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The richest actors in the world

Here is a list of the top ten richest actors in the world. They are famous in varying degrees — but all have become very wealthy during their careers. Some have been paid huge amounts for individual movies, while many have gone into directing and producing to supplement their incomes.

Some have also gone into other areas of business, or made good investments during the lifetimes. Many have gone from rags to riches. Let’s look at the top ten richest actors in the world, counting down to number one.

Who are the Richest Actors in the world?

10 Clint Eastwood

Net Worth: $375 million
Native Country: USA

Clint Eastwood. Pic credit: Siebbi CC BY 2.0
Clint Eastwood’s career has spanned more than 60 years. Pic credit: Siebbi CC BY 2.0

Clint Eastwood was born Clinton Eastwood Jr. in 1930 in San Francisco, as the son of a steelworker. He found work in many B-films and TV series in the 50s, before gaining more recognition by starring in Italian spaghetti westerns in the 60s.

The 70s were some of his best film years, when he played in hits including Play Misty For Me and Every Which Way But Loose.

The 80s and 90s were also rewarding, with Clint starring in several big-grossing films. Even a four-year film hiatus did not tarnish his star later in his career, as he grossed $30million for the film Gran Torino in 2008.

He has also produced a few well-received films including Grown Ups 2. His awards include A Kid’s Choice Award, a Golden Globe, three Oscars, and two British Academy Film Awards.

9 Bill Cosby

Net Worth: $390 million
Native Country: USA

Bill Cosby was born William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. on July 12th, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of four brothers, his father was a steward in the U.S. Navy, often away for long periods. After High School Cosby followed his father into the Navy and spent four years as a Hospital Corpsman.

He then attended Temple University to study physical education. It was during this time that his already growing knack for making people laugh came to the fore. He began doing stand-up and left his course to chase a career in showbiz.

Working dates in Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago he got a break when he appear on The Tonight Show in 1963. This led to a contract with Warner Bros. Records who put out several popular comedy albums featuring Cosby.

In 1983 he released a concert movie called Bill Cosby: Himself. Many of his peers cite this as leading directly to his TV success.

Cosby had mixed results with shows including The Bill Cosby Show and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids before the debut of The Cosby Show in 1984.

The weekly show went on to become one of the highest ranking sitcoms ever, being one of the few shows to have been number one in Nielsen Ratings for five consecutive seasons.

Since The Cosby Show finished in 1992 he has appeared in numerous movies and TV Shows.

In the last few years Cosby has had several claims of sexual assault made against him resulting in three Class II Felony charges of aggravated indecent assault being filed against him in 2015 in addition to various civil cases.

8 Sylvester Stallone

Net Worth: $400 million
Native Country: USA

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone is thought to be worth at least $400 million. Pic credit: Gage Skidmore under CC license.

Sylvester Stallone was born July 6th, 1946, in New York City.

His father was an Italian immigrant and hairdresser. His mother an astrologer, dancer and beautician of French and Ukrainian descent.

One of Stallone’s trademarks as an actor is his slight snarl and slurred speech but this was actually caused when a nerve was damaged during his birth.

After not doing very well at school, Stallone at one point ended up close to homeless so took a part in an adult movie called The Party at Kitty and Stud’s. After his Rocky success it was re-released as Italian Stallion.

In 1970 Stallone started to land minor film roles including parts in Woody Allen’s Bananas and Klute, both in 1971.

Over the next few years he earned himself a starring role in The Lords of Flatbush and had a supporting part in the cult movie Death Race 2000.

He also appeared on some popular TV series such as Kojak and Police Story.

In 1975 he penned the script for Rocky and pitched it to various studios, only agreeing to sign if he starred as the lead. The film was a huge commercial and critical hit. Rocky was nominated for ten Oscars and won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing.

Rocky II followed in 1979 and grossed $200 million.

Not content with having just one hit franchise, in 1981 Stallone made John Rambo a household name with First Blood.

