- Rapper and fashion designer Kanye West is Hollywood’s newest billionaire.
- Forbes inducted West into the three-comma club on April 24.
- Film directors and television personalities dominate the list of Tinseltown’s wealthiest – but it doesn’t contain anyone who has built a career solely off acting.
- Many of Hollywood’s billionaires, including Jay-Z, made their fortunes from business ventures.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A lot of Hollywood entertainers are extremely wealthy – but fewer than you might think are actually billionaires.
What sets these six billionaire entertainers and studio executives apart from their peers is not only that they excelled in the industry, but that they leveraged their success to make investments that provide significant income beyond their salaries.
Hollywood’s billionaires’ club may not stay small for long, however, as more and more stars launch their own clothing and beauty lines. Three celebrities – Kylie Jenner, Jay-Z, and Kanye West – became billionaires in the past two years alone.
Keep reading for a closer look at how six Hollywood celebrities who are also billionaires built their fortunes.
Kanye West is Hollywood’s newest billionaire, although his exact net worth is disputed.
West, 42, may have made a lot of money from his hit albums, but it’s streetwear brand Yeezy that made him a billionaire, Forbes reports. Forbes estimates that West is worth $US1.3 billion. Meanwhile, West claims that he is worth $US3.3 billion.
According to Forbes, West’s fortune is divided between a $US1.26 billion stake in athletic wear brand Yeezy, $US17 million in cash, $US35 million in stocks, $US21 million in real estate, $US3,845,162 worth of vehicles, $US297,050 of livestock, and $US53 million in debt shared with his wife, Kim Kardashian West.
Social media star turned beauty magnate Kylie Jenner is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, with a net worth of $US1 billion.
Jenner made headlines in March 2019 after Forbes declared her the youngest self-made billionaire ever at 21. Most of Jenner’s wealth comes from her beauty company, Kylie Cosmetics, which is valued at $US1.2 billion after CoverGirl parent Coty Inc. agreed to acquire a majority stake, Business Insider’s Dominic-Madori Davis reported in November.
Jenner, now 22, began appearing on her family’s reality television show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” at age 10 and has since built a massive social media following so influential that shares of Snap fell 7% after she tweeted that she had stopped using the app in 2018.
Jay-Z’s investments have made him the world’s first billionaire rapper, with a net worth of $US1 billion.
Jay-Z, 50, pocketed approximately $US500 million from his 14 No. 1 albums before taxes, but a large portion of his wealth comes from his business ventures, according to Forbes. He founded a clothing line that he sold to Iconix for $US204 million in 2007 and co-owns cognac brand D’Ussé, in addition to owning music streaming service Tidal.
Jay-Z bought Tidal for $US56 million in 2015. In 2017, Sprint bought a 33% stake in the company for $US200 million, which put the company’s valuation at $US600 million. Jay-Z’s stake in the company is now worth $US100 million, Forbes reports.
Jay-Z also has a private art collection worth $US70 million, a stake in Uber worth $US70 million, and he owns $US50 million in real estate, according to Forbes.
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is worth $US2.6 billion.
Born to a single mother in rural Mississippi, Winfrey started out as a news anchor before spending 25 years hosting “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The investments Winfrey made with her share of the show’s profits are now worth about $US2 billion, Forbes estimates. She became a billionaire in 2003, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Winfrey, now 66, leveraged her show’s success to build a media empire and amassed a fortune of $US2.6 billion in the process, according to Forbes. She owns 25.5% of her television network OWN, an 8% stake in WW International, and has a content creation deal with Apple TV+.
Oprah has also voiced characters in “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Bee Movie,” and “The Princess and the Frog,” in addition to starring in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Selma,” among others, according to The Oprah Magazine.
Three-time Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg is worth $US3.6 billion, according to Forbes.
The box office success of “Jaws,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” and “Jurassic Park,” among others, have made Spielberg the top-grossing director of all time.
According to Forbes, most of Spielberg’s fortune comes from his films, but he has also profited from his role as a consultant for Universal theme parks and the sale of DreamWorks Animation to NBCUniversal for $US3.8 billion in 2016.
Spielberg, 73, co-founded DreamWorks Pictures alongside Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. While Forbes estimates that he’s worth $US3.6 billion, Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index puts his net worth much higher, at $US6.15 billion.
George Lucas, the creator of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, is worth $US5.2 billion, Forbes reports.
Lucas, 75, may be the brains behind two of the most well-known film franchises of our time, but he made most of his money by selling his production studio Lucasfilm to Disney for $US4.05 billion in cash and stock in 2012, according to Bloomberg.
While Forbes estimates that Lucas is worth $US5.2 billion, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts his net worth slightly higher, at $US6.76 billion.
Lucas also executive produced “The Land Before Time” and wrote “American Graffiti,” according to IMDb. His highest-grossing film, “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” brought in $US474 million at the box office.
While Lucas originally aspired to be a racecar driver, he decided to pursue filmmaking after nearly dying in a car crash. Lucas studied filmmaking at USC before founding Lucasfilm, according to the university’s website. Lucas retired from his studio in 2012 in order to turn his attention to independent films, according to The New York Times.
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