It takes a special kind of person to thrive in the Hollywood film industry. Many people may believe that acting is the only way to earn extravagant amounts of money, but there are plenty of other industry jobs such as directing, producing, and screenwriting that can earn hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars.
Here are the richest people in the entertainment world who know what it takes to make the big bucks.
George Lucas – $6.4 Billion
George Lucas is one of the richest people in the film industry and one of the few well-known billionaires. He’s attached to some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters including the Star Wars film franchise and the Indiana Jones series. All of this success has given him a ridiculously large net worth of $6.4 billion.
All of this money is more than enough for Lucas, so he spends his time donating to various philanthropic causes. He also signed the Giving Pledge, which was his promise to give away at least half of his wealth during his lifetime.
Steven Spielberg – $3.7 Billion
The directing and writing credits for Steven Spielberg are quite impressive with films including Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and so many more. This has caused him to be the top-grossing director of all time.
Not only does Spielberg profit from his various roles in the film industry, but he also gets a cut of every ticket sold at Universal Studios because his movies were used as inspirations for many of the rides. His current net worth is equivalent to around $3.7 billion, making him one of the wealthiest media moguls in the world.
Oprah Winfrey – $2.8 Billion
This is a real rags-to-riches story. Oprah Winfrey was born in rural Mississippi and grew up in extreme poverty. By the time she reached her early 20s she was working as a local news correspondent and eventually got her own talk show called The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Her program lasted for 25 years and caused her to become a global household name. By making good investments and building a media empire she gained a net worth of $2.8 billion. To top it all off she also has created a successful acting career in movies such as The Color Purple, Selma, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Jerry Seinfeld – $950 Million
With a net worth totaling $950 million, Jerry Seinfeld is just $50 million short of becoming a billionaire. Most of his fans know him for his titular role on the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld and his more recent celebrity talk show called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
On Seinfeld, he earned a whopping $1 million per episode and the network was prepared to offer him more if he extended the show for another season. Seinfeld has now shied away from acting and prefers going back to his stand-up roots. He also has a deep passion for cars with a collection of over 150.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – $18 Million
We keep seeing that some people who start out as kid stars go on to amass large fortunes if they’re smart with their money. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT to fans) is a great example of that. Best known for playing Randy Taylor in the ’90s sitcom Home Improvement, Thomas has had many smaller roles in television and movies in the years since.
Having been recognized for his on-screen and voice-acting talents, this former hearthrob has accumulated a net worth of about $18 million over his career.
Keanu Reeves – $360 Million
Keanu Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Toronto, Canada where he grew up playing ice hockey and performing in theatre productions. He began his professional career in the 1980s and shot to superstardom in the 1994 movie Speed. Reeves is best known for his leading role in the Matrix film trilogy.
Currently, he has a net worth of around $360 million, but he doesn’t love living to excess. Reeves often donates his money to various charities or pitches in to help meet the budgets of his films.
Tyler Perry – $600 Million
One of the busiest people in the entertainment industry is Tyler Perry. With films including Diary of a Mad Black Woman, the Madea movie series, and I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Perry has proved he can act, write, produce, and direct to make some of the most successful blockbuster hits and plays.
He also opened up his own production company in Atlanta, Georgia, now one of the largest film and TV lots of all time. Perry was also able to forge a partnership with Oprah Winfrey writing scripted content for OWN. As of 2020 his net worth is estimated to be about $600 million.
Tom Cruise – $570 Million
Being one of the most famous actors in Hollywood history can really pay off. Tom Cruise is now worth around $570 million after working in the film industry for almost 40 years. Some of his most notable credits include Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, and the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Cruise can also add producer to his resume. He and his former talent agent, Paula Wagner, took over the film studio United Artists where he produces and acts in their films. The work isn’t slowing down for him because he currently has five separate projects in production.
George Clooney – $500 Million
According to Business Insider, George Clooney makes $27,283 every hour, which means his net worth equates to around $500 million. A good chunk of his earnings are from his widely successful acting career in films such as Up in the Air, The Ides of March, and The Descendants, and product endorsements for Nespresso.
