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Friday, 3 March, 2000, 12:32 GMT
Lucas tops star earners
The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace is the third highest earning film of all time
Hollywood director George Lucas has emerged as 1999's highest earning celebrity after his latest Star Wars epic made him $400m (253.4m).

Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace - Lucas's much-anticipated fourth film in the celebrated Sci-Fi series - was an instant worldwide hit when it was released last year.
George Lucas
Lucas is way ahead of his nearest competitor Oprah Winfrey
Globally it has taken a total of $431m (270m) at the box office and stands as the third highest-grossing movie of all time, after Titanic and the first Star Wars film.

As a result of the film's success, Lucas not only made $400m but also stormed ahead of superstar Oprah Winfrey, whose chat show and other ventures brought her $150m (95m).

Lucas also made 50% more than last year's winner Jerry Seinfeld. The comedian earned $267m (169m) in 1998 - the final year of his hit show - but failed to figure this time around.
Top 10 star earners
George Lucas - $400m (253.4m)
Oprah Winfrey - $150m (95m)
Giorgio Armani - $135m (85.5m)
David Kelley - $118m (74.7m)
Tom Hanks - $71.5m (45.3m)
Tom Clancy - $66m (41.8m)
Stephen King - $65m (41m)
Backstreet Boys - $60m (38m)
Steven Spielberg - $60m (38m)
Bruce Willis - $54.5m (34.5m)
The findings come from the business magazine Forbes where analysts calculate and rank the annual earnings of the world's top 100 stars.

In at third place came Italian fashion guru Giorgio Armani with earnings of $135m (85.5m). He was followed by Ally McBeal creator David Kelley with $118m (74.7m).

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks - currently starring in The Green Mile - ranked fifth with $71.5m (45m).

Lower down came a mix of film, pop and literary talent with horror writer Stephen King at seven with $65m (41m).
Backstreet Boys
US group Backstreet Boys enjoy global success
US group Backstreet Boys came close behind wth $60m and The Sixth Sense star Bruce Willis closed the top 10 at $54.5m (34.5m).

Further on and the profile of celebrities changed with more sportsmen and writers featured.

Golf pro Tiger Woods ranked 17th with $47m (29.7m) and racing driver Dale Earnhardt was 39th with $26.5m (16.8m).

Potter fortune

And staking her claim at 24th came British author JK Rowling with $40m (25m), whose third book in her phenomenonly successful Harry Potter series was released last year.

Rowling was the highest-earning individual Briton, but rock veterans The Rolling Stones were highest-ranking UK mention at number 11 with $50m (31.7m).
JK Rowling
JK Rowling's Harry Potter triolgy is an international best-seller
Forbes created estimates based on figures compiled from interviews with lawyers, managers, agents, executives and entertainment insiders.

It counted pre-tax gross income when it was earned, not when the celebrities were paid.

As well as ranking stars by their earnings, Forbes gives a rating for what it calls "media buzz" - a blend of their prominence on the internet, magazine covers, on TV and radio and in newspaper clippings.

In this list Notting Hill star Julia Roberts ranked highest. George Lucas and Oprah Winfrey came second and third while movie director Steven Spielberg trailed at 10th.

See also:

21 May 99 | Entertainment
Star Wars breaks box office record
15 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Razzies finger film flops
04 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Harry Potter's Whitbread revenge
03 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Oprah gives TV girl power
13 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Double top for Hanks
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