roughly $154 million worldwide. He followed up with the slapstick comedy Norbit, which earned $158 million worldwide, plus another $36 million in DVD sales. Murphy’s enduring popularity makes him one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, reportedly averaging about $15 million per film. He has also become a top brand in animation as the voice of Donkey in the Shrek franchise. Murphy will rejoin his co-stars for the fourth film, slated for release in 2010.
Oprah Winfrey: Entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey is more than a creative force, she’s a billion-dollar brand. The Oprah Winfrey Show continues to reign as the highest-rated talk show in daytime television history. Winfrey, whose show has won more than 40 Emmys recently struck a deal with Discovery Communications to launch OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2009, adding to a media empire than includes a satellite radio network channel and a magazine. One of a handful of black billionaires and CEO of a leading be 100s company, she’s also a powerful television and film producer. Her most recent effort, The Great Debaters, which Denzel Washington directed and starred in, earned a 2007 Golden Globe nomination. From the start Winfrey won acclaim for her contributions to film with her Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated performance as Sofia in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple, the 1985 drama that generated more than $98 million in ticket sales. (In December 2005, Winfrey used her clout to bring The Color Purple to Broadway.) She also produced and starred in the 1998 motion picture adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and the made-for-television film version of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Jamie Foxx: His masterful portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray garnered Jamie Foxx an Academy Award for best actor, making him just the third black performer to win the coveted gold statue. This Oscar winner is now one of the most sought after actor-producers in Hollywood. His 18 films-including his most recent, The Kingdom-have produced box office receipts of more than $1 billion. He has several projects in development, including The Soloist, a drama about a schizophrenic, homeless musician on Skid Row who has dreams of playing at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Shonda Rhimes: Creating one of the highest-rated shows on television has made Shonda Rhimes worth more than her weight in gold with studio execs. It’s also secured her the No. 2 spot on our list. Rhimes may not have the name or face recognition enjoyed by our other moneymakers, but the buzz and the advertising dollars Grey’s Anatomy has generated for ABC Network and its parent company, Walt Disney Co., powered her to the upper echelons of the rankings. The 38-year-old screenwriter, director, and producer has leveraged her talent to create Private Practice, a spin-off that premiered in 2007.
Laurence Fishburne: For Laurence Fishburne, there is life after The Matrix. Since co-starring in the sci-fi blockbuster, Fishburne, through his production company, Cinema Gypsy, produced Akeelah and the Bee, an indie that grossed more than $41 million in box office and