Cameron Mackintosh
Cameron Mackintosh has been named the world's first theatre billionaire ranking 1476 on the Forbes list of word's wealthiestREUTERS/Fred Prouser

Sir Cameron Mackintosh started his career in theatre in London as a stage hand and cleaner straight out of school. This was over close to 50 years ago. Since then Mackintosh has made a name from himself that will remain in the echelons of musical theatre history, most recently for becoming the first theatre billionaire in history.

Mackintosh, who has been responsible for stage classics like Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Phantom Of The Opera and Cats, made his way onto the Forbes 2016 list of billionaires and is the first theatre personality to do so.

Alongside his stakes in Cats and Phantom, he also holds the rights to Misérables and Saigon and continues to receive royalties each time a professional company performs the play.

Mackintosh, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996 for services to musical theatre, also owns eight West End theatres and a 75% stake in Music Theater International, the largest licensor of Broadway shows to amateur productions. With a net worth of $1.2bn (£859.9mn), he ranked 1476 on the list.

"Only after Les Misérables did people realize that you could more money in musicals than in movies," he was quoted as saying. "I could make a shilling look like £10 on the stage"—sort of like making a penny into a $10 bill — "I've never really lost that ability."

The billionaire producer now plans to take Broadway mega-hit Hamilton to West End.