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NEW YORK CITY (AFP) – Angelina Jolie has topped Forbes magazine’s annual list of top-earning actresses after pulling in an estimated $33 million in a year marked by her decision to have a double mastectomy.

Last year’s top earner Kirsten Stewart slipped to third in the list with $22m, behind Jolie and second-placed Jennifer Lawrence, whose Oscar for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook helped her pick up $26 million.

Jolie’s bumper earnings year reflected her return to blockbusters with the 38-year-old having signed up to star in Disney’s Maleficent, a new version of Sleeping Beauty which began filming last month and is due for release in 2014.

The film is the celebrated beauty’s first since she revealed in May that she had undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery after being diagnosed as having a gene which gives her a very high chance of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

The decision to go public over a choice influenced by the loss of her mother to ovarian cancer at the age of 56 was widely praised as empowering for other women facing a similar dilemma, and appears to have had no impact on Jolie’s standing in the business.

“Hollywood hasn’t shied away from Jolie,” Forbes reporter Dorothy Pomerantz wrote. “She’s still one of the few actresses who can demand a paycheck north of $15 million for the right movie.”

Lawrence meanwhile earned relatively modest fees for her Oscar Best Actress role and for starring in the hugely successful first movie in The Hunger Games series.

But, according to Forbes, she was able to leverage that success into much bigger cheques for the upcoming Catching Fire, which hits theaters in November, and for co-starring in the next X-Men film, Days of Future Past.

Stewart’s fortunes meanwhile appear to be on the wane now that another mega-hit franchise, the Twilight series, is finished.

Former Friends star Jennifer Aniston placed four on the list with estimated earnings of $20 million while newcomer Emma Stone came fifth, with $16 million.

Photo Credit: AFP/Toru Yamanaka

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