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50 richest celebrities in the world

  • 50 richest celebrities in the world
    1/ marcen27 // Flickr

    50 richest celebrities in the world

    Fame and fortune often go hand in hand, but acclaim doesn’t guarantee a large bank account, as evidenced by countless celebrities who end up declaring bankruptcy. While recognizable names like Madonna and Paul McCartney often appear on any list of richest celebrities, other ultra-famous names like Cher and Brad Pitt generally do not. What’s more, some celebrities who consistently make the list—like Petra Ecclestone and Jacqueline Gold—are decidedly less famous than their more popular counterparts.

    That’s because the most recognizable faces don’t necessarily make their money with the movies and music that made them famous in the first place. Some of the most famous celebrities can afford to live off their creative works alone, but there’s a reason that J.K. Rowling became the first person to make a $1 billion through writing; creative fields might give you name recognition, but they don’t always pay well.

    Some of the most successful celebrities supplement their income by selling their brand and name recognition to companies for endorsements and advertising. Others build on wealth already in their families, make smart investments, start their own businesses, or launch fashion lines. Some of the most successful celebrities don’t even know how much money they make, relying on business managers to keep track of their financial planning.

    That doesn’t mean regular Americans have to stay in the dark. Stacker’s list of the 50 richest celebrities, which uses Celebrity Net Worth's rankings of the wealthiest celebrities by current net worth, is guaranteed to hold some surprises for the average reader. The net worth figures in this list were calculated using a proprietary formula that factored in all publicly available data about each person including salaries, real estate holdings, divorces, record sales, royalties, and endorsements—minus estimated taxes, manager’s fees, agent fees, and lifestyle expenses.

    Read on to see how each celebrity rose to fame, and what they are up to now.

    You may also like: Richest country music stars

  • #50. Bill Cosby (tie)
    2/ Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrew Meyers // U.S. Navy

    #50. Bill Cosby (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $400 million via

    Once known as “America’s dad” for the persona he built playing Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” Bill Cosby today is most famous for his sexual assault conviction, handed down in April after 60 women went public with accusations about him drugging, molesting, and raping them. He’s currently out on $1 million bail, but once sentenced, could end up spending the rest of his life in jail.

  • #49. Barbra Streisand (tie)
    3/ Al Ravenna // Library of Congress

    #49. Barbra Streisand (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $400 million via

    With two Oscars, nine Golden Globes, 10 Grammys, and a Tony, “Funny GirlBarbra Streisand is one of the most successful actresses and recording artists of all time. Streisand is so famous that her name is attached to a phenomenon called the Streisand effect, which states that attempting to suppress a piece of information will only make it go viral.

  • #48. Jon Bon Jovi
    4/ Artur Bogdanski // Wikicommons

    #48. Jon Bon Jovi

    Estimated net worth: $410 million via

    The “Livin’ on a Prayer” crooner made his name as the frontman of rock band Bon Jovi—which is still making music together with its international This House Is Not For Sale tour this year. Also an actor, Bon Jovi can be seen in “Pay It Forward,” “Sex and the City,” and “Ally McBeal.”

  • #47. Mel Gibson
    5/ Georges Biard // Wikicommons

    #47. Mel Gibson

    Estimated net worth: $425 million via

    Many movies Mel Gibson has starred in or directed, such as “Lethal Weapon,” “Braveheart,” and “Apocalypto,” are familiar household names. The famous actor is also no stranger to controversy, both for his polarizing 2004 film, “The Passion of the Christ,” and for his anti-semitic rant in 2006 against a police officer who arrested him for DUI.

  • #46. Michael Bay
    6/ Capt. Corinna Jones // U.S. Air Force

    #46. Michael Bay

    Estimated net worth: $430 million via

    An American filmmaker behind big-budget blockbusters like “Pearl Harbor,” “Armageddon,” and “The Rock,” Michael Bay is ranked the second most commercially successful directors of all time by Business Insider. Bay has also directed the first five films in the “Transformers” series; he’s a producer of the sixth installment, “Bumblebee,” which will be released this Christmas.

