Home Careers 40 of the Highest-Paid Celebrities in 2019

40 of the Highest-Paid Celebrities in 2019

Trista August 11, 2019

2019 isn’t over yet, but the top celebrities are raking in the cash! Through endorsements, tours, acting gigs, and other opportunities, the highest-paid celebrities are making serious money. Singers, actors, sports stars and influencers make up the list of the highest-paid celebs of the year. It’s crazy to think of one person earning hundreds of millions of dollars, but it happens. Talent, luck, and hard work have these celebrities making big bucks.

Many of these celebrities have several ways of earning income, leading to high profits. Songwriting and touring are major moneymakers for musicians. Sports stars rake in most of their money from endorsements. Media personalities use their talents to gain an audience and earn money. In the last twelve months, these stars have earned a total of $6.3 billion! Have you ever wondered which entertainers earn the most and how they make their money? Keep reading to learn more about the highest earners of 2019.


Credit: Entertainment Tonight

1. Taylor Swift

As of July 2019, Taylor Swift has earned more than $185 million! This pop star got her start in 2006 on the country music scene and has been a force in the music world ever since. Taylor Swift writes most of her own songs, which helps her earn a lot of money.

Her Reputation Tour in 2018 brought in over $266 million making it the highest-grossing United States tour ever. She signed a deal with Universal’s Republic Records and has an album coming out in August of 2019. This deal entitles her to proceeds from Universal’s sale of its $1 billion Spotify stake. Thanks to touring, releasing music, and endorsement deals, Taylor Swift is the top-earning celebrity.

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2. Beyoncé Knowles

One of the biggest singers in the world is Beyoncé. She got her start in the girl group Destiny’s Child in the late 1990s and ever since has been taking over the music industry. Beyoncé is not only a singer, but she’s also an actress, designer, and businesswoman.

Last year, Beyoncé made $81 million, thanks in part to her tour with husband Jay-Z that made more than $250 million. She released a legendary live album and Netflix special in April 2019 entitled “Homecoming” that was all about her iconic 2018 Coachella performance. Her activewear line Ivy Park recently partnered with Adidas to resume production. Most recently she voiced Nala in the live-action Lion King remake.

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3. Kylie Jenner

Best known for being a part of the popular Kardashian family, Kylie Jenner has become a top beauty businesswoman. Her cosmetic line earned $360 million in 2018, with Kylie earning $170 million from Kylie Cosmetics. Her eponymous line launched in 2015 with lip kits and has expanded to skincare, eye makeup, and face products.

Her business began with a $250,000 investment to produce the first 15,000 lip kits. Kylie Cosmetics has an extremely low overhead and super-high sales, leading the company to be worth nearly $1 billion. Kylie Jenner is the 100 percent owner of the company, so she gets a huge chunk of the profits. Look out for a possible Kylie baby line to be released in the future.

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4. Ellen Degeneres

Ellen Degeneres got her start in the 1990s as a stand-up comedian. She eventually starred in her own sitcom on NBC from 1994 to 1998. Since 2003, Ellen Degeneres has hosted her own syndicated talk show that receives excellent ratings.

Ellen also has worked as an actress, most notably starring in the Pixar films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. She also acted as a judge on the ninth season of American Idol. In addition to her talk show, Ellen has authored four books and runs a record company and production company. Ellen Degeneres is a designer as well, having clothing and accessory lines in Walmart and PetSmart. In the past year, Ellen Degeneres has brought in $80.5 million.

Credit: Washington Post

5. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is a star basketball player who is a member of the Golden State Warriors. He’s been with the team since 2009. With this team, Stephen Curry has won three NBA championships and been awarded the NBA MVP awards twice.

Stephen Curry is regarded as the greatest shooter in NBA history and is famous for his three-point shots. In 2017, Curry signed the first $200 million contract in the NBA, and his salary has been the highest in the league for the past two years. He has quite a few brand deals, including Rakuten, Palm, and Under Armour. Curry has a production company that is in a current development deal with Sony Pictures. Stephen Curry earned $79.8 million over the last year.

