Number of U.S. Billionaires on the Rise, Publication Says

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Ted Turner has his work cut out for him in his quest to dun other wealthy people into giving some of their millions to charity - not only are the rich getting richer, there are more of them.

Forbes magazine said Sunday that its annual list of the United States' 400 richest people includes 170 billionaires this year, up from 135 last year. In 1982, the first year of the Forbes 400, only 13 of them were billionaires.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates tops the list for the fourth consecutive year, again followed by investor Warren Buffett. Gates' net worth more than doubled to $39.8 billion last year, while Buffett gained $6 billion to climb to $21 billion, Forbes said in its issue dated Oct. 13. Turner, who believes the highly publicized list deters people on it from donating their money, ranks 28th at $3.5 billion. Turner, a cable television pioneer, now vice chairman of Time Warner Inc., pledged $1 billion on Sept. 18 to create a foundation to benefit U.N. causes. He said at the time that he plans to pass the hat among his peers to raise even more money for his foundation. "If you're rich, you can expect a letter or a call from me," he said. High-tech industry captains hold most of the list's top spots. Of the first five, only Buffett did not make his fortune in a computer-related field. Following Gates and Buffett are Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen at $17 billion; Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison, $9.2 billion; and Intel Corp. Chairman Gordon Moore, $8.8 billion. Microsoft and Oracle are the world's top two software companies, and Intel is the top producer of computer chips. Other high-tech billionaires on the list include Michael Dell, 32, chairman of the Dell Computer Corp. With $5.5 billion, he is richer than Gates was at that age. William Hewlett, a founder of Hewlett-Packard Co., has $4.1 billion. Low-tech fields also are represented, with entrants including hog farmer Wendell Murphy, $1 billion, and parking lot mogul Monroe Carell Jr. at $600 million. Donald Trump returned to the billionaires' club at $1.4 billion, although the developer told the magazine the number is really $3.7 billion. Oprah Winfrey, who Forbes said two years ago was on track to become America's first black billionaire, moved up 51 spots to 349th at $550 million. She is the only black person on the list. Topping the list from the St. Louis area at 75 is Jack Crawford Taylor of Enterprise Rent-A-Car at $2 billion. The numbers of the really rich are growing so quickly that David Rockefe ller Sr., grandson of John D. Rockefeller, slipped four spots to No. 83 with a net worth of $1.8 billion. Forbes said Gates, 41, also ranks as the world's richest individual. The magazine does not include royalty in its rankings. It estimates the sultan of Brunei is the richest royal, at $38 billion. ****** FORBES MAGAZINE' LIST OF WEALTHIEST AMERICANS Forbes magazine's richest Americans, including those living abroad, with main source of income for top 50, current residence and estimated net worth in billions or millions of dollars. 1. Gates, William H. III, Microsoft, Bellevue, Wash., $39.8 billion. 2. Buffett, Warren Edward, investor, Omaha, Neb., $21. 3. Allen, Paul Gardner, Microsoft, Mercer Island, Wash. $17. 4. Ellison, Lawrence Joseph, Oracle Corp. software, Atherton, Calif., $9.2. 5. Moore, Gordon Earl, Intel Corp. computer chips, Woodside, Calif., $8.8. 6. Ballmer, Steven Anthony, Microsoft, Bellevue, Wash., $8.3. 7. Kluge, John Werner, investments, Charlottesville, Va., $7.8. 8. Perelman, Ronald Owen, investments, New York, $6.5. 9. Walton, Jim C., Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Ark., $6.5. 10. Walton, Helen R., Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Ark. …