Despite Struggles, Oprah Still Highest-Paid Celebrity

Three filmmakers also make it into top 5, plus ... Dr. Dre?!

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2012 9:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – We all know Oprah Winfrey hasn't been doing quite as well since she ended her iconic talk show to start her own network. But thanks to her massive empire—Harpo Productions, her magazine and radio station, and a number of popular shows she's involved in—she managed to top Forbes' list of the highest-paid celebs for the fourth consecutive year. The magazine estimates she made $165 million between May 2011 and May 2012. But she may not go five-for-five, as Forbes won't add syndication bucks to her tally next year.

The rest of the top five:

  1. Michael Bay, $160 million: The Transformers director has the third film in the franchise to thank—it was panned by critics, but made a bundle at the box office, and he gets a large chunk of the money from related toys, too.
  2. Steven Spielberg, $130 million: Not a surprising entrant, Spielberg made his money from residuals, DreamWorks productions, directing, and Universal Studios amusement park ticket sales.
  3. Jerry Bruckheimer, $115 million: His Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides made more money than any other film in the franchise.
  4. Dr. Dre, $110 million: Forbes calls him "the most surprising celebrity" on the list. He made more money than usual this time around thanks to his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
Click for the full top 20.

Oprah Winfrey arrives for Oprah's Lifeclass Tour in Toronto on Monday April 16, 2012.
Oprah Winfrey arrives for "Oprah's Lifeclass Tour" in Toronto on Monday April 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
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