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6. Kanye West

Kanye West is known for being one of the best rappers of this generation. He has been making great music since the early 2000s. Kanye started as a producer and in 2004 released his debut album The College Dropout. He hasn’t released music in a while, instead choosing to focus on his fashion investments.

Kanye earned an estimated $150 million in the past year. Most of these earnings come from his Yeezy sneaker line with Adidas, which earned over $1 billion in 2018. He gets 15 percent royalties in each show sold. Another moneymaker is his Yeezy fashion brand, which Kanye West owns outright.

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7. Chris Hemsworth

Thanks to Marvel, it’s hard to turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing Chris Hemsworth. He became a star after being cast as Thor in 2011. These days, Hemsworth is seen about once per year in a big-budget blockbuster film.

Each time Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, he gets a $15 million paycheck plus a piece of the profits. “Avengers: Endgame” made a profit of $700 million, so Chris Hemsworth’s cut must’ve been nice! Hemsworth has an upcoming Netflix film in the works as well as a Hulk Hogan biopic. In addition to acting, Chris Hemsworth endorses several brands including Tag Heuer and Hugo Boss. In the past year, Chris Hemsworth made $76.4 million.

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8. Lionel Messi

The highest-paid sports star in the world is Lionel Messi. The soccer player debuted with Barcelona in 2003, has paid more than 680 matches and scored 603 goals. Lionel Messi has been named FIFA’s Player of the Year five times. He earns more than $80 million a year from his soccer club.

Endorsements and other income streams boost Messi’s earnings to $127 million in 2018. He has been sponsored by Adidas since 2006 and is their lead celebrity endorser. He also works with Gillette, Dolce & Gabbana, Tata Motors, and Turkish Airlines. Lionel Messi is currently considered the best soccer player in the world and possibly of all time.

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9. Drake

When he was a teenager, Drake got his start on the Canadian TV show Degrassi. Nowadays, he’s known for being a top rapper and singer. His first album Thank Me Later debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 charts and was quickly certified platinum.

Drake has released five studio albums and has sold more than 150 million records around the world. He is classified as the highest-certified digital singles artist and holds quite a few Billboard chart records. Drake founded the OVO Sound recording label in 2012 which currently has nine active acts. His last tour grossed $79 million and sold over 600,000 tickets. Drake raked in $75 million last year.

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10. Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is an English singer/songwriter who released his debut album “+” in 2011. Since then he has become one of the world’s most popular pop stars, selling out shows all over the world. His worldwide tour The Divide Tour has grossed more than $600 million in the last two years.

In the past year, Ed Sheeran has made a profit of over $110 million. He runs his own record label, Gingerbread Man Records, under Warner Music Group and currently has two artists signed. Ed Sheeran does a lot of songwriting for other artists, including Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Shawn Mendes.

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11. Kim Kardashian West

Wife of Kanye West and sister to Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West is most famous for being a member of the Kardashian Family. She got her start as a stylist and eventually became a reality TV star. Nowadays, Kim Kardashian West makes her money by modeling, authoring books, and running a beauty business.

Last year Kim Kardashian West made $72 million. The majority of her money comes from her beauty line, KKW Beauty, which generated $100 million in sales in 2018. Kim also makes money from her mobile game, emojis, and a shapewear line. Kim Kardashian West has become passionate about criminal justice reform and plans to take the bar exam in 2022.

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12. Cristiano Ronaldo

Another top sports star to make this list is Cristiano Ronaldo. This soccer player is from Portugal and plays for the Italian soccer club Juventus. He has won twenty-nine trophies in his career, including five Ballon d’Or awards. Ronaldo is also the most followed sports star on social media, with more than 400 million followers.

Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the top soccer players of all time. He makes $64 million annually from Juventus. He gets a lot of money from endorsements. Cristiano Ronaldo has endorsed a wide variety of brands including Emporio Armani, PanzerGlass, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Castrol Oil & Petrol. Ronaldo earned an estimated $109 million last year.

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13. Ryan Seacrest

Most people know Ryan Seacrest from his gig as the host of American Idol. He’s also known as a radio host and television producer. When Seacrest agreed to a $45 million deal to continue hosting American Idol in 2009, he became the highest-paid reality TV host of all time.

