George Lucas: $4.9 Billion
We all know the name from the world famous Star Wars franchise that Lucas was brilliant enough to create back in 1971, but this is not exactly how the director was able to achieve the status of the wealthiest celebrity in the world. With the film American Graffiti, one of the most profitable movies in the history of cinema, Lucas earned $200 million after creating it with a budget of only $775,000.
Despite Fox Studio’s hesitation toward the potential success of Star Wars, Lucas’s fame that came with American Graffiti earned him the respect to give it a shot. Instead of receiving a pay increase that he was entitled to, Lucas proposed to the studio that he retain all merchandising rights for the films and keep all rights to any sequels. The film has earned $775 million at box offices and has generated over $12 million in merchandise alone. Dang George!
Ralph Lauren: $6.1 Billion
Destined to be in the world of fashion from a young age, billionaire Ralph Lauren started the brand with just $50,000. With his first job at Brooks Brothers after serving in the army, the talented fashion designer was a tie salesman. Starting the Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1967, he commenced the product line exclusively with ties under the manufacturer he worked with at the time, Beau Brummell.
By ’68 Lauren had his own sportswear line, which we know as “Polo,” that was being sold in the Bloomingdale’s men’s department only a year later. Now, featured in over 100 magazines globally, Ralph Lauren has built one of the biggest fashion empires in the history of the industry with a net worth of $6.1 billion.
Steven Spielberg: $3.7 Billion
Anyone that has ever seen movies knows the name Steven Spielberg, even if they can’t name the particular movies he has created. If you are drawing a blank on which films this theatrical directing genius is responsible for, here are a few: Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schlinder’s List, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple, Munich, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and so many more.
After being turned down by USC due to his low-grade average, Spielberg ventured off to Long Beach where he then accepted an unpaid internship at Universal Studios. The rest was history after he created his first short film Amblin’, which went on to win many awards, of course. He also spent $60,000 on movie memorabilia back in 1982 that he says is symbolic of quality in the film business.
Oprah Winfrey: $2.9 Billion
Raised in a brutal childhood that involved abuse and sexual abuse, Oprah Winfrey is easily one of the most inspirational women on the planet, not to mention one of the richest! Although Oprah’s net worth is $2.9 billion thanks to her talk show, network, novels, magazines, press tours and charities, she is even richer in love.
When Winfrey decided to get healthy, she purchased 60 million shares of Weight Watchers stock and was handed $3.5 million just for jumping on board the weight loss train. She has been ranked the highest paid celebrity four years in a row and is the world’s first female African-American billionaire.
Paul McCartney: $1.2 Billion
Excuse us, Sir Paul McCartney. The incredible Beatles artist has racked up quite a sum ever since Beatlemania hit back in the 60s. Although money can’t buy you love, Paul has found both! Apparently, Paul himself is not quite a billionaire although he is close! With his net worth of $660 million combined with his wife Nancy’s, McCartney is “generously” ranked on the list of billionaires.
Not only is McCartney the most successful songwriter since ’69, he is known for so much more, especially his voice. The talented singer-songwriter has over 192 songs on the U.K. charts over the years and still sells out every show he plays! We love you, Paul!
J.K. Rowling: Around $1 Billion
Earning over $2 billion from her Harry Potter empire alone, she has made over $850 million in book deals, $770 million in movie deals and $350 million in merchandise.
Starting over 20 years ago, the Harry Potter books and films have brought J.K. from a net worth of $16,223,429 to $848,521,956. With the millions pouring in from new film The Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Rowling is sitting pretty at the top of our list.
Larry David: $800 million
Although the comedian, actor, and producer remains private about his personal life, it is a known fact that both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm brought the Jewish personality a considerable sum of money. Sadly, David lost half in 2007 following the divorce of his now ex-wife Laurie Ellen Lennard, but is now estimated at $800 million in 2016.
