some modeling work but decided to move beyond that into fashion design. Having survived meningitis as a teenager, she's happy to campaign as an ambassador for the Meningitis Trust charity, so you can bet that at least some of her fortune is going to good causes.
42. Peter Jackson - $500m
If you've never heard of super-director Peter Jackson, you must be living in some kind of fantasy land. He's one of the most highly paid and well-respected producers of movies in the entire world, and you probably know him best for bringing Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy to the big screen.
Having developed a taste for Tolkein's tales, Jackson then wrote, produced and directed a trilogy of movies based on 'The Hobbit'. The six films together have brought in an astonishing revenue of over $6 billion worldwide. It's been a fairytale second half of Jackson's career, but he took it to new heights when he negotiated a deal which saw him receive 20% of the global takings for 'King Kong' in addition to his $20m salary for directing the film. The movie went on to gross $600m, and Jackson never has to worry about money again for the rest of his life.
ADVERTISEMENT
41. Paulo Coelho - $500m
Of all the names to make it onto this list Paulo Coelho may be the most unlikely. The Brazilian author has come from almost nothing to claim his place among the great and the good - and at one point in his youth he was even sent to a mental institution by his parents. Even after his release he struggled, becoming a drifter who traveled the world and getting into drugs.
All of this changed for Coelho on a journey through Spain in the 1980s, during which he believes he had a spiritual awakening which led to him writing the globally successful novel 'The Alchemist'. It's sold more than 65 million copies and made Coelho, whose only real writing achievements previously were as a lyricist on other people's songs, a major name in the publishing industry. Many big-selling books later, half a billion dollars isn't a bad return for a guy who even his parents thought was crazy.
40. Matt Stone - $500m
OK, so we didn't keep you waiting all that long to find out whether Matt Stone was on the same list as his best buddy Trey Parker. They're both officially listed has having $500m, but Stone has a few bags of change more than Trey, and that sees him come in a little higher up.
It's hard to separate Stone's successes from Parker's, as they've largely been achieved together. Neither of them seems to want or need to work away from the other (and why should they? Look at all the money they've earned!), and they remain committed to each other for the long term, founding a film production company called 'Important Studios' together in 2013 so their work can continue. Their next big project is rumored to be a film adaptation of 'The Book of Mormon' and if it enjoys anything like the same success as the musical, it will see both men get even richer.
ADVERTISEMENT
39. Matt Groening - $500m
Don't have a cow, man, but Simpsons creator Matt Groening is worth half a billion dollars. As of next year, everybody's favorite cartoon family will have been on our screens and in our homes for thirty years. It seems difficult now to imagine life without them, but Groening didn't even think they were his best idea at the time he created them.
A long, long time ago, Groening was a struggling cartoonist who self-published a comic strip series called 'Life in Hell'. It found a fan in Hollywood producer James L Brooks, who contacted Groening and offered him a slot on the popular Tracey Ullman show. A paranoid Groening was convinced that Brooks wanted to take away his ownership of the 'Life in Hell' characters, and so pretty much came up with the Simpsons on the way to the meeting, naming the characters after his own family members.
38. Kathy Ireland - $500m
Supermodels aren't always credited for having the greatest level of intelligence. Kathy Ireland makes a fallacy of that idea. Her business acumen is every bit as sharp as her looks, and she has stacks of cash as evidence. In fact, she's so smart she outwitted a major retailer.
Having spent a lot of time modeling other people's clothes, she started designing them in 1993 and struck a deal with Kmart. The clothes flew off the shelves, and Kmart was soon ordering a whole range bearing Ireland's name. Realizing that her name had just as much value as the clothes, Ireland founded 'Kathy Ireland Worldwide' (now there's a choice of brand name that shows ambition) and started dealing with retail outlets herself, breaking the Kmart link and pushing to get her goods in as many stores as possible, worldwide. Branching out into supplying home goods as well as fashion items, the company now generates over $1.5bn in sales annually.