Over the next few decades he had mixed success with the likes of Cobra, Tango & Cash and Rocky V. Things looked a little tired for Stallone but in 1993 he made the climbing action movie Cliffhanger and followed it with the likes of Judge Dredd, The Specialist and Daylight – all of which did well at the box office once you include overseas takings.

Other notable successes were the thriller Cop Land in 1997, Rock Balboa in 2006 and his other series continued with Rambo in 2008.

In 2010 he created another franchise with The Expendables, which he wrote, directed and starred in. There have been two sequels so far featuring action heroes like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lungren and Mickey Rourke.

In 2015 he released Creed, the seventh in the Rocky series. Stallone reprised his character Rocky in a supporting role for the son of his former opponent Apollo Creed. The film saw Stallone win a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and get a nod for the same from the Academy.

His knack for creating hugely success movie franchises that have become part of everyday culture has made Stallone one of the richest actors around.

7 Jack Nicholson

Net Worth: $400 million
Native Country: USA

Jack Nicholson. Pic credit: TRF_Mr_Hyde CC BY 2.0
Jack Nicholson with his trademark shades. Pic credit: TRF_Mr_Hyde CC BY 2.0

Jack Nicholson is one of Hollywood’s most respected and heralded actors. He was born in New Jersey in 1937 as John Joseph Nicholson, Jr. His mother was a beautician and his father was a self-employed painter and window dresser.

But his father later left the family and Jack was raised by his mother and two sisters. He did well in school and studied drama. After graduating, he moved in with his sister June to Los Angeles and took a job as a gopher at MGM Studios while taking acting lessons before his first break came in 1958 in film The Cry Baby Killer.

His movie career then took off and he continues to work today, as well as remaining a confirmed bachelor.

He got paid $12,500 for the 1970 movie On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. In 1975 he made $1million after starring in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and he made $12.5 million for 1976 hit Missouri Breaks.

His pictures continue to soar later in his career, with his role in 2003’s Anger Management earning him $20million and helping make him one of the richest actors around.

6 Johnny Depp

Net Worth: $420 million
Native Country: USA

Johnny Depp. Pic credit: Andy Templeton CC BY 2.0
Johnny Depp, best known today for his role in Pirates of the Caribbean. Pic credit: Andy Templeton CC BY 2.0

John Christopher Depp II was born in 1963 in Florida. He came from a close-knit family, with a father who was a city engineer and a mother who worked as a waitress. He has a brother who works in the industry and two sisters, one of whom is his personal manager. School did not challenge Johnny so he left at age 15 to become a rock musician.

He fronted many garage bands until, a few years later, he was introduced to actor Nicholas Cage who helped him get his first screen roles, such as in A Nightmare on Elm Street and 21 Jump Street, where he received $45,000 per episode.

Top directors like Tim Burton and Wes Craven loved his dark and eccentric side and cast him in many financially popular movies. Despite the press often being very critical of Depp’s roles, he has amassed millions of fans worldwide making him a box office bonanza.

Johnny grossed over  $200million alone for his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.  Throughout his career he has received much acclaim, including a Golden Globe award, but he has never been given an Oscar.

He states that he does not watch any of his films, and his favorite love is still music.

His initial roles paid him around $100 each, but by the early 90s he was grossing huge sums, including $7million for his work in the 1993 movie In The Line of Fire. Clint is also an acclaimed filmmaker and director, and has won four Academy Awards and three Golden Globes.

5 Mel Gibson

Net Worth: $425 million
Native Country: USA

Mel Gibson is one of the richest actors in the world. Pic credit: drcliffordchoi CC BY 2.0
Mel Gibson, who remains one of the richest actors in the world. Pic credit: drcliffordchoi CC BY 2.0

Mel Colum-Cille Gerard Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York, as the sixth of eleven children to his Irish Catholic parents Hutton Gibson and Anne Patricia.

His parents were among the working poor, but in 1968 Hutton received $145,000 compensation from an injury at his work.

He immediately bought tickets to Australia for his whole family. Mel’s Aussie accent was acquired in 1968 when he moved down under and was teased by the locals about his US drawl.

