THE leap from Staines to the heights of Hollywood has been, well, massive.

Now Sacha Baron Cohen – who sprang to fame as Ali G – has become Britain’s highest-earning actor in America and outranks even Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks in the money league.

Last year he raked in £20million, in large part thanks to the release of The Dictator, in which he starred as the despot General Aladeen.

The figures – for May 2011 to May 2012 – also include payment for being the voice of King Julien the lemur in Madagascar 3.

In his most recent role he played swindling innkeeper Thernardier in Les Miserables.

The impressive takings would have seemed unlikely when Cohen first appeared on Channel 4 as Ali G, the leader of the ‘Staines massive’ with a penchant for bright shellsuits and medallions.

Baron Cohen, 41, was initially treated with apprehension but went on to become a global success with the hit comedies Borat and Bruno. The actor grew up in north London before going to Cambridge University. He is married to actress Isla Fisher, 37. They have two daughters, Olive, five, and Elula, two.

Despite his earnings, the comedy star failed to make the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, because he is said not to be famous enough in the US.

The list was led by Tom Cruise, who earned £48million last year, while Tom Hanks made £17million and Brad Pitt banked £16million. - Daily Mail