Last year, Ryan Seacrest earned $71.5 million. These days, he’s hosting American Idol, Live! With Kelly Ripa, and his own syndicated radio show. Each year, Ryan Seacrest hosts Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC. Seacrest has also dabbled in design with his Ryan Seacrest Distinction menswear line at Macy’s. In June 2019, he launched a skincare line called Polished for Men.

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14. Neymar

Once again, a soccer player has made this list! Neymar is a Brazilian soccer star who plays for the Paris-Saint Germain club. Since the age of seventeen, Neymar has been playing soccer professionally. At twenty-seven, he is earning $105 million a year playing soccer and endorsing brands.

Neymar’s current contract is through June 2022 and is worth $350 million. He endorses a lot of high profile brands. He signed a contract with Nike in 2011 that is active for eleven years. Neymar has also endorsed Red Bull, Panasonic, Volkswagen, Mentos, and Drakkar Noir. Along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar has been named one of the most marketable athletes in the world.

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15. Sean Combs

Formerly known as Puff Daddy and P. Diddy, Sean Combs got his start as a rapper and music producer. He was a close friend and colleague of The Notorious BIG and founded his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, in 1993. Sean Combs’ debut album No Way Out has gone platinum seven times.

In addition to his music career, Sean Combs is known for his fashion line, called Sean John, which is a menswear line that was launched in 1998. Another business venture of Sean Combs is Ciroc Vodka, of which he owns 50 percent of the profits. Last year, Sean Combs made $70 million. With a net worth of $825 million, Sean Combs is known as the second-richest hip hop artist after Jay-Z.

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16. The Eagles

Rock band The Eagles have been active since 1971 and have created some iconic music, including the hit song Hotel California. In their career, The Eagles have won six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards. Their albums Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) and Hotel California are ranked first and third on the list of the best-selling albums in the United States.

Selling more than 200 million records since the 1970s have contributed to a high net worth for The Eagles. They are a big touring band, spending most of their time on the road. Their last tour An Evening With The Eagles grossed $3.5 million on each stop! In the past year, The Eagles have earned more than $100 million.

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17. James Patterson

James Patterson is the highest-paid author in America, earning $70 million last year. In the past year alone, he sold more than 5.5 million books. His most notable works include the Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club series. To date, James Patterson has sold more than 300 copies of his books.

James Patterson has an estimated net worth of $700 million. Since 1976, Patterson has published 147 novels. Approximately 114 of his works are New York Times bestsellers, and he holds the record for most number-one New York Times bestsellers by a single author (67). It’s estimated that one in every seventeen books sold is a James Patterson novel.

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18. Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil McGraw is best known for his eponymous daytime TV show Dr. Phil, where he advises people. He got his start on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1998, and by 2002 he had his own show on TV. Along with the show, Dr. Phil is known for writing many self-help books and having several spin-off shows.

Dr. Phil McGraw has earned $95 million in the last year. Not only does he get a salary from his show, but he also gets a piece of advertising revenue. Another income stream for Dr. Phil comes from product placement on his show. He also helped to found the app Doctors on Demand, which helps people use their smartphones to speak with a doctor. The Doctors on Demand app is worth approximately $300 million.

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19. Metallica

The heavy metal band Metallica makes the list with their earnings of $68.5 million last year. Metallica started out in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. They are considered one of the founding bands of the thrash metal genre of music. As of 2018, Metallica has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide. Fifty-eight million of those albums were sold in the United States.

Most of their revenue is from touring. Metallica has been on their WorldWired Tour since 2016. This tour has grossed over $250 million. This tour supports their recent album Hardwired…to Self-Destruct which hit the top of the Billboard Hot 200 in December 2018.

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20. Canelo Alvarez

The only boxer to make this list is Canelo Alvarez. This twenty-nine-year-old boxing star is the winner of multiple world championships and holds several titles. He is ranked as the world’s best active boxer. Canelo Alvarez is a skilled counterpuncher and body puncher.

In a partnership with DAZN in 2018, Canelo Alvarez’s next eleven fights will be broadcasted on the streaming service. DAZN paid $365 million for that privilege. Canelo will earn roughly $35 million per fight. His first two fights broadcast on DAZN received over one million pay-per-view purchases. Additionally, Canelo endorses Tecate beer, Roger Dubuis, Hennessy, and Under Armour.