As Seinfeld is still, and most likely always will be, run in syndication, David is set to make a whopping $1.7 billion like the original deal indicated from 1998. The Emmy award winning, low-key Broadway star and wonderful comedian will eventually reach the billionaire’s club unless he loses more money in his next divorce!
Tory Burch: $1 Billion
From the kitchen of a Manhattan apartment to a multi-billion dollar empire and growing, fashion designer Tory Burch makes our list with a net worth of $1 billion. Carried in the most elite stores in the world, Tory Burch started everything with a simple pair of ballet flats. After a slight mention from fellow billionaire Oprah Winfrey in 2005, Burch’s $200 ballet flats sold out.
With over eight million site visits in just 24 hours, Burch beat out the sales of fashion competitors Michael Kors and Kate Spade and won the “Oscar of Fashion” in 2008. Following a rough divorce with her former co-chair of Tory Burch, Chris Burch, Tory now owns a little less than 1/3 of her company that is still continuing to thrive in the fashion industry.
Kate Middleton: £7.3 Million ($10 Million)
Prince William and Kate Middleton married in April of 2011, but that wasn’t Kate’s first taste of high society. After all, she met William while attending the same private school, University of St. Andrews in Fife, in Scotland. Her family owns a very successful company called Party Pieces, which is worth an estimated £50 million.
Photo: Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images
The Middletons have built their empire in England over the last 100 years and Kate would have been well-off whether or not she married the Duke of Cambridge. Before they got together, Kate was living in a flat in Chelsea her parents purchased that is now worth £1 million.
Meghan Markle: $5 Million
Meghan Markle will become the newest member of the royal family on May 19, 2018, when she marries Prince Harry. Unlike Kate Middleton, Markle was already well-known for her acting career. Best known for playing Rachel Zane on the hit television series Suits, Markle has made a good living on her own, before she’ll become the Duchess of Sussex.
Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Her annual salary on the show was a reported $450,000, placing her net worth around an estimated $5 million. Although she is a millionaire, Markle has lived a relatively low-key lifestyle, prioritizing experiences over material things. Her rented apartment in Toronto, Canada was reportedly only cost around $1,770 a month.
Sean P. Combs: $750 million
Formerly known as P. Diddy and Puff Daddy, Sean P. Combs has generated an estimated net worth of $750 million as of 2016. Starting in the industry as an intern at Uptown Records, Combs was fired and decided to create his own label under the name Bad Boy Records in 1993. He made his “big” move with Notorious B.I.G. and produced music for artists like TLC and Faith Evans before he started his own rap career in ’97.
After winning five Grammy nominations for his album Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, Combs continued to focus on his music. Following his musical career, Combs started to produce television and films before trying acting himself, and let’s not forget his world-famous clothing brand line Sean John.
Dr. Dre: $710 million
Andre Romelle Young, better known as Dr. Dre, is estimated with a net worth of $710 million. Starting out as one of the greatest DJs and rappers in the game in the ’80s, Dre was one of the OGs of West Coast hip hop.
Although Dre has not put out an album in quite some time, the Aftermath record label that he started in 1996 brought the retired rapper millions. After selling Aftermath for $52 million in 2001, Dre was bought out by Apple in 2014 for Beats Audio. At $3 billion, this was the largest purchase in the history of the company. Seems like ol’ Dre is doing alright!
Howard Stern: $600 million
Famous talk show host Howard Stern has a surprising estimated net worth of $600 million. Stern left America’s Got Talent as a judge not too long ago and has been known as a famous talk show radio host since 1986. Interviewing the stars, Stern was featured on terrestrial radio for over 20 years, but made the massive jump to Sirius satellite radio in 2004 that brought him $100 million alone in the first five years.
Earning over $15 million a year as a judge on America’s Got Talent, Stern didn’t need the extra money and wanted to refocus his career on what he loved most: being a talk show host. Stern owns a $52 million beachfront mansion in Florida, loves to get away from the busy city with his wife Beth Ostrosky Stern.
