Fox
Charles Montgomery Burns owns and operates the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant on the popular FOX animated series, "The Simpsons," and ranks No 5 on Forbes' Fictional 15 list.
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updated 12/2/2005 3:16:38 PM ET 2005-12-02T20:16:38

Collectively, we are fascinated by the super-rich. We devour their biographies. We hang on their advice. Maybe we even hope for their downfall. But in our attempts to explain the ultra-rich — and their super-inflated bank accounts — we are often guilty of reducing real people to mere caricatures. There is the monopolist. The oracle. The genius. The thief.

With the Forbes Fictional 15, we have taken the opposite approach — fiction’s caricatures are elevated to the status of real people.

To qualify for the Fictional 15, we insisted that members be both fictional (in the sense that we excluded mythological and folkloric figures) and characters (meaning they are part of a narrative story or series of stories). Great wealth was required to be one of the primary attributes of the characters on this list — in other words, we looked for characters that were known, within their universes, for being rich.

Of course, there is one notable exception to all these rules: Santa Claus, who is mythological and not really known for his great wealth. Our excuse? We just couldn’t resist. What’s the point of doing a list about fictional characters if you can’t break the rules, at least just a little?

This list is an updated version of an earlier Fictional 15, which we published three years ago. After all, the passage of time affects even the timeless.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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