Gibson started his acting career in Australia, after graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

His success comes from his talents as an actor, director, screenwriter, and film producer. After he secured a name for himself as a good looking, talented actor, his earnings skyrocketed.

He received $500,000 for his role in The River, $1.2 million for Mad Max, and $10million for Lethal Weapon 3.

In later years he began receiving more than $20million per film.

His top grossing movies, which paid him over $25million each, were Lethal Weapon 4, The Patriot, We Were Soldiers, and Signs.

Mel Gibson owns mansions in California, Costa Rica, and Malibu. He also owns an island in Fiji and has his own private jet.

4 Tyler Perry

Net Worth: £450million
Native Country: USA

Tyler Perry was born Emmitt Perry Jr. on September 13th, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

He had a mixed childhood with his carpenter father frequently beating him, contrasted against his churchy mother who was kinder. He later took his mother’s second name.

Perry was inspired to start writing by something he saw on Oprah and began penning letters to himself that eventually morphed into the musical I Know I’ve Been Changed.

He later self-financed the musical in community theater and although it was not a huge critical hit, he persisted and eventually gathered a loyal following.

Since then his stage shows have sold over $100 million in tickets, DVDs and merchandise.

Perry has also directed and starred in several very profitable movies including Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion and Madea Goes to Jail.

Although not always a critical success, the domestic box office has always performed well for his films and the small budget movies have been highly profitable. For example Diary of a Mad Black Woman cost $5.5 million  to make but grossed $50.6 million.

TV shows include Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, which ran for eight seasons, and Meet the Browns.

All this writing, acting and producing has made Perry a very wealthy man indeed.

3 Tom Cruise

Net Worth: £475million
Native Country: USA

Tom Cruise. Pic credit: Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0
Tom Cruise. Pic credit: Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0

Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV to a father who was an electrical engineer, and a schoolteacher mother. His parents were always moving to keep work, taking him and his three sisters with them. He did not get along with his father, whom he considered to be a bully.

At age 14 he joined a Franciscan seminary, but after a year he left before attending a high school in Louisville, Kentucky, where he became interested in acting and took on several lead roles. After graduating high school, he headed to New York City, where he studied drama with renowned coaches.

His film debut came in 1981 in Taps, where he gained immediate recognition as a strong actor — and he hasn’t stopped since.

The industry has honored Tom with three Golden Globe awards, and three Oscar nominations.

His highest grossing films have included Mission Impossible ($180million); A Few Good Men ($141million); Rain Man ($172million); Top Gun ($176million); Jerry Maguire ($158million); The Firm ($158million); and Mission Impossible 2 ($215million).

2 Shahrukh Khan

Net Worth: $600 million
Native Country: India

Shahrukh Khan is also nicknamed the King Khan of Bollywood. He was born and raised in India’s capital Delhi and has a Masters Degree in Mass Communication.

He is the richest actor in India. Shahrukh began his career in TV and has since worked in over 75 Hindi films.

He also owns various business ventures that add to his wealth, including a successful cricket team.

Shahrukh is a legend in his home country and is highly sought-after to as a presenter at ceremonies across the country.

His films have included the romantic and Indian patriotic films DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Swades, and Chakde India!

He is a keen football, cricket and hockey player.

1 Jerry Seinfeld

Net Worth: $820 million
Native Country: USA

Jerry Seinfeld was born Jerome Allen “Jerry” Seinfeld on April 29th, 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. His grandparents are of Jewish decent from Ukraine and Syria.

Seinfeld graduated with a degree in communications and theatre. His early work was stand-up at college and trying his hand at various open mic nights around New York City.

After a few small roles in sitcoms he created what would become Seinfeld with Larry David.

The show debuted on NBC in 1988 and within a few years was the most popular show in America and a huge hit all over the world.

This massive and long-standing success has made Seinfeld the richest actor in the world.

This list of richest actors was last modified on March 21st 2016.

Are you a fan of any of the actors on this list? Have you met any of them, or know any good stories about them? Let us know in the comment section below.

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years, previously as an editor at the... read more
Julian Cheatle


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