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21. Robert Downey, Jr.

You may know him as Tony Stark, but Robert Downey, Jr. has been in the acting business for a long time. He got his start in the 1970s as a child actor and eventually starred in many iconic 80s films as a member of the Brat Pack. After taking a brief hiatus from acting in the 1990s, Robert Downey, Jr. came back in the early 2000s for several critically acclaimed roles. In 2008, he starred as Iron Man, launching the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Movies that Robert Downey, Jr. has starred in have grossed more than $20 billion. Domestically and internationally, he is the second highest-grossing box-office actor of all time. Although Robert Downey, Jr. is no longer a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is still profiting from the movies. For Avengers: Endgame he raked in $75 million. Last year alone, Robert Downey, Jr. earned $66 million.

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22. Roger Federer

Roger Federer is renowned for being the greatest tennis player of all time. This Swiss tennis player is currently ranked third in men’s singles tennis. Federer has won twenty Grand Slam titles, which is the most ever won by a male tennis player. He has held the number one player spot for a total of 310 weeks, which is a record.

Federer has earned more than $124 million in prize money throughout his career. In the last year, he’s made $93.4 million. He has made most of his money from off-court endorsements. He represents brands like Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, and Credit Suisse. His recent deal with Uniqlo will see him earning $300 million over ten years. His Roger Federer Foundation has raised over $40 million to educate one million kids in Africa.

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23. Kevin Durant

Another star athlete to make the list is Kevin Durant. Also known as KD, Durant is currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets. He recently joined that team, but he really made a splash with the Golden State Warriors. As a Warrior, Kevin Durant won two NBA championships and was named NBA Finals MVP twice.

Kevin Durant made $65.4 million last year, He signed a deal in 2019 with the Brooklyn Nets that is worth $164 million for a four-year contract. KD makes roughly $35 million from sponsorships and invests in growing companies like Acorns and Postmates. Durant’s “Kevin Durant Charity Foundation” pledged to bring the College Track academic program to his hometown for $10 million in 2018.

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24. Howard Stern

The self-proclaimed King of All Media has had a long career in radio. His eponymous radio show “The Howard Stern Show” was one of the top nationally syndicated radio shows during its tenure from 1986 to 2005. Stern now broadcasts on SiriusXM radio where he earns a six-figure salary.

Howard Stern is the highest-paid radio shock jock. Last year Stern earned $93 million from his radio show and other projects. His contract with SiriusXM expires in December 2020, and he may retire. He released Howard Stern Comes Again, his first book in twenty years, in May 2019 that debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller List. Stern also brings in money from advertisers on his radio show.

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25. Akshay Kumar

Out of all the people on this list, you may not know who Akshay Kumar is. Akshay Kumar is the top Bollywood star in India. He has starred in over 100 films in his twenty-nine-year career and has won numerous awards. Akshay Kumar was the first Bollywood actor to have their films’ domestic net collections gross more than $290 million.

Akshay Kumar is known for performing dangerous martial arts stunts in his films, earning him the nickname “Indian Jackie Chan.” He has founded two production companies and has launched a reality show about dancing. Over the last year, Akshay Kumar has earned $65 million.

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26. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is best known for creating the magical world of Harry Potter. Her series of seven books became a cultural phenomenon and has appealed to kids and adults all over the world. It’s hard to imagine a world without Harry Potter! The Harry Potter books have sold over 500 million copies, making it the best-selling book series of all time.

Rowling is known for being the first author to become a billionaire. After giving away most of her fortune to charity, she lost her billionaire status, but she’s still extremely wealthy. Her earnings come from ventures related to the Harry Potter books, movies, and theme park The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Additionally, she writes adult fiction, sometimes under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Last year she earned $92 million.

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27. Tiger Woods

The best-known golfer in the world has to be Tiger Woods. When Tiger Woods plays, everyone wants to watch him. He is ranked second in PGA tour wins and major championships. He has been playing professional golf since 1996 at the age of twenty.

