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Every year, Forbes magazine ranks the 15 richest tycoons, entrepreneurs, and plutocrats in the world of fiction. But this clutch of characters from novels, movies, TV shows, and comic books aren't too far removed from their colorful counterparts in the real business world. Here's a quick review of some of this year's top imaginary billionaires, and their closest doppelgangers.
No. 1: Carlisle Cullen from Twilight, $34.5 billion
This stunningly handsome vampire patriarch is ageless, sparkly in direct sunlight, a doctor -- and he owns an entire island off the coast of South America. In his musty crypt in Transylvania, Dracula's seething with envy.
In reality: Steve Jobs of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . He's the CEO of the tech world's biggest company by market cap, sitting atop a gargantuan hoard of cash as consumers clamor to buy his iPhones, iPads, and Macs. He's always dressed in black, and though he's recovering nicely from his recent liver transplant, he still looks a bit on the pallid and spectral side. And while he may not sparkle in the sunlight, Apple's products are certainly shiny enough.
No. 2: Scrooge McDuck, $33.5 billion
You'd think that any waterfowl with a skyscraper-sized vault of money would top the list, but I guess the additional security expenses of keeping out those thieving Beagle Boys have knocked Scrooge down the rankings a bit. A self-made duck whose bluster conceals a noble heart, Scrooge clings tenaciously to every dime, despite his fantastic wealth.
In reality: Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A ) (NYSE: BRK-B ) . He's similarly old-fashioned and value-focused, having once quipped that his first and only rule was "Never lose money." Like Scrooge, Buffett made his fortune the slow, patient way, through relentless fiscal discipline and careful investments. And while Buffett probably doesn't swim laps in a giant pool of coins, we can totally see him doing so.
No. 4: Tony Stark, $8.8 billion
Being a peerless inventor and a fantastically wealthy CEO isn't enough for Tony Stark. He's also an amateur race-car driver, philanthropist, world-class party animal, and oh yes -- a superhero, thanks to his Iron Man armor. On the flip side, he struggles with alcoholism, there are fatal chunks of shrapnel buried in his chest, and people in giant metal suits are always trying to kill him. Yeah, we still kinda want to be him anyway.
In reality: Larry Ellison of Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) . In the tech world, no one lives larger -- or boasts louder -- than this yacht-racing, supercar-loving, jet-flying superstar. How insanely rich is Larry Ellison? According to Wired magazine, he uses an entire drained swimming pool as a subwoofer for his rock-concert-sized home theater system. No wonder he turned up for a cameo in Iron Man 2.
No. 6: Adrian Veidt, $7 billion
Better known as the ex-superhero Ozymandias from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' graphic novel Watchmen (and its subsequent movie version), Veidt used his prodigious intellect to fight supercrime and conquer the business world. After making billions almost effortlessly, this boyish genius decided to save the planet -- by any means necessary.
In reality: Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) . This brainy -- and occasionally ruthless -- ubernerd has given up software to pour his billions into fighting malaria and other massive global problems through the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. Like Veidt, he's also not above theatrical scare tactics to prod people into action. At a 2009 tech conference, Gates unleashed a swarm of (thankfully malaria-free) mosquitoes onto a startled crowd. Veidt (spoiler alert!) destroyed half of Manhattan to ensure world peace. We definitely like Gates' version better.
No. 12: C. Montgomery Burns, $1.3 billion
From blotting out the sun to ensure steady customers for his nuclear power plant, to adopting a passel of greyhound puppies just to make a coat out of them, there's no depth to which this deceptively fragile plutocrat won't sink. That said, he does have a very nice singing voice.
In reality: Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS ) , parent company of Fox Broadcasting and the 20th Century Fox movie studio, among other enterprises. Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? The Keanu Reeves remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. The cancellation of Firefly. We rest our case.
Check out the full list of fictional financiers, from Bruce Wayne to Lucille Bluth, and tell us who you'd pick as their real-life doubles in the comments box below.