  • #45. Victoria Beckham
    7/ LGEPR // Wikicommons

    #45. Victoria Beckham

    Estimated net worth: $450 million via

    Victoria Beckham came to fame as Posh Spice with 1990s British pop group Spice Girls. Then she married soccer celebrity David Beckham, with whom she starred in a number of reality television shows. Today, she’s known as a fashion icon and designer behind her Victoria Beckham label.

  • #44. Bruce Springsteen
    8/ EJ Hersom // Flickr

    #44. Bruce Springsteen

    Estimated net worth: $460 million via

    “Born in the U.S.A.” singer Bruce Springsteen has won 20 Grammys and is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, according to The Independent. This year, The Boss picked up a special Tony award for his Broadway show “Springsteen on Broadway.”

  • #43. Trey Parker (tie)
    9/ Gage Skidmore // Wikicommons

    #43. Trey Parker (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    "South Park," which Trey Parker co-created with Matt Stone, has been going on for 21 seasons—during which the animated show has picked up five Emmys, among other accolades. Parker also co-directed the Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon,” voiced the villain in “Despicable Me 3,” and established a production studio dubbed Important Studios.

  • #42. Petra Ecclestone (tie)
    10/ Mark Thompson // Getty Images

    #42. Petra Ecclestone (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    British socialite Petra Ecclestone has done some modeling and fashion design, but is mostly known for being rich. She got her fortune from her father, Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone. At the moment, she’s trying to sell her Los Angeles mansion for $175 million.

  • #41. Peter Jackson (tie)
    11/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #41. Peter Jackson (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    The man behind “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Peter Jackson is a New Zealand filmmaker who has won three Oscars. His next film, “Mortal Engines,” will hit theaters this December.

  • #40. Paulo Coelho (tie)
    12/ Das Blaue Sofa // Club Bertelsmann

    #40. Paulo Coelho (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Many soul-searchers have found their way by reading “The Alchemist,” the author of which is Paulo Coelho, a writer, blogger, and social media aficionado. A sample tweet from Coelho: “Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming someone. Maybe it's about getting rid of everything that isn't really you.”

  • #39. Matt Stone (tie)
    13/ Gage Skidmore // Wikicommons

    #39. Matt Stone (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Matt Stone is the other half of the “South Park” creator duo. Like his partner Trey Parker, Stone is a renaissance man who can do just about anything: write, direct, sing, write songs, do voice overs, and create musicals. He continues to work on “South Park” and his production studio Important Studio’s projects.

  • #38. Matt Groening (tie)
    14/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #38. Matt Groening (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Matt Groening is the creator of “The Simpsons,” the longest-running primetime television series ever, as well as “Futurama.” His new animated sitcom, “Disenchanted,” will be released on Netflix this August.

  • #37. Kathy Ireland (tie)
    15/ Slaven Vlasic // Getty Images

    #37. Kathy Ireland (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Sports Illustrated supermodel Kathy Ireland is also a savvy businesswoman with a gigantic lifestyle company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide. KIW boasts annual merchandise sales of more than $2 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.

  • #36. Gloria Estefan (tie)
    16/ State Department // Flickr

    #36. Gloria Estefan (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Gloria Estefan rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with upbeat pop hits like, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and “Get on Your Feet.” The Cuban-American singer is still staying busy; Estefan will soon guest star on Netfix’s comedy “One Day at a Time.”

  • #35. George Clooney (tie)
    17/ Michael Vlasaty // Wikicommons

    #35. George Clooney (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    George Clooney charmed television audiences as the handsome Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama “ER” before stealing moviegoers’ hearts in “Ocean’s Eleven” and other hit films. Known today also as Amal Clooney’s husband, Clooney continues to act and direct; he received the AFI Life Achievement Award earlier this year.

  • #34. Elton John (tie)
    18/ Ernst Vikne // Wikicommons

    #34. Elton John (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    From “Rocket Man” to "The Lion King" theme song, Sir Elton John’s musical career spans five decades and many genres. For those who would like to see him in concert, make plans to do so soon; early this year, he announced a three-year farewell tour.