ADVERTISEMENT
37. Gloria Estefan - $500m
Well, 'Here We Are'. Gloria Estefan is on our rich list! She is, simply put, one of the most legendary musical performers of all time. What makes her truly remarkable is her prolonged success over five decades, and her ability to take her success in music and translate it to other areas of her life.
A child of the Cuban Revolution who fled to the United States with her parents, Estefan has sold over 100m records worldwide, which contributes to a significant chunk of her wealth. Her family settled in Miami and she's never lost her love for the city, choosing it as the base of her operations away from the recording studio. Along with her husband Emilio, Estefan has opened a chain of Cuban restaurants which started in Miami but are slowly branching out from there, and owns a couple of hotels too, just for good measure. They even hold a joint stake in the Miami Dolphins!
36. George Clooney - $500m
Whenever a male or female soap opera star gets ideas above their station because they have a pretty face and decide to leave your favorite TV show to risk it all in Hollywood, you can probably blame George Clooney for that. Once a humble star of the popular medical drama 'ER', his chiseled good looks won him a legion of admirers all around the globe and have made him rich beyond his wildest dreams.
Clooney's movie work has had a mixed critical reception; he took the title role in what many feel was the worst 'Batman' movie of all time, but the box office success of the 'Oceans' franchise is undeniable, and he was Oscar nominated for his performance in 'Syriana'. He's also shown flair as a director, for which his work has also received awards and acclaim. In more recent years he's shown a great spirit of generosity and spends a lot of his time campaigning for humanitarian causes.
ADVERTISEMENT
35. Elton John - $500m
There's no need for Elton John to make any kind of 'Sacrifice' concerning his way of life - he's got enough money in the bank to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. After almost fifty years in the music business, he can look back across all of his achievements and proudly say 'I'm Still Standing'.
John is currently on his retirement tour, having decided that the time is right to stop with the constant travel and settle down to enjoy the rest of his life with his partner David Furnish. The flamboyant star has had a glittering career, enjoying an extensive residency in Las Vegas, and is responsible for a string of major hit songs that span entire generations. He's also strongly linked in the world's mind with the funeral of Princess Diana, and his subsequent release of a special edition of 'Candle in the Wind' as a tribute to her memory.
34. Dolly Parton - $500m
Dolly Parton doesn't need to work 9 to 5 to make a living. She's arguably the biggest name in the history of country and western music, and definitely the only person on this list who, in 'Dollywood', owns an entire theme park which is named after her.
Parton has enjoyed phenomenal success, having been entered into more Halls of Fame than most performers have had hit records. Known for her striking, Barbie-like appearance, she's taken a lighthearted approach to her many plastic surgeries, freely admitting that if she sees something sagging she'll get it fixed immediately and credits her image with helping her stay famous. She was also laughing all the way to the bank when Whitney Houston had a hit with 'I Will Always Love You' as the title track from 'The Bodyguard' - it was Parton's song, and the royalty checks went straight to her. A committed philanthropist, Parton invests in worthwhile causes, including reading projects for children all over the world.
ADVERTISEMENT
33. Bruce Springsteen - $500m
You won't see Bruce Springsteen living rough on the 'Streets of Philidelphia', he could probably buy every mansion in town and still have money to spare. The 'Born in the U.S.A' singer is living pretty on the back of his many years of hit records and sold out tours.
Known to his thousands of fans simply as "The Boss", it actually took until Springsteen's third album for him to achieve mainstream chart success, but once the ball started rolling it never stopped. He's sold more than 120 million albums over the course of his career and earned $40m in the year 2017-2018 alone. Having gone beyond being a simple rock star, Springsteen is a cultural icon, and in 2017 he was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the outgoing President Barack Obama. He's shy of giving interviews and is believed to have only given one press conference in the past 25 years.
32. Beyoncé Knowles - $500m
To her adoring fans, she's just "Irreplaceable". She doesn't have to worry about how to pay those "Bills, Bills, Bills", because with half a billion in the bank they take care of themselves. Beyoncé Knowles is one of the biggest stars of the past two decades, period.
