It has become pretty common for celebrities to slap endorsements onto products just to make a quick buck. However, some celebrities have gone beyond merely using their good names and have decided to put their entrepreneurial spirit to work by becoming wealthy CEOs and business owners. Along with investing their own “hard earned” money into growing business endeavors, these celebrities have become innovative leaders in their respective industries, gaining the admiration of their peers and contributing to the country’s economy. Below, we’ve listed the 10 top celebrities turned businessmen (and women) as of 2013.
10 Paul Newman
Even though he passed away in 2008, Paul Newman still made our list for top 10 celebrities turned businessman. In 1982, Newman was one of the first to set his sights on an industry beyond show business. He established his own unique brand of high-quality foods under the brand name “Newman’s Own.” His product collection included popcorn, pasta, and select wine.
Known for his social consciousness and philanthropy, Newman began giving all of his profits to charity, which eventually drove him to establish his own world charity called, The Newman’s Own Foundation. This foundation continues to thrive even today. At the time of his death Paul Newman’s net worth surpassed $280 million.
9 Tyra Banks
Throughout the 2000's Tyra Banks has kept busy building her own mini-empire. After officially retiring from modeling, she began to refocus her energy on developing a selection of media endeavors, including her own talk show, America’s Next Top Model, etc. However, it was only in 2007 when her television and film production company landed its first big deal with Warner Bros. funding a film entitled The Clique.
Since then Tyra has received her business degree from Harvard, and has continued to invest her money in independent film projects. Her company, Bankable Productions, is estimated to be worth over $80 million dollars.
8 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Once adorable child stars, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are now thriving businesswomen who have successfully avoided the celebrity spotlight for the most part. Instead, they have opted to become a fashion powerhouse with three fashion labels along with a series of product endorsements.
However, the twins’ biggest accomplishment so far lies in the fact that they own large shares in Dualstar Entertainment, a billion-dollar retail business that they co-head. Dualstar, which is owned primarily by the twins, is a multi-sector retail and entertainment production and investment company, that the twins took over in 2004 when they were only 19.
7 Sean “Diddy” Combs
In the last decade, Sean “Diddy” Combs, formally known as Puff Daddy, began working on his very own hip-hop record and fashion label under his own label called Bad Boy Entertainment. Now in 2013, Bad Boy is worth roughly $400 million along with Combs’ combined assets. Diddy’s company, which includes multiple clothing and fragrance lines, also produces television programs and has recently expanded into the high-end liquor market with the introduction of Ciroc.
6 Shawn “Jay Z” Carter
We can’t talk about rappers turned multi-millionaires without discussing the success of Shawn Carter aka Jay Z, and his massive entertainment empire called Rocka-fella Records. Apart from his own record company, Jay Z has directed Def-Jam Records for three years, and has independently produced music since 1992. Lately, he has also expanded into fashion with his own clothing-line called Rocowear.
His recent endeavors into sports bar franchises, fragrances, and sports teams have likely duplicated that number. Furthermore, he is currently married to Beyoncé Knowles who also has an impressive set of entrepreneurial investments and a shockingly high net worth. It is supposed that their combined assets reach billions of dollars.
5 Tony Hawk
Let’s stray away from the rappers turned tycoons for awhile and talk about a former sports star celebrity turned successful businessman, Tony Hawk. In 1992, Hawk’s skateboard company, Birdhouse Skateboards, expanded to include fashion, innovative sports products, BMX bikes, footwear, and video games. Now in 2013, Tony Hawk continues to be rolling in the dough, with an approximate worth of $120 million.
4 Earvin “Magic” Johnson
Another former athlete turned successful businessman is Magic Johnson, formerly of the LA Kings. In 1987, Earvin expanded his franchise into a full-fledged corporation known as Magic Johnson Enterprises, an investment firm focused on the rebuilding of urban centers in the United States. In the past, Johnson has partnered with several big names, including Starbucks and TGI Fridays, to fund charitable causes in cities across the country.
Along with being a CEO, Johnson also has a handful of “side-jobs,” which range from owning a movie theater and talent agency to other ventures such as sports franchises.
3 Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake has also been recently known to carve a name for himself in the business world. He has invested in three restaurants in California, a golf course, and a stake in the Memphis Grizzlies. However, in 2012, he made his biggest investment yet by becoming one of the primary shareholders in the New Myspace. Along with these impressive projects, Timberlake has designed a clothing label for Target and has his own brand of tequila known as 901.
2 Jessica Simpson
Another oft-mentioned celebrity who has transitioned from pop star to successful businesswoman is Jessica Simpson. Her fashion line, JSC (The Jessica Simpson Collection), caters towards mid-range fashion consumers and is the leading celebrity brand currently on the market. Her company was the first to hit $1 billion in sales back in 2004. Since then Jessica has launched an e-commerce beauty online retail store and has also expanded her line to include lingerie, make-up, and fragrances.
1 Oprah Winfrey
Nobody can deny the fact that the Oprah brand is one of the most globally recognized throughout the world, with Winfrey’s endorsements landing more sales than any of the above mentioned celebrities combined.
Her production company, Harpo, produces some of the most popular shows on television today, including those hosted by Rachael Ray and Dr. Phil. Furthermore, her magazine, simply entitled “O,” continues to dominate domestic sales.
Her media empire and television network, OWN, has given her an astonishing combined net worth of $2.3 billion dollars making her not only one of the world’s top celebrity entrepreneurs, but one of the top entrepreneurs in the world overall.
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