Hollywood's top earning men

Fame and fortune Hollywood-style is no longer as simple as securing a starring role in a summer blockbuster it seems.

Being behind the camera, and not necessarily in front of it, is an even more lucrative formula for success, according to the latest rich list from Forbes magazine.

Tyler Perry is a name that may not ring many bells here, but this hasn't stopped this all-rounder from beating the likes of Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg to top the Forbes list of the highest earning men in entertainment for 2011.

His pay packet of $US130 million ($127 million) comes courtesy of his work as a writer, director, producer and actor on television series' such as House of Payne and Meet the Browns, and the Madea films.

His next major role will be playing the lead in the film adaption of the James Patterson novel I, Alex Cross.

Continuing with this winning creator/performer formula are Simon Cowell and Dr Phil McGraw who have leveraged their professional backgrounds to create highly successful television shows. Cowell departed the judging panel of American Idol in 2010 but will soon return to US screens with The X Factor, which he executive produced.

Their earnings for May 2010 to May 2011 landed them in the No. 5 and 7 spots, respectively.

Proving that staying well behind the scenes can also be a path to great wealth are Bruckheimer and Spielberg who were pipped at the post by Perry. Forbes estimated Bruckheimer's earnings at $US113 million thanks to the high grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film, as well as his involvement with the CSI franchise.

Executive producing also proved lucrative for Spielberg with TV series Falling Skies and films such as True Grit and Transformers: Dark of the Moon netting him $US107 million. After a brief hiatus from directing, he'll be back doing what he does best later this year with the release of The Adventures of Tin Tin and Warhorse.

And proving that acting in not one but two blockbusters can have a significant impact on the bank balance is Leonardo DiCaprio, the only other actor in the top 10 for his work in the films Inception and Shutter Island.

No doubt Baz Luhrmann will be hoping DiCaprio's midas touch will extend to his current project The Great Gatsby, which is currently filming in Sydney.

The list

1. Tyler Perry $US130m
2. Jerry Bruckheimer $US113m
3. Steven Spielberg $US107m
4. Elton John $US100m
5. Simon Cowel $US90m
6. James Patterson $US84m
7. Dr Phil McGraw $US80m
8. Leonardo DiCaprio $US77m
9. Howard Stern $US76m
10. Tiger Woods $US75m