A crossover star, who was always the standout member of Destiny's Child due to her powerful voice and incredible looks, Knowles has been successful in everything she's done from singing to acting to fashion design. Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z has made them the celebrity power couple of the 21st Century, and as she proved with her most recent release 'Lemonade', when she releases an album it becomes a global happening. Frequently rated as the sexiest woman alive, and a role model to little girls everywhere, Knowles considers herself a 'modern day feminist', and many of her songs have been considered female empowerment anthems.
ADVERTISEMENT
31. Tom Cruise - $570m
He's a 'Maverick'! Tom Cruise's box office success across four different decades has made him a very rich man. The fun-loving actor, who still insists on doing his own stunts well into his 50s, hardly seems to have been touched by the passing of time, looking almost as fresh faced today as he did way in the 80s when he starred in 'Top Gun'. Maybe there's something to be said about Scientology after all.
Noted film critic Roger Ebert has stated that Cruise is so successful in the world of acting that studios have developed a formula which he calls the 'Tom Cruise Picture' - a way of building a film around the actor to showcase his talents and entertain an audience. That might explain why to some performers, staying at the top of the game so long is "Mission Impossible". For Cruise, it's just another film franchise which has made him one of the greatest names in the business.
30. Simon Cowell - $570m
Appearing on a celebrity rich list? It's a 'yes' from him. British music mogul and Sony record executive Simon Cowell had been quietly making money for decades in the background of the record industry, until the golden age of TV talent shows moved him to get in front of the camera and become a household name.
The man who brought us 'The X Factor' and 'America's Got Talent' has a reputation for being dismissive and rude to some of the less talented acts who appear on his shows, although that may just be him playing the part. Because all of the acts who win the competitions get signed to his management label, he cashes in on their success. His initial earnings from owning a record label didn't come from established artists; Cowell noted the public's love of novelty songs and got rich by releasing the theme tune to "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" among other curiosities.
ADVERTISEMENT
29. Rush Limbaugh - $590m
There's an old saying in the entertainment business, which is 'controversy creates cash'. Rush Limbaugh may be a polarizing figure, and as hated in some quarters as he is loved in others, but he knows the value of causing a stir, and he's taken it to the bank.
The staunch conservative radio host has millions of loyal listeners who would follow him from station to station wherever he goes. His employers know that, and that's why they pay big money to keep him where he is, allowing Limbaugh to live a life of luxury. For all the offense his views have caused, he has shown signs of having a softer side. He was happy to send himself up during an appearance on 'Family Guy', and every year he takes part in a telethon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
28. Yoko Ono - $600m
'Imagine' having all that money. Yoko Ono is best known for being the widow of Beatle John Lennon, which is probably an unkind way to define her. She's worked all her life as a conceptual artist, and it was her artistic qualities that drew Lennon to her in the first place.
Ono had a keen mind for business- more so than Lennon - and took over the handling of the family's finances after they married and had a son. Her approach to this, coupled with her increasing influence on Lennon's attitude to the band, has seen her blamed by some fans for breaking up one of the world's greatest bands, although Lennon always fiercely defended her against this accusation. Following her husband's assassination, Ono's art took on a new direction heavily influenced by grief, and much like Queen Victoria she has largely only worn black - the color of mourning - since she was widowed.
ADVERTISEMENT
27. Tyler Perry - $600m
Think of every famous director you know. That list includes Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, and a couple of guys we've already seen on this list, right? Tyler Perry has had five of his films open at #1 at the box office in five consecutive years. Nobody else ever has. That's why he's rolling in a fortune that most of us couldn't even imagine.
A completely self-made man, Perry has written, produced and directed almost all of his films, usually on a budget that's tiny by Hollywood standards, and they've reached the heights they have just because of the sheer quality. The 'Madea' series in particular has reached stellar heights, and also turned Perry into a star because of his performances in the movies. His work seems to particularly resonate with and inspire the black community, and Perry can count Oprah Winfrey as both a friend and a business partner.
