Believe it or not, there are TWELVE celebrity billionaires in the world today.
Before we dive into this list of the top 20-richest celebrities, a quick clarification/point of consideration –
We very recently published a list of the richest athletes in the world. With a net worth of $2.2 billion, Michael Jordan took the crown. Should Michael Jordan ALSO be considered a “celebrity?” We ended up deciding YES. He and one other athlete is included on this list for two reasons:
1) They both earned the vast, vast, vast majority of their fortunes outside of their respective sports, and
2) They are both arguably both more famous over the last decade for their non-athletic accomplishments.
So let’s get down to business. Below is our list of words richest celebrities.
20. Tiger Woods Net Worth: $800 million
Like Michael Jordan, listed later in this article, we debated whether or not to include Tiger Woods on a list of the world’s richest celebrities. In the end, we decided they both deserve inclusion because:
A) they are celebrities, and
B) even though they are athletes, they both earned 90% of their fortune outside of their respective sports.
Tiger has earned well over a billion dollars during his career from endorsements. And even though he has had some injury and personal life setbacks in recent years, he’s still swinging on the golf course.
As of this article, Tiger Woods’ net worth is $800 million.
19. Jim Davis Net Worth: $800 million
Creator of “Garfield,” one of the most beloved comic strips of all time, Jim Davis is a cartoonist with a net worth of $800 million. Davis’s “Garfield” comics have been published since 1978, and have been the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip. That led to a number of spin-offs, including a television series from Garfield and multiple movies. In addition to making cartoons, Davis’ charitable activities include promoting literacy for children.
18. James Patterson Net Worth: $800 million
James Patterson is an American novelist worth an estimated $800 million. Few other authors have had as many successful books as Patterson, owed primarily to their fast-moving plots and a publishing schedule that sees multiple books released every year. Since the release of his first book in 1976, he has released 95 novels, many of which have topped a number of bestseller lists. In recent years, Patterson has taken to co-writing with a number of other authors, allowing him to produce more novels and further expand his publishing fortune.
17. Celine Dion Net Worth: $800 million
Celine Dion Net Worth is $800 million
Celine Dion is a Canadian singer with a net worth of around $800 million. Dion gained recognition in her native Quebec at an early age, releasing nine albums in French before she turned 18. International success followed during the 90s, culminating in the Titanic soundtrack ‘s international smash hit, “My Heart Will Go On.” Followed residencies in Las Vegas, which became some of the city’s most sought-after tickets and managed to gain millions of dollars from ticket sales.
16. Dr. Dre Net Worth: $820 million
Dr. Dre is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and producer who has amassed a net worth of around $820 million. Rising to prominence during the early days of the West Coast hip-hop scene, Dr. Dre was an integral part of the influential rap group N.W.A. After splitting with the group, he began his own successful solo career and co-founded Death Row Records and later Aftermath Entertainment. However, the bulk of his wealth came from the sale of headphones and music subscription service Beats to Apple, earning roughly $500 million from the deal.
15. Madonna Net Worth: $850 million
Madonna is a singer and actress with a net worth of around $850 million. Rising to prominence in the early 80s, Madonna’s boundary-pushing personality kept her at the top of the charts through the 90s and 2000s. Along with her music, she has made an impact at the box office as well. Her film roles include “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “A League of Their Own,” and “Evita,” the latter winning her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Madonna continues to release music and is still a top-earning live act.
14. Herb Alpert Net Worth: $850 million
Herb Alpert is an American musician and entrepreneur with a net worth valued at $850 million. He is primarily known for his incredibly successful recording career with Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, a group that has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Most of Alpert ‘s fortune, however, came from the creation and eventual sale of A&M Records record label. A roster of wildly successful artists spawned the label and spawned several top hits. The sale to Alpert and its business partner, Jerry Moss, raised hundreds of millions of dollars.
13. P Diddy Net Worth: $885 million
Born Sean Combs, P Diddy is a rapper, entrepreneur, and designer whose net worth stands around $885 million. After getting fired from an internship at a New York record label, Combs set up his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment. One of the label’s first successful artists was The Notorious B.I.G., though they would go on to work with a number of top artists of the era. Along with his label, Combs has been a popular recording artist himself, earning a number of hits and selling millions of albums. His business interests have also furthered his wealth, including the creation of clothing label “Sean Jean” and vodka brand Ciroc.
12. Jerry Seinfeld Net Worth: $950 million
Jerry Seinfeld is an actor, writer, and comedian known for creating one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld began his career in comedy soon after college, working relentlessly to build up a fan base and further his career. In 1981, a successful appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show bolstered his image and led to a number of other late night performances. However, it was the creation of Seinfeld alongside co-creator Larry David that led to Seinfeld’s biggest success. Even after the show’s heyday, it continues to yield healthy returns for both Seinfeld and David.
11. JK Rowling Net Worth: $1 billion
JK Rowling is an author, screenwriter, and philanthropist who is best known for creating the Harry Potter series. As a single mother emerging from poverty, JK Rowling has since accrued one of history’s greatest literary fortunes. The Harry Potter book series she created was nothing short of a global phenomenon that spawned theme park attractions, movies, and a spin-off franchise. Documented to have contributed at least $150 million to date, she is known for her charitable donations.
10. Jay-Z Net Worth: $1 billion
Jay-Z is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and music mogul with an estimated net worth of $1 billion. Born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn, New York, Jay-Z rose from his drug-dealing past to establish himself as one of the biggest rappers of the era, selling more than 100 million records. Jay-Z also co-founded the record label Roc-A-Fella Records, a successful company that was eventually nested under Def Jam Records. Through a series of smart business decisions, Jay-Z has managed to retain rights to his music, a major factor in his continually growing net worth. In 2008, he married singer Beyonce. The couple has a combined estimated net worth of $1.4 billion.
