NEW YORK (Reuters) - A smart and savvy dragon, an aged vampire and a Beverly Hillbilly are among the richest fictional characters, according to a new ranking.
Smaug, a hyper-intelligent, short-tempered dragon and the star of the upcoming "Lord of the Rings" prequel whose estimated worth is a hefty $62 billion, headed the list of Forbes' "Fictional 15" wealthiest imaginary characters, it said on Monday.
The rich dragon distrusts banks, Wall Street and "swears by 'plunder and hoard' investment style," according to Michael Noer and David Ewalt, the editors who compiled the annual list.
But for all his fire-breathing showmanship, Smaug was still not as rich as Carlos Slim Helu, the real-life Mexican magnate and chairman and CEO of Telmex and América Móvil and the world's richest man with a net worth estimated at $69 billion.
Flintheart Glomgold, the Scottish-South African diamond mining magnate and nemesis of misery Scrooge McDuck, wasn't far behind on the list with a $51.9 million fortune, built through "mining and theft," Forbes said.
Glomgold deposed Scrooge McDuck, who was among last year's top earners, after the two engaged in a winner-takes-all, round-the-world race.
With vampire-themed franchises showing no signs mortality, Carlisle Cullen, the 371-year-old vampire from the "Twilight" books and films who has been accruing interest on a small savings account since 1670, placed third with $36.3 billion, up $100 million since last year.
Jed Clampett, the patriarch of the oil-rich "Beverly Hillbillies" clan in the popular 1960s television show was fourth with a fortune estimated at $9.8 billion.
Newcomers included Tony Stark, the engineering whiz and part-time superhero from the "Iron Man" franchise, who rounded out the top five with a $9.3 billion fortune.
Another first-timer was Lisbeth Salandar from the Stieg Larsson novels and hit film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," with a reported wealth of $2.4 billion. She placed eleventh.
To qualify for the list the characters must be known in their fictional stories and by their audiences for being rich.
Forbes based the net worth estimates on an analysis of the character's source material and valued it against known real-world commodity and share price movements.
Forbes editors have compiled the list since 2005, using methods similar to those used to calculate real billionaires like Bill Gates.
The full list can be found at www.forbes.com/fictional15
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Patricia Reaney)