Even Oprah Feels the Economy's Pain

Forbes' 400 most rich list proves last year was a hard one

By Nicola Orichuia
|  Friday, Oct 2, 2009  |  Updated 2:47 PM CDT
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What do you mean I lost $400 million?

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Losing $400 million in one year… that’s gotta hurt.

Forbes Magazine’s annual list of 400 richest people in the United States reported that popular TV-show host and Chicago icon Oprah Winfrey lost $400 million between 2008 and 2009.

Despite her losses, Oprah still managed to gain 14 positions compared to last year, going from 155th to 141st richest in the nation, with an estimated net worth of $2.3 billion.

More than 75 percent of the people listed had reported losses amid one of the nation’s toughest economic crises.

In fact, with the exception of Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison, who stayed third with $27 billion, everyone in the top 10 is a tad poorer. Microsoft Corp. owner Bill Gates reported $7 billion less, from $57 billion to $50 billion, and Warren Buffet saw his riches decrease by a fifth, from $50 billion to $40 billion.

Members of the Walton family, owners of Wal-Mart, reported losses between $1.7 billion and $4.3 billion.

Tribune owner Sam Zell was the top Chicagoan on the list, ranking 77th with $3.8 billion, followed by Ty Warner, owner of Beanie Babies, who ranked 94th with $3.2 billion.
 

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