26. Shah Rukh Khan - $600m
It is difficult for Western audiences to truly understand how big a deal Bollywood is. India is a densely populated country, and the biggest stars in India are treated as just as big a deal as Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lawrence are in the USA. Maybe this fact will bring it home to you; Shah Rukh Khan, known as "The King of Bollywood", is worth $600m.
There is a strong argument that in terms of salary, audience size and profile, Khan is actually the biggest film star in the world. His wealth has enabled him to buy Indian cricket team the Kolkata Knight Riders, and in India, cricket is just as big as football in the States or soccer in Europe. He tries to use his profile to improve human rights in his home country and has been particularly noted as a constant campaigner for women's rights in particular.
ADVERTISEMENT
25. Jimmy Buffett - $600m
You've probably seen the term 'island escapism' used to describe Jimmy Buffett's musical style through the years. With the money it's earned him, he could probably afford to go out and buy one. His fans, who are for some reason known as 'Parrotheads', have bought Buffett a lifestyle worthy of a tropical paradise.
One of his most well-known hits is the song 'Margaritaville', and he liked the title so much he turned it into a business empire. You can visit the Margaritaville Cafe or the Margaritaville Retail Store, listen to Radio Margaritaville, read his novel 'Tales from Margaritaville' or risk your money at the Margaritaville Casino. If you're lucky, the music in the background may have been recorded by Margaritaville Records. There's also Margaritaville themed real estate available, and even an online game! Branding is important in business, and Buffett seems to have the theme nailed.
24. Candy Spelling - $600m
These days, Candy Spelling is probably most famous for being the mother of Tori Spelling, but that doesn't do her achievements in life any justice. Spelling is a very successful author and performer, although it wouldn't be rude to suggest that she also married well. She was wed to wealthy TV producer Aaron Spelling in the 1960s and inherited his vast estate when he died in 2006. The bulk of her current value comes from that inheritance.
Spelling is a regular online columnist, often sought out for work by the Huffington Post, and TMZ, and also lends her time and resources to charitable causes - her interest in animal welfare has led to her sitting on the board of the American Humane Association. She made $85m of her fortune by selling real estate to another entrant on this list; British heiress Petra Ecclestone.
ADVERTISEMENT
23. Howard Stern - $600m
Remember how we said you can make a lot of money by courting controversy? Howard Stern has taken that ball and run it for miles. Stern is the man that the term 'shock jock' was invented for, and the outrageous content of his radio talk shows have made him a very rich man despite all the fines he'd had to pay because of it.
Capitalizing on his notoriety, he wrote a mostly autobiographical book called 'Private Parts' which went on to be a best seller, and when the novel was adapted into the film, Stern insisted on playing the lead role himself, which earned him yet another huge paycheck just for basically being himself. He also very nearly became Governor of New York, in the 90s, comfortably winning the first ballot, but withdrew from the race when it became clear he'd be required to provide details about his private life which he didn't want to give.
22. James Cameron - $700m
James Cameron has amassed a truly 'Titanic' fortune in the years since he first started making movies. Being at the helm of just one of the largest grossing films of all time is likely to mean you never have to work again. Cameron has been the man behind a whole list of them.
'Titanic' broke every box office record going when it was first released in the 90s, but when you factor in that he also brought us the first two 'Terminator' movies and 'Avatar', it's easy to see why his money stacks as high as it does. 'Titanic' was a happy accident for him in terms of wealth, though. Production on the film came in way over budget, and Cameron agreed to waive the $8m he was due to receive for directing it in return for a percentage share of the box office profits. When all was said and done, that percentage share netted him several hundred million dollars.
ADVERTISEMENT
21. Bono - $700m
If Bono still hasn't found what he's looking for, it's not because he can't afford to buy it. The U2 front man is one of the richest rock and roll stars in the world, but despite the global success of his legendary band, not all of that income has come from the music business.