Bono: $600 million
World famous U2 singer Bono has an estimated net worth of $600 million. As the lead singer of one of the most successful rocks bands in Ireland, U2 has sold over 150 million albums over the years.
With several investments in business ventures, like refurbishing the Clarence Hotel with the Edge, being on the board of the Elevation Partners, and the Forbes media group through the Elevation Partners, Bono has made millions. With the company’s 1/5% ownership of Facebook, his personal stake was valued at $1 billion in 2012, although he is not quite a billionaire. Bono is more of a businessman these days than a performer. Interesting. One time, he bought a plane ticket for his hat that cost $1,700.
Madonna: $560 million
The influential goddess of pop Madonna is apparently estimated at a net worth of $560 million. Although Madonna started her musical empire back in the 80s, she is still ranked as the wealthiest woman in the music industry.
Earning $1.4 million on her last tour alone, Madonna has sold over 300 million records worldwide and is still recognized as the world’s top-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness Records. Performing almost non-stop since the release of her first album in 1983, Madonna, now 58, has not shown any signs of slowing down and still looks incredible for her age.
Jay Z: $610 million
Rapper and now producer and entrepreneur Jay Z is estimated by Forbes at $610 million this year. With a successful career in the music industry in his youth, Jay Z created Roc-A-Fella Records in ’95 with fellow producers Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs. For the next 20 years, Jay Z created, produced and wrote music with the biggest names in the industry until his presidency of Def Jam Records was announced in 2004.
Coming back out of “retirement” in 2005, Jay Z’s latest album Magna Carta was released in 2013 and received nine nominations at the 2014 Grammy Awards. As a successful business owner of his Tidal streaming service that is estimated at $56 million alone, Jay Z is easily one of the biggest names in music and always will be. And just so we all know how rich he is, one night Jay Z bought 75 bottles of “Ace of Spades” which cost a grand total of $250,000.
Simon Cowell: $550 million
Known as the snobby, rude judge on American Idol and now America’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell has an estimated net worth of $550 million. Starting from the bottom of the industry as a mail deliverer at EMI Music Publishing, Cowell decided to create his own producing company called E&S Music but failed just before almost bankrupting himself with next venture Fanfare Records.
Eventually, Cowell was granted a judge position on Pop Idol, which turned into American Idol. In 2002, Simon created the SYCOtv network that gave birth to America’s Got Talent and X-Factor. With several American and British shows at Simon’s beck and call, it seems as though the music mogul will never work the mail room again!
Mariah Carey: $520 million
As the second wealthiest female in the music industry under Madonna, diva Mariah Carey is estimated at a $520 million net worth. Since 1990, Mariah’s unbeatable pitch has been bringing wealth and fame with famous albums like Mariah Carey, Music Box and Butterfly.
In 2016 her engagement to billionaire James Packer was called off. The couple became engaged less than a year after they met and rumors quickly surfaced that Packer thought Carey spent too much money. Things came to a head when the couple laid out their prenuptial agreement that wasn’t to Mariah’s liking, limiting her to a spending of $6 million per year as his wife.
Dolly Parton: $500 million
Beloved and busty Dolly Parton has been a country favorite since her very first debut on The Cas Walker Show when she was only ten years old. Dolly’s big breakthrough didn’t come until she was featured on Porter Wagoner’s TV special as a performer and was signed on the RCA Victor label.
Having composed over 3,000 songs over her career, both country and pop, Parton is known as one of the most famous country singers to ever grace the stage. Even at 70 years old, Dolly is still performing and with over 100 million record sales worldwide, she is still one of the most successful.
Elton John: $480 million
The incredible singer, songwriter, and performer Elton John of course had to make the list with an estimated net worth of $480 million. Sir Elton John is the second wealthiest U.K. musician and has sold over 250 million albums throughout his successful career.
