Bill Gates may be on the brink of middle age, but he can take comfort in being nearly $2 billion richer than he was in July.
Gates, who turns 40 this month, outdid his friend Warren Buffett to take the title of the richest American again in the annual list of the nation’s 400 wealthiest individuals published by Forbes magazine.
According to the Forbes list released Sunday, the Microsoft Corp. chairman is worth an estimated $14.8 billion, or about $370 million for every year he’s been alive. That’s up from the net worth of $12.9 billion Forbes estimated in July. The vast majority of Gates’ net worth is tied up in Microsoft stock.
Omaha-based investor Buffett finished second at $11.8 billion, and radio and television tycoon John Kluge third at $6.7 billion. Gates’ Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen finished fourth at $6.1 billion, and Viacom Chief Executive Sumner Redstone fifth at $4.8 billion.
California is the state most represented on the latest Forbes 400 with 82 people, followed by New York at 54.
Well-known Californians among the 94 billionaires include Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Larry Ellison at $4.2 billion, computer pioneer David Packard at $3.7 billion, Newport Beach’s Donald Bren of the Irvine Co. at $2 billion and Rancho Santa Fe’s Joan Kroc, of the McDonald’s fast-food fortune, at $1.6 billion.
The entertainment industry accounts for many of California’s wealthiest, including Fox Inc. owner Rupert Murdoch at $3.3 billion, former Twentieth Century Fox owner Marvin Davis at $2 billion, music mogul David Geffen at $1.3 billion, director Steven Spielberg at $700 million and MCA Chairman Emeritus Lew R. Wasserman at $400 million.
Breaking into the list for the first time is Oprah Winfrey, who, at $340 million, ranks399th. She owns “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and has a major stake in distributor King World Productions.