There are three dozen media moguls on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans. Most made fortunes in TV, cable, wireless telecom or online media. Some of them inherited riches from a long-ago time when newspapers were not only profitable, but also lucrative.
A few have movie connections: David Geffen (worth $5.5 billion) made his money in the music biz and later co-founded DreamWorks, ending his active role there in 2008. Oprah Winfrey ($2.7 billion) has worked in films, but is primarily a TV producer and host.
Just four current movie moguls make the Forbes list. Rupert Murdoch (News Corp., 20th Century Fox) has an estimated fortune of $7.4 billion — 37th on the overall Forbes list, and second only to Cox Enterprises heiress Anne Cox Chambers ($12 billion) among media magnates.
Through movie-theater chain National Amusements, Sumner Redstone controls Viacom, parent of Paramount. Forbes estimates Redstone’s wealth at $4.1 billion.
Only two of the richest people in Hollywood started as directors: George Lucas ($3.2 billion), who made his money from creating the “Star Wars” franchise (and later Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound), and Steven Spielberg ($3 billion), another DreamWorks co-founder.
The chart, above, compares the two richest entertainment “suits,” Murdoch and Redstone, with two in the “talent” category, Lucas and Spielberg, who have made most of their fortunes from business operations.