9. David Copperfield Net Worth: $1 billion
David Copperfield, born David Seth Kotkin, took on notoriety as America’s top illusionist. Gaining fame for tricks such as making the Statue of Liberty vanish and passing through China’s Great Wall, Copperfield ‘s televised illusions and stage shows have captivated millions of viewers and earned him a variety of awards. Copperfield also holds a collection of some reported rare magic memorabilia worth as much as $500million.
8. Paul McCartney Net Worth: $1.2 billion
Paul McCartney, writer of some of the world’s most popular songs, has achieved success as a founding member of The Beatles and a successful solo artist. One half of Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting team, his contributions to the success of The Beatles have inspired many of their most famous songs. Also after The Beatles split up in 1970, McCartney managed to dominate hit singles and worldwide tours in the music charts.
7. Michael Jordan Net Worth: $2.2 billion
Michael Jordan’s $2.2 billion net worth makes him the richest athlete in the world. Despite being the greatest basketball player ever, he did not actually earn that much money from NBA salaries. In total he earned around $94 million in NBA salaries. So how did he earn his fortune? Two ways: 1) To date, Michael has earned more than $1.6 billion from endorsements, most notably from Nike and Gatorade. The remainder of his net worth came thanks to a savvy investment in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. He is the majority owner, buying in for the first time in 2006 at a rock bottom price. In 2019 he sold a 20% stake in the team to a group of investors at a valuation of $1.5 billion.
As of this article, Michael Jordan’s net worth is $2.2 billion.
6. Jami Gertz Net Worth: $3 billion
Jami Gertz is an actress, philanthropist, and sports team owner who is worth around $3 billion. The bulk of Gertz’s worth came about due to her marriage to billionaire Tony Ressler, the co-founder of Ares Management. Gertz and Ressler have ownership stakes in the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Brewers. While still an actor, Gertz is also an avid donor to a number of charitable causes, often topping lists of top celebrity donors.
5. Donald Trump Net Worth: $3.1 billion
We debated whether or not Donald Trump belonged on a list of the richest celebrities. Before becoming President, he was both a businessman and a celebrity. The two identities were intertwined. He was famous for being a businessman and he made a very successful business thanks largely to his fame. Then he became a politician. It was a conundrum. But I would still argue that even after becoming President, Donald is more associated as a celebrity than anything else.
4. Kanye West Net Worth: $3.2 billion
During his career to date Kanye West has earned “only” around $400 million during his career from his music career (touring, record sales, merchandise). He became a billionaire officially in 2020 thanks to the explosive success if the Yeezy clothing brand. In 2019 Yeezy generated $1.5 billion in revenue, earning Kanye a $154 million royalty payment. In 2020, even with the Covid crisis, the brand is on pace to generate $1.7 billion. Between 2020 and 2026, Kanye is projected to personally earn $2.2 billion in royalties alone off Yeezy. Here’s the major difference between Yeezy and the Jordan shoe brand – Imagine if in 2026 Michael Jordan PERSONALLY owned 100% of his shoe brand? That’s the deal Kanye could potentially pursue in the future. He owns 100% of Yeezy.
As of April 2020, Kanye West’s net worth is $3.2 billion.
3. Oprah Winfrey Net Worth: $3.5 billion
Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul, entrepreneur, and philanthropist whose net worth is around $3.5 million. Coming from humble beginnings, Oprah rose to prominence with The Oprah Winfrey Show, building it up into one of the most successful talk shows in the country and making her one of the most influential women in the world. Through her Harpo production company, Oprah managed to build her wealth and branch out into a number of other areas, including film, publishing, and the creation of a television network.
Oprah’s net worth is $3.5 billion.
2. Steven Spielberg Net Worth: $3.7 billion
Steven Spielberg is a director, screenwriter, and producer known for essentially creating the concept of the Hollywood blockbuster. An avid fan of film from a young age, Spielberg shot to fame with the release of the film Jaws in 1975. More hits followed, including the Indiana Jones franchise, E.T., and Jurassic Park. His wealth is a direct product of this success, as well as his roles as a producer on a number of other massively popular films, including The Goonies, Gremlins, and the Back to the Future franchise.
Steven Spielberg’s net worth is $3.7 billion.
1. George Lucas Net Worth: $6.5 billion
Creator of some of the most successful film franchises in history, George Lucas is a director, film producer, and writer with a net worth of around $6.5 billion. He is known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and has produced a number of other hit movies over the years, including Body Heat, Labyrinth, and Willow. Though already worth a great amount due to his previous franchises and some smart business decisions early in his career, Lucas earned a whopping $4.1 billion from the sale of Star Wars to Disney in 2012, easily cementing his legacy as one of the most successful filmmakers of all time.
As of this article, George Lucas’ net worth is $6.5 billion.
So what’s the lesson here? I think the biggest takeaway is we all should have gone to film school to be a director! Congrats to George Lucas. It’s fairly stunning to think just how much money he made off this one film franchise. And I bet he doesn’t even like Star Wars that much anymore. Do you think he’s seen the new movies and shows? Probably not.
Another major takeaway after looking at the top 12 richest celebrities (all of whom happen to be billionaires) – Clearly it pays to own something. To earn an enormous fortune you can’t just be a highly paid employee. You need to build something that you yourself own, so someday you can sell that thing for billions of dollars.
What are you gonna build to earn your billion dollar fortune???
With a net worth of $6.5 billion, George Lucas is the richest celebrity in the world 2020. His good buddy Steven Spielberg clocks in at #2 with a net worth of $3.7 billion. Oprah rounds out the top three with $3.5 billion.
Kanye West rockets to #4 with a net worth of $3.2 billion. That’s the power of Yeezy!