  • #33. Dolly Parton (tie)
    19/ pipilongstockings // Flickr

    #33. Dolly Parton (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Country music singer and songwriter Dolly Parton has composed more than 3,000 songs, including “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.” At 72, she’s still making music; Patron collaborated with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus on her album “Younger Now.”

  • #32. Beyoncé
    20/ Noemi Nuñez // Wikicommons

    #32. Beyoncé

    Estimated net worth: $500 million via

    Once the frontwoman of the 1990s R&B group Destiny’s Child, Beyonce is now known best as a solo artist, lending her voice to hits ranging from “Crazy in Love” to J Balvin’s “Mi Gente.” In June, she released “Everything is Love,” a joint studio album with her husband Jay-Z.

  • #31. Mariah Carey
    21/ Pexels

    #31. Mariah Carey

    Estimated net worth: $520 million via

    Mariah Carey wowed the world with her five-octave range when she released her self-titled debut album in 1990. This year, she’ll tour Asia and Oceania with her The Number Ones tour. A Starz drama about Carey’s early life—with Carey as co-executive producer—is in the works.

  • #30. Simon Cowell (tie)
    22/ Alison Martin // Wikicommons

    #30. Simon Cowell (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $550 million via

    America knows Simon Cowell best as the acerbic judge on “American Idol,” “The X Factor,” and “America’s Got Talent,” but he also signed boy band One Direction, bringing them under the limelight. Cowell still judges on the U.K. version of “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent”—and is involved with other reality TV shows to boot.

  • #29. Rush Limbaugh (tie)
    23/ Progress Missouri // Flickr

    #29. Rush Limbaugh (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $550 million via

    The conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh is hated by many and beloved by his coterie of fierce fans. “The Rush Limbaugh Show” has been going strong since 1988—and will continue on at least until 2020, when his current contract runs out.

  • #28. Tom Cruise
    24/ Dick Thomas Johnson // Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Japan Premiere Red Carpet: Tom Cruise

    #28. Tom Cruise

    Estimated net worth: $570 million via

    Tom Cruise is the face of blockbuster hits from the “Mission: Impossible” series to feel-good movies like “Jerry Maguire.” Tom Cruise has also drawn attention for his ties to Scientology and his odd marriage-and-divorce patterns.

  • #27. Yoko Ono (tie)
    25/ Eva Rinaldi // 'War Is Over! (if you want it) Yoko Ono' exhibition - Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

    #27. Yoko Ono (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $600 million via

    Though still best known as the widow of The Beatles’ John Lennon, Yoko Ono is a musician and artist in her own right. Today, Ono is still making art and music at the ripe age of 85. She’s active on Twitter and Instagram, often posting messages of peace.

  • #26. Tyler Perry (tie)
    26/ Sgt. Michael Connors - 302nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment //

    #26. Tyler Perry (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $600 million via

    An actor, writer, director, and producer, Tyler Perry is another person on this list who seems to be able to do it all. He has made popular, high-grossing films like “Madea Goes to Jail” and has also developed popular television series, including “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”

  • #25. Shah Rukh Khan (tie)
    27/ Thore Siebrands // WIkicommons

    #25. Shah Rukh Khan (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $600 million via

    Dubbed the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan is an Indian actor best known in India. However, The New York Times reports he’s got a growing number of fans in France and China. He continues to make hit Indian films, and stars in “Zero,” a romantic drama that’ll be released this December.

  • #24. Jimmy Buffett (tie)
    28/ Seaman Justin Losack // Navy Visual News Service

    #24. Jimmy Buffett (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $600 million via

    With more than 30 albums to his name, Jimmy Buffett is best known as a musician. But the “Margaritaville” singer has also authored three bestsellers and owns a couple of restaurant chains—including the Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville casual eateries.

  • #23. Howard Stern (tie)
    29/ Bill Norton // Flickr

    #23. Howard Stern (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $600 million via

    The controversial radio talk show personality Howard Stern has been hosting “The Howard Stern Show” since 1986. Despite fines from the Federal Communications Commission for indecency over the years, Stern’s show, now on SiriusXM, is still going strong.

