July 16, 2009 / 1:45 AM / 10 years ago

Producers out-earn actors in Hollywood rich list

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - George Lucas’s latest movies may be less popular than his hits of yesteryear, but he still managed to top a list of Hollywood’s highest male earners over the past year.

George Lucas is seen at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2008. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

The “Star Wars” creator made $170 million between June 2008 and June 2009, according to forbes.com, with his latest Indiana Jones movie “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which he co-wrote and produced, pulling in the cash, despite poor reviews.

The list was dominated by movie makers rather than screen stars, with director Steven Spielberg and producer Jerry Bruckheimer taking silver and bronze in the list of 15 men who made a total of $1.2 billion last year.

“In Hollywood the stars get their pictures on the covers of magazines and designers ply them with free clothes, but producers earn the big bucks,” the forbes.com website said.

Spielberg, who directed the last Indiana Jones movie, made $150 million. Bruckheimer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” series helped him pocket $100 million, with hit TV series CSI and Cold Case also attracting audiences.

Forbes.com compiled the high-earning list by looking at top-earning producers, actors, writers, musicians and television personalities in the industry and then talking to Hollywood insiders to estimate earnings over the past 12 months.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld broke the chain of behind-camera money makers, coming fourth in the list. More than a decade after his hit show Seinfeld went off the air, its syndication still earns him millions.

He still keeps audiences laughing with a new stand up act and last year stood beside unlikely screen buddy Bill Gates in a Microsoft advertisement. From June 2008 to June 2009 the comedian made $85 million.

In fifth place, television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw proved that medical advice pays, with his TV shows, books and speeches helping him earn $80 million last year.

Producers and writers dominate the list, with Tyler Perry, Dick Wolf and music mogul Simon Cowell all raking in around $75 million.

Actors played second fiddle to their employers, with Harrison Ford and Adam Sandler outside the top ten, though far from out of pocket.

Reporting by Edward McAllister; editing by Patricia Reaney

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