Forbes' Top 40 Entertainers
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NEW YORK Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who held out for a million dollars a week and then pulled the plug on his television show, tops Forbes magazine's annual ranking of highest-paid entertainers, earning $225 million this year.

Seinfeld's comedian friend Larry David, with whom he dreamed up the wildly popular show about nothing, was second on the list at $200 million.

Forbes said the television program, about the antics of four New York friends with too much time on their hands, is the most profitable single piece of entertainment in history.

Seinfeld and David knocked perennial big-earners Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey from the top spots on the big-money list. They slipped to third and fourth places, with $175 million and $125 million respectively, followed by newcomer James Cameron, the writer/director/producer of the oceanic blockbuster Titanic.

The Forbes ranking is based on pretax gross income when it is earned, not when it is actually collected. Thus, Forbes noted, "Jerry Seinfeld may have earned $225 million this year by finalizing the syndication sale of his hit sitcom, but it may take a few years to actually arrive.''

The following chart lists the year's top 40 earners, based on income from entertainment work alone.

RANKING 1998 income

1998 1997 STAR in millions

1 6 Jerry Seinfeld 225.0

2 NR Larry David 200.0

3 1 Steven Spielberg 175.0

4 3 Oprah Winfrey 125.0

5 NR James Cameron 115.0

6 13 Tim Allen 77.0

7 4 Michael Crichton 65.0

8 11 Harrison Ford 58.0

9 12 Rolling Stones 57.0

10 NR Master P 56.5

11 28 Robin Williams 56.0

12 15 Celine Dion 55.5

13 18 Mel Gibson 55.0

14 21 Garth Brooks 54.0

15 NR Sean "Puffy'' Combs 53.5

16 NR Mike Judge 53.0

17 NR Greg Daniels 53.0

18 NR Chris Carter 52.0

19 7 David Copperfield 49.5

20 32 Spice Girls 49.0

21 NR Paul Reiser 48.0

22 NR Eddie Murphy 47.5

23 17 John Travolta 47.0

24 NR Drew Carey 45.5

25 NR Bonnie/Terry Turner 45.0

26 NR Tom Hanks 44.0

27 NR Danny Jacobson 42.0

28 35 Kevin Costner 41.0

29 39 Bright/Kauffman/Crane 40.5

30 NR Brad Pitt 40.0

31 8 Stephen King 40.0

32 NR Nicolas Cage 38.5

33 NR Bruce Helford 38.0

34 NR Leonardo DiCaprio 37.0

35 NR John Wells 35.0

36 NR Will Smith 34.0

37 26 Jim Carrey 32.5

38 NR Metallica 32.0

39 NR Helen Hunt 31.0

40 NR Julia Roberts 28.0

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Stacey O - ourstacey@aol.com