Bono, real name Paul Hewson, is a shrewd businessman as well as a great performer. He's taken the money his fame has bought him and invested it very wisely; he owns shares in Forbes magazine and a range of luxury hotels at home in Ireland, but the best decision he ever made was probably to invest in Facebook at an early stage in its development. The private equity firm he runs made a $210m investment in the pioneering website, and that investment is worth something like $1.5bn today. His fortune has enabled him to do great things for African charities.
20. James Patterson - $790m
Never let it be said that the creation of the TV and movie industry made it impossible for authors to earn money the old fashioned away. James Patterson sits well above a number of the world's most famous directors on this list, and he's done it all with his writing.
The creator of the popular 'Alex Cross' series, Patterson has sold over 300m books worldwide, and he has the distinction of being the first person ever to sell 1m e-books after the invention of the internet. Keen to encourage young people to maintain an interest in reading, he founded the James Patterson Pledge in 2015, an initiative designed to ensure that books are always freely available to children. Never shy of a major or unusual project, Patterson recently co-authored 'The President is Missing', which is the first foray into creative writing by former President Bill Clinton.
ADVERTISEMENT
19. Madonna - $800m
She did tell the world that she was a 'Material Girl' from the very start of her career, and nobody can accuse Madonna of being a liar now. With a fortune that seems destined to grow to over $1bn, it pays to be a cultural icon. Madonna has every right to claim that she's the biggest and most influential female recording artist of all time.
Provocative and often controversial, it's hard to express today how shocking some of Madonna's material was in the 1980s, particularly the racial-divide crossing 'Like a Prayer' video, and the sexual content of both her lyrics and her performances. She even went as far as to release a book called 'Sex', mostly consisting of pictures of her in various states of undress. Many stars who have followed - Lady Gaga in particular - owe a lot of their style and success to Madonna being there to open the door for them.
18. Jim Davis - $800m
All you really need to become super rich is one truly great idea, the talent to bring it to life, and the ability to capitalize on it. Cartoonist Jim Davis thought of 'Garfield', drew 'Garfield', and has made money from 'Garfield' every day of his life ever since.
The world's most famous cat came to life in the late 1970s and became a staple of newspapers across America and worldwide shortly afterwards, achieving mass syndication. The character is loved by both adults and children and bringing it to life with a live action film was an obvious move to make which enriched Davis no end. By the time that 'Garfield' made his big screen debut in a live action movie in 2004, Davis was already a made man. He's enjoyed some success with other animated creations in the meantime, but he'll always be 'the Garfield guy' to us.
ADVERTISEMENT
17. Celine Dion - $800m
If you think you know of a female recording artist who's seen more global success than Celine Dion, 'Think Twice'. Not even Madonna can claim to be on level pegging with the Canadian songstress.
If you're selected to perform the title track to a blockbuster movie, it's going to do great things for your bank balance. Dion has managed this twice; once with 'Beauty and the Beast' and again with 'My Heart Will Go On', which was the major theme from 'Titanic' and felt like it was at the top of the charts for a whole year. Throw in the fact that she had one of the longest and most profitable Las Vegas runs of all time, you're looking at one very, very rich lady. Most estimates agree that in the first decade of the 21st Century, she earned more than any other entertainer in the world.
16. Dr. Dre - $820m
Did you forget about Dre? With a bank balance like that, how could you? Like any good doctor, Dre came up with a successful formula: Become a famous rapper, use your money to open a record label, sign Eminem, and watch the cash keep flowing in.
As part of the group N.W.A, Dre released the seminal album 'Straight Outta Compton', which shocked the general public, broke down barriers, brought rap into the mainstream and made millions of dollars. He broke off from the group to enjoy solo success and opened Death Row Records. Mentoring acts like 50 Cent as well as Eminem, Dre has branched out into other areas, creating a range of high quality headphones which are now recognized as an industry standard. Apple eventually bought the company for $3bn, and Dre entered financial dreamland. After all these years, he's still D.R.E.
