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Thursday, March 11, 1999 Published at 12:29 GMT


Seinfeld tops rich list

Jerry Seinfeld (right) and his co-stars (courtesy of NBC)

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is the world's top earning entertainer, according to US business magazine Forbes.

Seinfeld and his collaborator Larry David beat film-maker Steven Spielberg into third position thanks to the proceeds from the sale of syndication rights to Seinfeld, which ended in the US in May 1998.

The duo earned $267m and $242m respectively from the $1.7bn sale, although they may not see the bulk of their money for some years to come.

[ image: Steven Spielberg: Third in the list]
Steven Spielberg: Third in the list
Forbes' estimates are based on interviews with lawyers, managers, agents, executives and experts, counting pre-tax gross income when it is earned, not when it is paid.

Seinfeld's observational style has made him one of the most imitated comedians in the US.

He made his name on the stand-up circuit before making regular appearances on TV. He gained his own sitcom in 1990, and by 1993 it had become a hit with critics and fans. Last year the 44-year-old cancelled his series, turning down reported offers of $5m per episode from NBC.

Steven Spielberg is third with $175m, while talk show host and star of the film Beloved Oprah Winfrey is fourth with $125m.

Titanic director James Cameron is fifth with $115m.

[ image: Leonardo DiCaprio: His celebrity power means more than his earning power]
Leonardo DiCaprio: His celebrity power means more than his earning power
Music's top earners are the Rolling Stones, who come in 10th with $57m. Hip-hop producer Master P is close behind with $56.5m. The Spice Girls are Britain's other high entry, coming at 21st with $49m.

The magazine also released its first ever Forbes Celebrity 100 list, which uses income and "media buzz" - coverage on TV, radio, magazines and the Internet - to work out a guide to the future earning power of celebrities.

Basketball star Michael Jordan topped this separate list, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Titanic heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio and Seinfeld. Other people in the Celebrity 100's top ten included Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, the Spice Girls, actor Robin Williams, singer Celine Dion and the Rolling Stones.

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