Top five richest actors in the world, and how they earned their fortunes

US comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who is the richest actor in the world. A recent rich list survey had Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan as the second-richest actor in the world. -- PHOTO: NBC NETWORK
US comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who is the richest actor in the world. A recent rich list survey had Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan as the second-richest actor in the world. -- PHOTO: NBC NETWORK

A recent rich list survey put Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan at the No. 2 spot as the second-richest actor in the world. Here are the top five wealthiest actors in the world, and a peek at how they made their fortunes.

1. Jerry Seinfeld, 60, US$820 millionThe comedian's eponymous sitcom ended its run 16 years ago, but syndication rights to the show is still bringing in oodles of cash for Seinfeld. The rights brought him some US$400 million last year.

2. Shah Rukh Khan, 48, US$600 millionThe Bollywood actor is the only Asian in the top 10 ranking. He has parlayed his thriving resume of more than 70 Hindi films into a successful business brand, with two production houses - Red Chillies Entertainment and Dreamz Unlimited, a stream of profitable endorsements, profit sharing deals in each movie he stars in as well as a big budget reality TV series built around him. All this plus a Mr Nice Guy reputation too.

3. Tom Cruise, 51, US$480 millionThe Hollywood A-lister is a survivor. From his film debut in 1983 in the comedy Risky Business, he has gone from teen pinup to Oscar-nominated actor to movie producer. Despite his well-known ties to the Church Of Scientology and the media circus known as his marriage to, and divorce from, actress Katie Holmes, he remains a major box office draw, especially in international markets which are increasingly important to Hollywood's bottomline. That means he can command a US$20 million paycheck for 2013's Oblivion.

4. Tyler Perry, 44, US$450 millionOne of the youngest men on the top 10 list (the other is comedian Adam Sandler, also 44), this multi-hyphenate is a brand unto himself. The actor-writer-director-producer started out as a playwright whose populist productions, aimed at the African-American community, struck a chord and built his brand. His plays were recorded and sold as DVDs, and he ventured into film in 2005 with Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, which cost US$5.5 million but grossed US$65 million. With successful films and a partnership deal with Oprah Winfrey to produce shows for her Oprah Winfrey Network, he has proven his business savvy as well.

5. Johnny Depp, 50, US$450 million Who would have thought that the teen idol of 21 Jump Street would mature into a critically acclaimed actor and fabulously wealthy actor? For a long time however, he was seen as a kooky outsider, whose multiple collaborations with director Tim Burton earned critical acclaim, but seldom the kind of box office numbers that make Hollywood executives sit up and take notice. Until, that is, 2003's Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, a Disney movie based on a theme ride which everyone thought would tank but, thanks to Depp's brilliantly eccentric characterisation of Captain Jack Sparrow, went on to gross US$305 million at the box office. The money-making franchise boosted the actor's earnings by up to US$300 million.