About money and money-makers...

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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 (ddraghic@sprint.ca), September 09, 1998

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