ADVERTISEMENT
15. Herb Alpert - $850m
If the name isn't immediately familiar to you, it's probably down to the generation you were born in. Herb Alpert started off his career as a musician - he had trumpet lessons as a young child, and then performed the trumpet during his military service. After leaving the army, he started writing and producing jazz songs in the late 1950s. His album 'Whipped Cream and Other Delights' was a number one smash hit, and for a short while he was selling more records than the Beatles.
It was his record label that really brought the money in. Formed in 1962 with his friend Jerry Moss, A&M records grew slowly and steadily, and in the 80s made smart investments by signing Janet Jackson and Sheryl Crow early on in their careers. Eventually, PolyGram bought them out for $500m in 1989, and Alpert could have retired there and then. The fact that he didn't is just because he loves playing so much.
14. P Diddy - $855m
You can call him Puff Daddy. You can call him Diddy. You can call him P Diddy. You can even call him Brother Love or just plain old Sean Combs, but whilst you're deciding which of his many names to use, Diddy is making money.
One of the biggest rap stars of all time, managing six weeks on the Billboard hot 100 with his debut album 'Can't Nobody Hold Me Down', Diddy may actually be even more successful as a producer than he is a performer. During his time at Uptown Records he signed and mentored Mary J Blige, and when he was fired from the company after a disagreement he just opened Bad Boy Records instead and discovered Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans, as well as acting as a producer and guide to Usher as he started out his career. Now owner of a clothing line, movie company and two restaurants, Diddy is a one man industry.
ADVERTISEMENT
13. Jacqueline Gold - $860m
You may not have heard of Jacqueline Gold, but you have heard of her businesses. Even if you've never shopped in Ann Summers or Knickerbox, you know they're there and you know people who have. Gold is the woman at the helm of them both, and she made them into what they are today.
An icon and pioneer in the business world, Gold took over Ann Summers as a small business from her father, and saw its potential as a brand that reflected female empowerment rather than just another tacky sex shop, which is how it had been run previously. She adopted an ethos of it being run 'by women, for women', with women represented at management level right through the company. Her autobiography 'Good Vibration's, published in the mid-90s, was a bestseller, and she followed it up with a sequel in 2007. Universally respected as a businesswoman, she runs advice columns for business owners in several British newspapers.
12. Jay-Z - $930m
We read about his wife earlier on in the list, and now here's the other half of the power couple. Whilst Jay-Z is undoubtedly a rap legend and a major star, he's not the global icon that his wife is, and nor has he sold as many records. So how is it that he comes in higher up on this list?
The answer is that he's got serious business smarts. He created Rocaware clothing, built up the brand, and sold it for $204m. He co-owns Roc-A-Fella Records and is the principal owner of the streaming service Tidal. He has shareholdings in Arsenal Football Club, the New York Jets, and a series of nightclubs. In short, Jay-Z has invested his money wisely, and seen major returns on it over time. His money enables him to help the needy - he personally donated $1m to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
ADVERTISEMENT
11. Jerry Seinfeld - $950m
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most highly paid and massively successful TV entertainers in history. You may have heard of his famous show, which was called...um...'Seinfeld'. The show ran for nine years, making big stars of both himself and Larry David, but in Seinfeld's case, he was no overnight success. He'd been working his way up the showbiz ladder for years.
In truth, Seinfeld came up the hard way through the standup comedy clubs, and he spent the best part of fifteen years on the road earning very little until he was finally noticed, and bagged TV slots on 'David Letterman', and 'The Tonight Show'. Once he had his foot in the TV door, he made up for lost time. Recently he's signed a big deal with the streaming service 'Netflix' to make both new sitcoms and special stand up shows, so he's not going anywhere just yet.
10. The Kardashian Family - $1bn
A lot of you will skip over this list entry, and others will love it. Everyone has an opinion on the controversial Kardashians. We're even creating some here; it's impossible to separate who owns what and who earns what in the family, particularly among the sisters, so we're including them all together.