This knighted Grammy, Tony, Academy and Golden Globe Award-winning prodigy, who started playing the piano at just three years old, is just as philanthropic as you would assume him to be. Donating over $34 million just in 2014 alone to AIDS charities and to his own, Elton is known as one of the most generous celebrities on the planet. We love you Elton, you’re the best!
Tom Cruise: $540 million
Although the Scientologist is known for being kooky in more recent years, actor Tom Cruise has built an insanely successful career over the decades that is now estimated to be worth about $540 million.
With world-famous films like Mission Impossible, Jack Reacher, Vanilla Sky, Risky Business, Edge of Tomorrow, Cocktail, Rain Man, Top Gun, Knight and Day and so many more, Tom Cruise is known as one of the wealthiest acting celebrities on the planet. In fact, in 2012 Cruise was named the highest paid actor in the industry. This was the same year his marriage with actress Katie Holmes fell through. And maybe it was the fact that he spent $200,000 on a sonogram machine to be able to see his kid whenever he wanted, that contributed to the split.
David Letterman: $425 million
The famous interviewer of the stars, David Letterman, has been estimated at $425 million with one of the greatest jobs in the industry. Our favorite talk show host of all time, Letterman started asking tough questions of big people back in the 80s after a somewhat successful stand-up career.
Following a failed morning segment on NBC, Letterman lost Johnny Carson’s spot to Jay Leno in 1992 and created his own late night talk show The David Letterman Show a year later. The evolution of Letterman can be seen from the transformation of The David Letterman Show to the Late Show with David Letterman that ran until 2015. Only recently did David retire from the late night life, giving Stephen Colbert the go-ahead for the hit The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Macaulay Culkin: $15 Million
It’s fitting that this wealthy actor once starred in the Ri¢hie Ri¢h movie. Best known for his role in the classic Home Alone, for which he received a 1991 Golden Globe nomination, Culkin started acting at the age of four! He also had appearances in My Girl, Uncle Buck, The Good Son, The Pagemaster, and more.
He’s now retired from acting and devotes his time to indie projects, including a band called The Pizza Underground. He’s had his share of legal troubles, including a 2004 arrest for marijuana possession. Today, Culkin is estimated to be worth around $15 million.
Gisele Bündchen: $360 Million
It sure pays to be pretty. Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen has amassed a reported $360 million during her career as a model. In fact, Forbes named her #1 on their top-earning models list in 2012. The stunning beauty seems to prefer to keep her financial live private, once telling WSJ, “”Who are they speaking to when they come up with these numbers? Not my accountant, that’s for sure.”
She’s married to New Englands Patriots star Quarterback Tom Brady. The couple has two children together. Bündchen is a vocal advocate for environmental issues and serves on the Rainforest Alliance board of directors.
Denzel Washington $140 Million
Denzel Washington, the American actor, producer, and director, has done quite well for himself. Besides winning major awards for his acting work, including a Tony Award, three Golden Globe awards, two Academy Awards, and the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, he has racked up a reported fortune of $140 million.
Washington has starred in many iconic films, including The Hurricane, Malcolm X, Cry Freedom, Remember the Titans, The Great Debaters, The Manchurian Candidate, Inside Man, and American Gangster. He’s been married to Pauletta Pearson since 1983, and they have four children together. Washington is the national spokesperson forBoys & Girls Clubs of America.
Angelina Jolie: $140 Million
Although Angelina Jolie is almost as famous for her personal life and work as a terrific mother these days, she’s also one of the highest paid actresses in the business. Jolie has built an impressive $140 million net worth with her acting career.
She’s appeared in many notable films, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Girl, Interrupted; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Maleficent; Gia; and Hackers. She’s currently going through a very public divorce from actor husband Brad Pitt, who has an estimated net worth of $240 million. The two are said to have an iron-clad prenuptial agreement.