Clooney stepped aside from the entertainment world to get the rest of his riches. His private business venture was recently bought for $700 million with Clooney receiving a massive cut of the profits. This Oscar winner clearly has a million different directions as to where his career can go.
Mel Gibson – $425 Million
Mel Gibson is one of eleven children and he spent his early years studying drama in Australia. He began his professional acting career in the mid-1970s and is best known for roles in Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, and Braveheart. Not only has Gibson played iconic roles, but he wrote and directed many of his projects as well.
His various roles in the film industry have given him a net worth equivalent to $425 million. Gibson is also a property investor with multiple sites in Malibu, Costa Rica, Australia, and the private Mago Island, in Fiji.
Adam Sandler – $420 Million
Funnyman Adam Sandler’s net worth proves that comedy is profitable. All of his features have grossed over $2 billion at the box office, leaving him with a net worth of $420 million. His acting credits in movies such as The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, and Happy Gilmore catapulted him to become one of the top comedians in the world.
In 1999 Sandler formed his film production company called Happy Madison Productions, which is mostly where he has been making films since. Most recently he and his production company signed a four-movie deal with Netflix and his 2019 installment became their most-watched program of the year.
Jack Nicholson – $400 Million
Even though it’s been a decade since Jack Nicholson has acted he remains one of the richest people in the entertainment industry with a net worth of $400 million. His roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining, Chinatown, and more have left a lasting mark with fans around the world.
Nicholson also dabbled in producing, writing, and directing, but people may not know that he is an avid art collector. He mostly collects 20th-century and contemporary art including the works of Andy Warhol, Jack Vettriano, Henri Matisse, and Tamara de Lempicka.
Sylvester Stallone – $400 Million
For those who’ve ever wondered how Sylvester Stallone got his signature snarl and slurred speech, it all happened during his birth. When his mother was in labor the obstetricians were forced to use two sets of forceps that severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of his lips, tongue, and chin.
That one mistake may have helped Stallone become a top movie star because he used his uniqueness for his roles in the Rocky franchise, Rambo, and much more. Not only did he act in these titles, but he also did much of the writing, producing, and directing. His net worth is now $400 million.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – $400 Million
Arnold Schwarzenegger became one of the richest people in Hollywood shortly after becoming one of the wealthiest bodybuilders of all time. His film roles date back to the early 1970s and his fans mostly recognize him for movies including the Terminator franchise, Predator, and Kindergarten Cop.
Both before he became a movie star and while he was working in the film industry, Schwarzenegger created several profitable business ventures such as a bricklaying company, investments, a restaurant, and commercial advertisements. All of this wealth piled up over the years and got Schwarzenegger to a net worth of $400 million.
Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen – $400 Million
Twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen began their acting career sharing the role of Michelle Tanner on the hit 1990s sitcom Full House while they were still in diapers. The rest of their childhood and teenage years were spent filming direct-to-video movies under their own production company and starting their very first fashion line.
The Olsen twins became the youngest pair of self-made millionaires by the age of 10 and in 2020 their combined net worth rounds out at $400 million. While they’ve decided to retire from acting they now run some coveted high-end fashion companies in New York.
Clint Eastwood – $375 Million
Clint Eastwood is one of the longest-lasting members of the entertainment industry. His first acting credit was in 1955 and over 65 years later he’s still doing what he loves. From acting, producing, directing, and composing there isn’t much that Eastwood hasn’t accomplished. The Oscars have recognized him with eight nominations and four wins, for movies including Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.
During his time away from the film set Eastwood likes to golf, practice Transcendental Meditation, and play music. Eastwood’s long and fulfilling career has earned him a total of $375 million.
Jackie Chan – $400 Million
While some child stars prefer to leave the spotlight when they reach adulthood, others believe their career is only getting started. Jackie Chan got his first acting credit around the age of five or six in Big and Little Wong Tin Bar and has consistently worked in the industry since.