In the last year, Tiger Woods has earned roughly $63.9 million. In 2019, he won his first major tournament in eleven years at the Masters. Since turning pro, Tiger Woods has earned an estimated $1.4 billion from sponsorships. He is closely partnered with Nike, Monster Energy, Bridgestone, Kawa, and TaylorMade. Tiger Woods partnered with TaylorMade in 2019 to design his first signature set of golf irons.

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28. Russell Wilson

The highest-earning football player is Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson is the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and has been with the team since 2012. He has been named to six Pro Bowls, started in two Super Bowls, and won one Super Bowl ring in 2014. Wilson has earned the record for most wins by an NFL quarterback through seven seasons.

Russell Wilson earned $89.5 million in the past year. He signed a contract extension in April 2019 to earn $140 million over the next four years. Wilson is the CEO of brand management firm West2East Empire, which oversees two separate production companies. He also invests in the Portland Diamond Project which is working on bringing a Major League Baseball team to Portland, Oregon.

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29. Gordon Ramsay

The top-earning chef in the world is none other than Gordon Ramsay. You may know him from being loud and demanding on TV, but he has a lot of other business ventures that make him a lot of money. Gordon Ramsay rose to prominence in 1998 in a British miniseries, and by 2004, he had become a household name in the United Kingdom.

Gordon Ramsay has nearly twenty restaurants around the world. He recently inked a deal with Lion Capital to open 100 Gordon Ramsay restaurants in the United States with a $100 million investment. He has been in several different shows, including Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and Masterchef. With over seventy-five hours of programming, Gordon Ramsay’s programs earn Fox over $150 million in ad revenue. Just last year, Gordon Ramsay took home $63 million.

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30. Dwayne Johnson

Better known as The Rock, Dwayne Johnson has been a big celebrity for many years. He got his start wrestling for the WWE where his trademark catchphrase was, “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?” After leaving the WWE in 2013, Johnson has gone on to become a huge action movie star.

Movies starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have earned more than $3.4 billion in North America and $10 billion around the world. Johnson earns eight-figure salaries for movies like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Hobbs and Shaw as well as backend income. He also stars in TV shows like HBO’s Ballers and NBC’s game show Titan Games. Dwayne Johnson endorses Under Armour and has a clothing, shoe, and headphones line with the sportswear company. He brought in more than $89 million last year.

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31. Rihanna

Another singer on this list is Rihanna. She came onto the music scene in 2005, and her star has continued to rise ever since. Nearly all of her albums have included chart-topping singles. To date, Rihanna has sold more than 250 million records. Rihanna has also dabbled in acting and design.

Rihanna’s current money-making venture is her beauty line Fenty Beauty. This cosmetics line was designed to work for people of all skin colors and types. In the last year, Fenty Beauty has generated about $570 million in revenue. Rihanna launched a fashion house in May 2019 as well as a lingerie line. Rihanna’s take-home pay last year was $62 million.

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32. Aaron Rodgers

Another sports star to make the list is Aaron Rodgers. This football player is known for his excellent record with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers selected him as their first-round draft pick in 2005. He earned the title of Super Bowl champion as well as Super Bowl MVP in 2011. Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback to reach 300 passing touchdowns the fastest, achieving this feat in just 144 games.

In 2018, Aaron Rodgers signed a four-year contract extension worth $134 million. His 2019 base salary will be $20 million. Rodgers endorses State Farm, Ford Motors, Sharpie, Prevea Healthcare, and IZOD. He has a stake in a $50 million venture fund with Roth Capital and has a minority ownership in the NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks. Last year, Aaron Rodgers earned nearly $90 million.

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33. David Copperfield

Who knew a magician could be earning so much money? Known as the most commercially successful magician of all time, David Copperfield has been practicing magic for more than 40 years. He has grossed more than $4 billion throughout his career, a record for a solo entertainer. Last year, David Copperfield grossed $60 million.

Most of David Copperfield’s money comes from performances. In his Las Vegas residency at the MGM Grand Casino, Copperfield performed 654 shows during the past year. To date, David Copperfield has sold over 33 million tickets. Another source of income is David Copperfield’s chain of eleven private islands in the Bahamas, Musha Cay, which he rents out to wealthy patrons for six figures a night.

