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Lucas top among Hollywood earners

George Lucas
Lucas still earns "big bucks" from Star Wars merchandise, Forbes.com said

Star Wars creator George Lucas is Hollywood's highest-paid man after earning an estimated $170m (£104m) in a year, business website Forbes.com says.

He beat director Steven Spielberg into second place in the list of 15. Spielberg made an estimated $150m (£91.6m) between June 2008-June 2009.

Lucas's fourth Indiana Jones movie - directed by Spielberg - was out in that same year and took $786m (£480.1m).

Simon Cowell was joint sixth in the list, earning about $75m (£45.8m).

Syndication fees

The website talked to "managers, agents and other Hollywood insiders" to come up with the estimated earnings.

Forbes.com said: "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."

It said that, in its list, "half made the cut mostly for their production work not their star quality".

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell has set up a company with retail billionaire Sir Philip Green

"As a group, they earned $1.2bn (£730m)," it added.

Executive producer of the three CSI TV programmes and producer of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Jerry Bruckheimer, was third in the list with an estimated $100m (£61.1m).

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was fourth, with an estimated $85m (£51.9m). Forbes.com said his earning power was largely thanks to "hefty syndication fees" for his sitcom Seinfeld, which went off air in 1998.

The top five was rounded out by TV psychologist Dr Phil McGraw - with $80m (£48.8m) - who began his career in the media on The Oprah Winfrey Show and now appears in his own shows.

Cowell was joint sixth alongside filmmaker Tyler Perry and Dick Wolf, creator of hit US TV show Law and Order and subsequent spin-offs.

Others on the list include rock star Bruce Springsteen and Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford.

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