The Kardashians are, at face value, socialites, models and business people. In real terms, though, they're reality TV shows first and foremost, and the rest follows afterwards. 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' has been a television fixture since 2007 and is wildly popular, and has made Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and Robert in particular household names, as well as restoring Caitlyn Jenner to the theater of celebrity. Their TV shows and endorsements have brought them a lot of wealth, but the family was already rich thanks to the estate of father and celebrity lawyer Robert Kardashian, who passed away in 2003.
ADVERTISEMENT
9. JK Rowling - $1bn
Were it not for the unreliable nature of trains in her home of England, the world may never have seen or heard of Harry Potter. JK Rowling was working as a secretary for Amnesty International in 1990, when having nothing to do whilst waiting for a delayed train between Manchester and London gave her enough time to imagine Harry's existence. Despite having no previous writing credits to her name, she started putting her ideas to paper, and five years later, the very first Harry Potter book was finished.
Everybody knows the rest of the story; the book series is the biggest selling in history, the movies based on the books have grossed billions of dollars, and Rowling is the first billionaire author ever. Not wanting to be known just for Potter, she penned a series of crime books under a male pseudonym once her wizarding tales were over, and these were also picked up for publication before she was outed as the true talent behind the work. Known for her left-wing views and support of worthy causes, Rowling would be even richer if she didn't give so much money away to charity.
8. David Copperfield - $1bn
It's not an illusion; David Copperfield really is a billionaire, and it would take a lot of time and effort to make that amount of money disappear. His rise through the ranks of the secretive Magic Circle is astonishing; his grandfather taught him his first card trick as a child. By age 12 he was a member of the Society of American Magicians, and already performing on stage. At 16 he was so skilled he was actually coaching and training other people to perform magic, and before he was 20 he had a residence in Hawaii. From making the Statue of Liberty disappear to walking through the Great Wall of China, there's seemingly nothing Copperfield can't do.
For years he's been the most in-demand magical performer in the world, and so he can charge what he wants. That wealth has enabled him to acquire the most valuable collection of magic memorabilia in the world, featuring priceless artifacts from Houdini and Georges Melies.
ADVERTISEMENT
7. Brock Pierce - $1bn
Future prospects for child stars can vary dramatically. Some make a couple of movie appearances and then disappear. Some go completely off the rails. None of them usually go on to become billionaires, which makes Brock Pierce exceptional. He had sustained success as a child actor in the 1990s, with a string of credits including 'The Mighty Ducks' and 'Problem Child 3', But that's not where his money really came from.
Pierce turned his love of video gaming and technology into a fortune. He founded internet gaming company IMI Exchange in 2001, which was soon generating income of $1m a month, and then his real masterstroke was investing in Bitcoin when it was cheap. As the cryptocurrency boomed, the value of Pierce's coins went through the roof, and the end result is a former child actor who's become a billionaire before he's even turned 40.
6. Slavica Ecclestone - $1.2bn
We met her daughter earlier on in this list; now meet the matriarch of the Ecclestone family. Slavica has become a billionaire just off the back of having a pretty face, in a roundabout way. Born in Croatia, she was a highly desirable runway model who regularly worked for Armani. It was during one of these Armani fashion shows that she caught the eye of billionaire and Formula 1 Racing director Bernie Ecclestone. Despite him speaking no Croatian and her speaking no English, they married and had children. Those were the good times.
Unfortunately for Bernie, when the bad times arrived, they came at an almighty cost. Ecclestone filed for divorce after 23 years of marriage in 2008. The resulting settlement saw her awarded $1.2bn from her husband, making it the second most expensive divorce in all of human history. If only Kanye West had been around years ago to tell Bernie 'if you ain't no punk, holler we want pre-nup'.
ADVERTISEMENT
5. Paul McCartney - $1.2bn
What happens when you're one half of the biggest band in the world, and then when that band ends, you form another huge band and go on to sell millions more records, including a 'James Bond' theme tune? And then, when all that's said and done, you continue to write and release records for another fifty years? You become a billionaire, and one of the most successful and beloved performers in all of music history.
