Forbes has published its annual list of America's wealthiest celebrities, and "Star Wars creator George Lucas leads this year's ranking of America's richest celebrities with a net worth of $5.4 billion thanks largely to the fortune he pocketed when his Lucasfilm production company sold to Disney for $4.1 billion in 2012."
Lucas ranks higher than filmmaker Steven Spielberg (No. 2; $3.7 billion) and media mogul Oprah (No. 3; $2.8 billion). Michael Jordan (No. 4; $1.7 billion) has been steadily climbing the list with a $400 million net worth increase derived from his sneaker empire and a 90% stake in the Charlotte Hornets.
Forbes says America's ten wealthiest celebrities hold a combined wealth of $18.7 billion, more than the GDP of Iceland. On a year-over-year basis, the net worths of the most powerful celebrities collectively jumped 4% from 2017's $18 billion.
The new addition for 2018 was Kylie Jenner, whose $900 million net worth places her on course to become the youngest billionaire ever. The millennial operates Kylie Cosmetics, "which has shifted more than $630 million in makeup since its launch two years ago by targeting her 168 million-plus social media followers," said Forbes.
"Social media is an amazing platform," Jenner says of the medium that granted her success. "I have such easy access to my fans and my customers."
The largest wealth increase among existing listees is Jay-Z ($900 million), who ties with Jenner for the fifth spot. His net worth jumped $90 million from last year's figures after his investment stakes in businesses including Armand de Brignac champagne and D'Ussé cognac, and holdings in his entertainment empire Roc Nation and streaming service Tidal, have exploded in value.
"That was the greatest trick in music that people ever pulled off, to convince artists that you can't be an artist and make money," Jay-Z told Forbes in 2010, foreshadowing the success of his ancillary businesses. "When you're in the studio, you're an artist, you make music, and then after you finish, you market it to the world. I don't think anything is wrong with that. In fact, I know there's nothing wrong with that."
The list is comprised only of celebrities who are American citizens, and only people who have become wealthy thanks to their fame.
"This list uses net worth earnings previously published for the Forbes 400, Billionaires list and ranking of America's Richest Self-Made Women. Celebrities not on those lists were valued through private company stakes and publicly traded assets. Real estate, art and other assets were also factored in where applicable. For entertainers without such holdings, we based estimates on net lifetime earnings after taxes and spending. Eligibility was limited to American citizens who’ve gotten rich off their fame, rather than become famous for their wealth," Forbes explained.
Here is the full list of America's Wealthiest Celebrities 2018:
1. George Lucas
Net worth: $5.4 billion
2. Steven Spielberg
3. Oprah Winfrey
4. Michael Jordan
5. (tie) Kylie Jenner
5. (tie) Jay-Z
7. David Copperfield
9. (tie) Tiger Woods
9. (tie) James Patterson