George R. R. Martin: $50 Million
Author and screenwriter George R. R. Martin (full name George Raymond Richard Martin) is most famous for his blockbuster work A Song of Ice and Fire. Initially a fantasy book series, the storyline was turned into the HBO show Game of Thrones, which remains one of the most popular shows on television. In 2011, TIME magazine named Martin one of the “most influential people in the world”
Martin, who lived in a federal housing project with his family as a child, is now worth a reported $50 million. He has been married to Parris McBridesince 2011.
Muhammad Ali: $80 Million
Not everyone on this list is still present here on earth. Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer known as “The Greatest,” passed away in June 2016. However, his vast fortune is worth an entry here.
Ali started his career as a boxer when he was just 12 years old. With win after win, championship after championship, he eventually was named by Sports Illustrated as the greatest athlete of the 20th century. The multi-talented Ali also won two Grammy nominations in his lifetime, for his spoken word albums and music. He also acted in films and in a Broadway show.
Most Of The Trump Family: $150 Million
The infamous businessman, television personality, and now president Donald Trump is a pretty wealthy guy. He has four adult children, and each of them has a substantial net worth.
Donald Trump, Jr. is the oldest child of the clan. His net worth, from his work as The Trump Organization’s executive vice president, is said to be $150 million. Next in age comes Ivanka Trump, who used to work as a model in addition to a position with The Trump Organization. Ivanka also has amassed a fortune of roughly $150 million. Third in line, age-wise, is Eric Trump, who has earned a net worth of $150 million through his work at The Trump Organization. Do you detect a pattern here?
Nicolas Cage: $18 Million
Actor Nicolas Cage is known as one of the most eccentric people in Hollywood. He’s received multiple awards such as an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe for his impressive thespian career. His film credits include work in National Treasure, Valley Girl, Peggy Sue Got Married, Raising Arizona, Honeymoon in Vegas, Wild At Heart, and Moonstruck.
According to Forbes, Cage earned $40 million in 2008 alone, and was said to have amassed a $150 million fortune. Unfortunately, legal problems and poor personal and business decisions wiped out much of that nest egg, and he’s now rumored to be worth around just $18 million. In 2007, before he lost most of his funds, he outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for a 67 million-year-old dinosaur skull that cost $276,000.
Gene Wilder: $20 Million
Beloved actor Gene Wilder, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 83, left behind a fortune worth $20 million. The Emmy and Academy-award winner actor, writer, and director earned his substantial net worth with a slew of iconic movies like Bonnie and Clyde, The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Woman in Red, and the enduring classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
In his later years, Wilder penned a number of books that contributed to his wealth. These titles include My French Whore: A Love Story, Kiss Me like a Stranger, Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance, and What Is This Thing Called Love?.
Malia And Sasha Obama: $200,000-$450,000
It might be tough growing up under such public scrutiny, but at least Malia (18 as of 2017) and Sasha (15) have parents who are wise with their earnings. Some estimates indicate that the former First Daughters have a net worth somewhere between $200,000 and $450,000. The money is held in 529 college saving plans that their parents, Barack and Michelle, set aside for them.
Former President Barack Obama is worth an estimated $12.2 million, and Michelle’s net worth is said to be near $11.8 million. The majority of their wealth was earned during their careers in the private sector, and does not come from the $400,000 received each of the eight years Obama served as president.
Melania Trump: $11 Million
The First Lady to the 45th President of the United States, Melania Trump has a reported net worth of $11 million. While in the White House (figuratively speaking, since she has stated she hopes to stay in the Trump Tower in New York) Melania is taking full advantage of her increased fame. She has plans to start every product line under the sun with her likeness, including apparel, accessories, cosmetics, shoes, skincare, and jewelry.
Although she’s married to a billionaire, Melania has made her millions off her modeling career after she became a permanent US citizen in 2001. She’s attempting to pocket another $150 million in a libel lawsuit against Daily Mail for publishing an article stating Melania worked as an escort in the ’90s, which she said hurts her reputation and potential for making millions.