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Some of the fattest bank accounts in America (and the rest of the world) belong to moguls who despite being of the fairer sex, tower over men in a long and varied list of professions.  Of course, the top-earning ladies don't dominate one single field, they stand head and shoulders above the rest in multiple fields.  

OprahTo no one's surprise, the top earning woman in the world is none other than the compassionate, intelligent and industrious entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey.  Ms. Winfrey bagged a reported $275 million in 2008 from her television talk show, Sirius Satellite Radio contract, book club, magazine, production company—you name it, Oprah probably has her foot in it.  

Oprah is the American Dream brought to life.  She overcame a nightmarish childhood to become not only a millionaire, but also a humanitarian and a guiding light for the everyday woman.  Oprah stopped doing her work for the money many years ago, that much is clear.

MadonnaThe second highest-paid woman of 2008 is another strong-willed 50-something who still holds the world in her hands.  Madonna's Hard Candy tour pulled in $280 million in 2008, $110 of which went straight into her pocket, er, leotard?  

The Material Girl is clearly still a hot item, even after a highly publicized and nasty divorce, including a scandal with A Rod.   Her collaborations with Justin Timberlake and Pharell show she can still connect her music with the modern day youth.  Does this mean Madonna has discovered the fountain of youth, so to speak?  Perhaps, but whatever the source of her draw is, it's still going strong.

Celine DionSpeaking of fountains, there must have been something in the water decades ago, because the third highest paid woman of 2008 is 41-year old Celine Dion. Like Madonna, Celine's music tour, Taking Chances, was a multimillion-dollar success, leaving Ms. Dion with $100 mil of her own to show for all the hard work.  Like Oprah, Celine Dion had a poverty-stricken childhood, as she was the youngest of 14 children born to musically-inclined parents.  Perhaps musically-inclined would be an understatement in Ms. Dion's case.  

So, what do all these big numbers and even bigger names add up to?  Cougar-aged entertainment tycoons that pulled in the more dough than their much younger competition could ever dream of.  Beyonce Knowles released a double album this year, plus starred in two Hollywood films, only to call it a year with $87 mil.  That's no small feat, it's true, but perhaps with a little more age, wisdom, or whatever it is that keeps the top 3 in their places, maybe Ms. Knowles can catch up.  

For now, that day is in the distant future.  The giants of the entertainment business had to spend decades nurturing their careers to get to the tremendous stature they now possess, hats off.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Sep 15, 2009
    • It’s nice to see women from different backgrounds to be able to excel. Hopefully they are an example and inspiration to our young women.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Sep 15, 2009
    • I think women our age rock - we have it all going on wisdom, experience and we are fabulous .......



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Sep 15, 2009
    • I’m going to add though that’s it’s important for successful women to continue lifting up women who have what it takes but may lack the mentoring or resources to pull themselves up the success ladder. We as a gender can makes strides and pave the way for our daughters and granddaughters like never before.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Sep 15, 2009
    • @Chocolatier You are so right Cynthia. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in other people’s life. Sometimes it money, sometimes it’s advice, but most of the times it’s those simple words of encouragement that help us women go to the next step. After all, who can’t use more women in our life to tell us “YES, you can do it, and will be right next to you“.



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