Whether it was in the Beatles, or Wings, or just on his own, Sir Paul McCartney has entertained all of us for many years. He's written some of the best-known songs of all time, and it's impossible to imagine what popular music would even look like today had he and John Lennon never met. McCartney is a committed vegetarian and a supporters of animal rights causes. He even once wrote to the Dalai Lama to tell him off after he saw him eating meat!
4. Jami Gertz - $2bn
If you know Jami Gertz's face from any of her numerous television or film appearances over the course of the past thirty years, but don't know anything about her life away from the screen, it may surprise you that you're watching someone who has wealth somewhere in the region of two billion dollars.
Most of that doesn't come from her acting work, although we're taking nothing away from her roles in 'The Lost Boys', 'Quicksilver', 'Twister' or 'The Neighbors', she does a great job. In 1988, she married billionaire Tony Ressler, a businessman with a hugely successful private equity company. After thirty years of marriage and three children, what's his is hers and vice versa. Through this huge fortune, Gertz and her husband own the NBA team Atlanta Hawks, as well as MLB's Milwaukee Brewers. They live together in Beverley Parks, an ultra-exclusive gated community available only to the mega rich.
ADVERTISEMENT
3. Oprah Winfrey - $3.2bn
Who was just waiting to see Oprah show up on this list? If your hand is up, you get a car! And you get a car! And you...well actually, no you don't. We can't afford that kind of outlay. With over three billion stashed away, Winfrey can, which is probably why she did it in the first place.
We cannot overstate Winfrey's importance to American culture over the past thirty years. She revolutionized the concept of talk shows, empowered black people and the gay community, and changed the way that television stars and television stations do business together, stepping ahead of the game once more when she launched the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011. A positive or negative word from Winfrey can make or break the reputation of an individual or a company, such is her influence on her millions of fans and admirers. Winfrey's appeal is so strong that she's forever plagued by rumors that she will eventually stand to be President.
2. Steven Spielberg - $3.7bn
Here is the conclusive proof about who holds the real earning potential between the people who make movies, and the people who star in them. All the awards and the celebrity might go to the stars, but the money is going to the people behind the cameras. Steven Spielberg has placed higher than any actor on this list. The directors have beaten the performers.
Since he first cut his teeth (pardon the pun) making 'Jaws' in 1975, Spielberg has had the golden touch with films. He's directed 'Jurassic Park', the entire 'Indiana Jones' franchise, 'Schindler's List', 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Catch Me If You Can', and many, many more. Putting Spielberg in the director's chair of a movie practically guarantees you a blockbuster. His name is the first in a lot of people's heads when they're asked to think of a famous director. And yet he's not the top director on this list...
ADVERTISEMENT
1. George Lucas - $5.1bn
The wealth is strong in this one. George Lucas is the top of our list, and it's not even close. George Lucas is eye-wateringly rich. The creator of 'Star Wars' has cashed in on his invention in every way possible, and it's made him wealthier than some small countries.
Lucas was already working as a director in the 1970s. He wanted to adapt 'Flash Gordon' for the big screen, but was unable to get the rights, and so wrote a completely original script that would give birth to a box office phenomenon. The studio that bought it for the big screen mostly did it out of goodwill because of the performance of Lucas' previous film 'American Graffiti'. They also allowed Lucas to take a favorable percentage of the merchandising rights. What really made Lucas top of this list is the sale of his film company to Disney in 2012. With that one transaction, he personally earned $4bn.

Comments:

Trending On BuzzFuse:

Trending on BuzzFuse:

Each NFL Team's Most Famous Fan
The Biggest Box Office Bombs Of All Time
Ground-Breaking CGI Shows What Historical Figures Actually Looked Like
50 Greatest Players In NBA History Ranked By Experts
Unfiltered Celebrity Quotes About Their Divorces
50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists Of All-Time Ranked
The Most Powerful Characters In Marvel Comics Ranked
Famous Same Gender Couples Who Are Engaged Or Married
All The Celebrities We've Lost In The Past Year
These Zodiac Matches Make The Worst Couples According To Astrologists
ADVERTISEMENT