The highest-paid guy in entertainment? Not who you might think

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2012

Think about men who earn big bucks in the entertainment industry for a second. Who comes to mind? Tom Cruise? Johnny Depp? Will Smith? Samuel L. Jackson? Well, while none of those guys are clipping coupons, they're not among the entertainment world's highest earners.

The guys who are, according to Forbes Magazine, might surprise you.

Though actors are always the guys who get the most attention in the entertainment world, and their $20-million-per-picture deals always make news, only two actors made Forbes' list of the entertainment world's top male earners between May 2010 and May 2011. And of those two, one of them earns most of his cash as a director and producer.

Topping the list is Tyler Perry, who cleared a cool $130 million over the past year. This is all thanks to the five movies and two TV shows he cranked out over the last two years. Perry's work is popular, but it's the volume of it that puts him on top of the list. It might be surprising, but if you're going to be famous for dressing up like a large black woman named Madea, you're probably determined to earn as much cash as possible.

The only other actor on the list is Leonardo DiCaprio, who comes in eighth on the list with $77 million, largely thanks to the success of Shutter Island and the mega-success of Inception.

Near the top of the list, right beneath Perry in the second and third slots, respectively, are two names you actually might have been able to predict. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer earned $113 million over the past year, thanks largely to the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (hey, if we keep buying tickets, he'll keep making sequels) and the unshakeable presence of CSI and its assorted spinoffs on television. In third is Steven Spielberg, with $107 million (and we can just assume that he earned that because his name is Steven Spielberg, and at this point that's enough), who earned most of that cash as a producer on flicks like Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Super 8.

Rounding out the rest of the list are music legend Elton John ($100 million), professional jerk Simon Cowell ($90 million), novelist James Patterson (who writes or co-writes about 37 books a year, it seems; $84 million), mustache enthusiast Dr. Phil ($80 million), radio icon and part-time superhero (Fart Man) Howard Stern ($76 million) and part-time golfer and full-time endorser Tiger Woods ($75 million).

So, based on movie releases, TV shows and other upcoming entertainment ventures we know about already, who do you think will top this list next year?

(via Forbes)

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