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"We're starting to think that old saying about how money can't buy happiness is simply a myth perpetuated by the rich so we don't rise against them. Take Jerry Seinfeld, for instance.
The retired NBC sitcom star has seemed to be having a little too much fun since his series ended in May, taking to Broadway, to Yankee Stadium (with some lucky kids in tow), and to a Manhattan car dealership, where he plunked down $138,000 on a new Mercedes. It turns out there's a perfectly good reason for the comedian's giddiness.
Forbes has released its annual ranking of the highest-paid entertainers, and guess who's on top by a mile? Yup, the man who created the show about nothing has earned a whole lot of something, taking No. 1 with a cool $225 million in income.
Seinfeld's closest competition was his co-creator and friend Larry David, who earned $200 million, despite having departed the show two years ago (he came back and penned the finale). Both men are rolling in it thanks to the show's $1.7 billion sale into syndication. According to the magazine, the series is the most successful entertainment property in history.
The ascension of Seinfeld and David left usual suspects such as Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey bringing up the rear, but don't break out the sympathy cards just yet. The Saving Private Ryan director, who topped the list last year, ranked third with $175 million, while Winfrey slipped a spot to fourth with $125 million.
Titanic filmmaker James Cameron took fifth, but the director is likely going to have to share some of his $115 million if his divorce from estranged wife Linda Hamilton goes through. Cameron's Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio was considerably lower on the list, popping up at No. 34 with $37 million.
Home Improvement star Tim Allen, who will earn $1.25 million per episode next seasonexpected to be the ABC sitcom's lasttook home $77 million, while author Michael Crichton earned $65 million.
Harrison Ford, who didn't exactly burn up the box office with his latest, Six Days, Seven Nights, nonetheless took the No. 8 spot with $58 million, which should be enough to enable him to satisfy his new hobbies: flying and driving motorcycles.
The Rolling Stones prove that middle age doesn't mean middle class. The aging rock group scared up $57 million, just enough to beat out the surprise holder of the No. 10 position: No Limit Records mogul Master P, a.k.a. Percy Miller, who rapped his way to $56.5 million.
In order to compile the list, Forbes said it used published material and conducted interviews with managers, agents, attorneys, and executives.
Here are the Top 40 highest paid entertainers, along with their rank on last year's list (NR means they weren't rated last year.)1. 6. Jerry Seinfeld $225 million 2. NR Larry David $200 million 3. 1. Steven Spielberg $175 million 4. 3. Oprah Winfrey $125 million 5. NR James Cameron $115 million 6. 13. Tim Allen $77 million 7. 4. Michael Crichton $65 million 8. 11. Harrison Ford $58 million 9. 12. Rolling Stones $57 million 10. NR Master P $56.5 million 11. 28. Robin Williams $56 million 12. 15. Celine Dion $55.5 million 13. 18 Mel Gibson $55 million 14. 21 Garth Brooks $54 million 15. NR Sean "Puffy" Combs $53.5 million 16. NR Mike Judge $53 million 17. NR Greg Daniels $53 million 18. NR Chris Carter $52 million 19. 7. David Copperfield $49.5 million 20. 32. Spice Girls $49 million 21. NR Paul Reiser $48 million 22. NR Eddie Murphy $47.5 23. 17. John Travolta $47 million 24. NR Drew Carey $45.5 million 25. NR Bonnie/Terry Turner $45 million 26. NR Tom Hanks $44 million 27. NR Danny Jacobson $42 million 28. 35. Kevin Costner $41 million 29. 39. Bright/Kauffman/Crane $40.5 million 30. NR Brad Pitt $40 million 31. 8. Stephen King $40 million 32. NR Nicolas Cage $38.5 million 33. NR Bruce Helford $38 million 34. NR Leonardo DiCaprio $37 million 35. NR John Wells $35 million 36. NR Will Smith $34 million 37. 26. Jim Carrey $32.5 million 38. NR Metallica $32 million 39. NR Helen Hunt $31 million 40. NR Julia Roberts $28 million
-- Dan Draghici (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 09, 1998