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10) Steven Spielberg (up arrow)

Age: 52

Residence: Pacific Palisades

Source of Wealth: Entertainment

Net Worth: $1.5 billion

Last Year’s Rank: 12

Background: Arguably Hollywood’s most famous and successful college dropout. “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.,” “Jaws” and others have earned a staggering $1.5 billion at the box office, easily making him the most successful director in the history of movie making. Born in Cincinnati, Spielberg grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey and Arizona. Started making amateur films as a teen-ager, was rejected by the major film schools, and wound up at Cal State Long Beach. Began directing television shows for $275 a week. His 1969 short film “Amblin” was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival and led to his being signed to a long-term deal with Universal Pictures.

Money Track: Has seven of the 20 top grossing films of all time. Among his biggest hits are “Jurassic Park,” which grossed $302 million. Its sequel, “The Lost World,” pulled in $277 million. One of the keys to his success has been taking a small, up-front salary and a hefty slice of backend profits. In 1994, Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen founded DreamWorks SKG, the first major Hollywood studio established in the past 50 years. Each put up $33 million. Though the company struggled initially, it has been rolling out a string of hits. “Saving Private Ryan” has pulled in $215.9 million and “Prince of Egypt” $101.2 million. On the TV front, Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment is a co-producer of “ER,” the No. 1 prime-time drama, which NBC recently renewed for $13 million an episode.

Buzz: Philanthropic in Jewish causes, especially those related to the Holocaust. Amiable in public but a tough negotiator. As executive producer of Sony Pictures’ “Men in Black,” he commanded 20 percent of its $125 million gross. His upcoming film “Minority Report” should be a hit when it’s released next year (the DreamWorks-Fox co-production stars Tom Cruise, one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars). Though Spielberg is a partner in DreamWorks, he remains a director for hire and will be working on “Memoirs of a Geisha” for Columbia Pictures.

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