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34. Lebron James

Lebron James is one of the best-known basketball players in the world. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is a three-time NBA champion. He has also been named the NBA Finals MVP three times. James’ recent signing with the Los Angeles Lakers was for a four-year, $153 million contract.

He made $89 million last year because of his salary and various endorsements. Over the years, he has endorsed Nike, McDonald’s, State Farm, Coca-Cola, and Beats by Dre. James has made a wide variety of investments, including a production company, a media company, and a wellness company. In 2018, the Lebron James Family Foundation opened their first elementary school and had pledged $41 million to send kids to college.

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35. Kevin Hart

The top comedian on this list is the funny Kevin Hart. He broke into acting in 2001 and since then has been steadily working. Kevin Hart is known for his hilarious stand-up comedy routines as well as roles in big-budget movies. He has worked several times with fellow list member Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in movies that have grossed millions of dollars.

A huge chunk of Kevin Hart’s earnings come from his stand up comedy tours. His last tour Kevin Hart: The Irresponsible Tour sold more than one million tickets and was named the highest-grossing comedy tour of 2018. Kevin Hart is involved in movie production and is the producer of many movies he stars in. His income over the past year was $59 million.

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36. Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh is best known for being a conservative talk radio host. In 2018, he celebrated his thirtieth year of syndication for his radio show. Roughly 25 million listeners tune in per month to The Rush Limbaugh Show.

Last year, Rush Limbaugh made $87 million. He gets around 13.25 million people listening to the show each week, making his show the most-listened-to talk radio program in the United States. Rush Limbaugh’s net worth is around $500 million. In addition to his radio show, Limbaugh earns money from writing books. He has released seven books, including a children’s book series titled “Rush Revere.”

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37. Jackie Chan

China’s most famous actor has to be Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan has been an actor since the 1960s and has made more than 150 movies. He is known for his impressive stunts and martial arts skills. In all of his movies, Jackie Chan does his own stunts.

Jacki Chan has had an impressive career, making a splash in both the Eastern and Western cinematic industries. He has even released music, singing many theme songs for his films. His net worth is around $350 million, and as of 2016, Jackie Chan was the world’s second-highest-paid actor. He earned $58 million last year.

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38. Elton John

Since the late 1960s, Elton John has been entertaining the world with his catchy songs and excellent stage presence. His partnership with Bernie Taupin has produced some of the most iconic songs of all time including Rocketman, Bennie, and the Jets, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

In the past year, Elton John has made $84 million. Most of that comes from touring. He’s been on his final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, for the past year and will continue until 2021. This tour will end up spanning 300 shows across five continents. Elton John recently produced the autobiographical film Rocket Man about his life. This movie earned over $186 million at the box office. Elton John is now working on writing the music for an upcoming Broadway musical based on The Devil Wears Prada.

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39. Travis Scott

Rapper Travis Scott signed his first record deal in 2012 and was soon working with Kanye West as a part of his GOOD Music label. He steadily released music that was somewhat popular but scored his first Billboard Hot 100 number one single with Sicko Mode in 2018.

The tour Travis Scott embarked on to support his latest album Astroworld brought in over $65 million. In addition to music and touring, Travis Scott makes money through endorsements. He has a major collaboration with Nike and modeled for their VaporMax sneaker campaign. Last year, Travis Scott earned an estimated $58 million.

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40. Jay-Z

For nearly twenty years, Jay-Z has influenced the music industry with his rapping and songwriting skills. He is generally regarded as one of the best rappers of all time as well as one of the most significant cultural icons. His career began in 1995 when he founded Roc-a-Fella Records, and in 1996 he released his debut album Reasonable Doubt.

Jay-Z earned $81 million last year from music, touring, and endorsements. His last tour with wife Beyonce Knowles grossed $5 million per night, racking up a total of $250 million. He has stakes in a wide variety of companies including Uber, Tidal, Rocawear, and the 40/40 Club. He also has his own line of champagne and cognac in a partnership with Bacardi. Jay-Z is known as hip hop’s first-ever billionaire due to his music sales and successful investments.