  • #22. Candy Spelling (tie)
    30/ Candy Spelling // Wikicommons

    #22. Candy Spelling (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $600 million via

    Candy Spelling wrote a memoir that became a New York Times bestseller, but she’s still better known as television mogul Aaron Spelling’s widow. Today she mostly makes entertainment news about her finicky relationship with her daughter, former “90210” star Tori Spelling.

  • #21. James Cameron (tie)
    31/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #21. James Cameron (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $700 million via

    James Cameron’s name is synonymous with blockbuster films; “Terminator,” “Avatar,” and “Titanic” are all his directorial works. Cameron has branched out into television after AMC aired the six-part series, "James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction," earlier this year.

  • #20. Bono (tie)
    32/ Pixabay

    #20. Bono (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $700 million via

    U2 frontman Bono is still known for his music, but has also made a name for himself as a philanthropist, advocating for human rights, third-world debt relief, and other causes. He has often tried to merge business ventures with ethical ones, although not all of those efforts have been successful. For example, his ethical clothing brand Edun announced in June that it was shutting down U.S. operations.

  • #19. James Patterson
    33/ Blaues Sofa // Flickr: James Patterson im Gespräch mit Christhard Läpple

    #19. James Patterson

    Estimated net worth: $750 million via

    The best-selling writer of many thriller paperbacks, James Patterson placed second on Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid authors last year, edged out only by J.K. Rowling. Patterson might end up on top again soon though; his latest novel, “The President Is Missing,” co-written with none other than former President Bill Clinton, has been getting rave reviews.

  • #18. Madonna (tie)
    34/ Pascal Mannaerts // Wikicommons

    #18. Madonna (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $800 million via

    “Material Girl” Madonna has been an iconic name and face in pop music since the 1980s. Madonna has hinted that she’s working on her 14th studio album, though details are still sparse.

  • #17. Jim Davis (tie)
    35/ Vince Bucci // Getty Images

    #17. Jim Davis (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $800 million via

    ”Garfield” creator Jim Davis not only drew and wrote the syndicated comic strips, but also wrote, co-wrote, and produced many of the television programs inspired by his feline character. He runs a licensing business called Paws, Inc., which brings in $800 million to $1 billion a year.

  • #16. Dr. Dre (tie)
    36/ PROJason Persse // Flickr

    #16. Dr. Dre (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $800 million via

    Dr. Dre made his name as a rapper, and his rise to fame with N.W.A. has been memorialized in the film “Straight Outta Compton.” Today, he’s also widely known as the man behind the celebrity-endorsed headphone company, Beats.

  • #15. Celine Dion (tie)
    37/ marcen27 // Flickr

    #15. Celine Dion (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $800 million via

    Love or hate “My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion has one of the most recognizable voices in the world. Dion is still belting out power ballads; she recorded “Ashes” for the “Deadpool 2” soundtrack earlier this year.

  • #14. Sean Combs
    38/ Richard Burdett // Wikicommons

    #14. Sean Combs

    Estimated net worth: $825 million via

    The world came to know Sean Combs as Puff Daddy when his debut single “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” topped the charts in 1991. The rapper and music producer then changed his name three more times to P. Diddy, then Diddy, and then Love—though his Twitter handle remains @Diddy. He continues to make music and run his clothing line, Sean John.

  • #13. Herb Alpert
    39/ Rob Miermet (ANEFO) // Wikicommons

    #13. Herb Alpert

    Estimated net worth: $850 million via

    Jazz musician Herb Alpert is best known as the leader and trumpet player of Tijuana Brass, but his other claim to fame is for co-founding A&M Records, which was acquired by PolyGram in 1989. His foundation gives out $75,000 to artists each year.

  • #12. Jacqueline Gold
    40/ Egghead06 // Wikicommons

    #12. Jacqueline Gold

    Estimated net worth: $860 million via

    Jacqueline Gold started working for her father at his lingerie and sex toy company Ann Summers when she was just 21 years old. Today, she’s the CEO and the 16th richest woman in the UK. She has appeared on reality tv shows such as The Apprentice.

  • #11. Jay-Z
    41/ Joella Marano // Wikicommons

    #11. Jay-Z

    Estimated net worth: $900 million via

    Rapper and record producer Jay-Z came to fame in the 1990s with his debut album “Reasonable Doubt,” and he continues to make hits as evidenced by his latest collaborative album with his wife Beyonce. Jay-Z’s business ventures include the Rocawear clothing line and the 40/40 Club sports bar.

  • #10. Jerry Seinfeld
    42/ Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld—David Shankbone // Wikicommons

    #10. Jerry Seinfeld

    Estimated net worth: $920 million via

    Jerry Seinfeld’s eponymous sitcom “Seinfeld” aired its last episode in 1998, but his wildly successful and memorable television show lives on in reruns, catchphrases, and the public consciousness. Today Seinfeld hosts “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” a web series he created.

  • #9. David Copperfield
    43/ Homer Liwag // Wikicommons

    #9. David Copperfield

    Estimated net worth: $930 million via

    David Copperfield is the world’s most successful magician, having sold more tickets than any solo entertainer in history, according to Forbes. The holder of 11 Guinness World Records, Copperfield continues to perform his illusions for rapt audiences.

  • #8. J.K. Rowling (tie)
    44/ Daniel Ogren // Flickr

    #8. J.K. Rowling (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $1 billion via

    J.K. Rowling was once an impoverished single mom writing fiction on the fly. Then she wrote the “Harry Potter” series and became the world’s first billionaire author. She continues to write, though these days mostly for adults; her latest book, “Lethal White,” is a crime fiction book written under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.

  • #7. Brock Pierce (tie)
    45/ Sebastiaan ter Burg // Wikicommons

    #7. Brock Pierce (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $1 billion via

    Audiences first got to know Brock Pierce as a child actor in the 1992 Disney film “The Mighty Ducks.” But Pierce quit acting when he was just 17 to enter the business world. However, allegations of sexual misconduct have followed him through his business ventures. Pierce stepped down from his chief strategy officer role at cryptocurrency company earlier this year.

  • #6. Slavica Ecclestone (tie)
    46/ Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone (right) in 1991—uppure // Wikicommons

    #6. Slavica Ecclestone (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $1.2 billion via

    Former model Slavica Ecclestone is better-known as the former wife of Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone. The two divorced in 2009, resulting in one of the highest divorce settlements in history. Slavica Ecclestone owns numerous properties, including Circuit Paul Ricard.

  • #5. Paul McCartney (tie)
    47/ Jimmy Baikovicius // Flickr

    #5. Paul McCartney (tie)

    Estimated net worth: $1.2 billion via

    The former Beatle Paul McCartney is one of the richest musicians in the world today. The 76-year-old continues to make music; he will release a new studio album called “Egypt Station” this September.

  • #4. Jami Gertz
    48/ Jeremiah Garcia // Wikicommons

    #4. Jami Gertz

    Estimated net worth: $2 billion via

    “The Lost Boys” actress Jami Gertz has had a long career in television and film, lately starring in the NBC sitcom “The Neighbors.” Her husband Tony Ressler, founder of several private equity firms, is the principal owner of the Atlanta Hawks; Gertz represented the team at the NBA lottery in May.

  • #3. Oprah Winfrey
    49/ Bill Ebbesen // Wikicommons

    #3. Oprah Winfrey

    Estimated net worth: $3.2 billion via

    “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ran from 1986 to 2011, making Oprah one of the most famous women in America—and one of the wealthiest, too. She launched her own channel, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011, and keeps busy running her media empire, doing cameos on TV shows, and touring museum exhibits about—herself.

  • #2. Steven Spielberg
    50/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #2. Steven Spielberg

    Estimated net worth: $3.7 billion via

    Famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg has wowed young and adult audiences alike with hits like “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Schindler’s List.” He is reportedly committed to making a fifth "Indiana Jones" film, although it’s unclear when that movie will hit the big screen.

  • #1. George Lucas
    51/ Joi Ito // Flickr

    #1. George Lucas

    Estimated net worth: $5.1 billion via

    The creative force behind the “Star Wars” series, George Lucas has created many films through his production company Lucasfilm, which he sold to Disney in 2011. Though he announced his retirement from creating blockbusters in 2012, he still acts as a creative consultant on the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy and continues to work on personal film projects.

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