Chan has taken on more jobs than most entertainers, with 141 acting credits and numerous others in stunts, producing, directing, writing, music, cinematography, editorial, and more. His wealth continues to grow every year and currently stands at around $400 million.
Sean Connery – $350 Million
Sean Connery retired from acting many years ago, but he still remains one of the richest people in the entertainment industry with about $350 million to his name. Connery decided to go into acting in the early 1950s after helping out backstage at the King’s Theatre in Scotland.
As soon as he got the part of James Bond he quickly became a worldwide sensation and went on to star in other blockbusters including The Untouchables, The Rock, and Finding Forrester. Connery was also given the special privilege of being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Tom Hanks – $400 Million
Tom Hanks is an actor who continually makes movies that people want to see. After being in the business for 40 years his total world box office gross comes out to $9.7 billion and domestic lifetime box office gross is $4.6 billion. Even though Hanks’ own net worth isn’t in the billions he manages to come out strong with around $400 million.
Over the course of his career, he has been nominated for six Oscars and received two wins for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. Various sources list Hanks in the number one spot for “The Best Actors in Film History.”
Will Smith – $350 Million
Before the age of 20, Will Smith was already a millionaire for his rap career and TV role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Soon after, he went on to star in numerous blockbuster movies including the Men in Black franchise, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Hancock.
His ability to keep up with his leading man status paid off because he is now worth about $350 million. Smith lives his life with a strong view of spirituality and donates portions of his money to fund various religious and faith-based organizations.
Jerry Bruckheimer – $1 Billion
Staying out of the spotlight in the entertainment industry can still be a viable option. Jerry Bruckheimer became a billionaire with a net worth of $1 billion for producing a multitude of popular films and television shows. These include Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Pirates of the Caribbean, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
All together, his movies have grossed several billion dollars at the box office. Bruckheimer also chooses to invest his money in sports. He is the co-founder and co-majority owner of the future National Hockey League team in Seattle, Washington.
James Cameron – $700 Million
With some of Hollywood’s most popular films under his belt, James Cameron has become a legendary writer, producer, editor, and director. Film buffs may recognize his work in films such as Avatar, Titanic, Aliens, and the Terminator franchise. His epic movies have earned him numerous Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, and more.
Cameron’s career dates back to the late 1970s and all of his effort in the film industry has given him a net worth of around $700 million. Many of his movies have extremely large budgets that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but he’s still able to make a profit at the box office.
Peter Jackson – $500 Million
Avid readers of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels got to see their favorite characters come alive on the big screen thanks in part to Peter Jackson. He is the writer, producer, and director behind The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit film franchises and his total filmography has grossed over $6.5 billion worldwide.
Since he’s Hollywood’s third-highest grossing film director of all time he has established a standard for what a blockbuster should look like. Currently, he has many projects in production including a highly anticipated documentary about the Beatles. His net worth is estimated to be around $500 million.
Michael Bay – $430 Million
Michael Bay broke into the entertainment industry interning for George Lucas during the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He continued his career by making music videos for artists such as Tina Turner, Donny Osmond, and Lionel Richie, but is best known for directing and producing some huge blockbusters.
His work in films such as the Transformers franchise, Armageddon, and The Rock has caused him to be one of the most commercially successful directors in history with a worldwide gross of $7.8 billion. Bay is also one of the highest-paid directors, with a net worth of $430 million.
Joel Silver – $400 Million
Producing is one of the most important jobs in the entertainment industry and someone who knows that very well is Joel Silver. He currently has 119 producing credits under his belt and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Silver has produced tons of movies and television shows including Veronica Mars, the Lethal Weapon franchise, and The Matrix.
During his college years he and his friends ended up creating the rules of what is now known as “Ultimate Frisbee” and he was later inducted into the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame. His net worth is estimated to be $400 million.
Brian Grazer – $400 Million
Fans of actor/director Ron Howard may recognize his partner in crime, Brian Grazer. The two of them launched their production company, Imagine Entertainment, in 1986 and the films they’ve produced have amassed a $13 billion gross. Once voted one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Grazer is now worth about $400 million.
Grazer has received four nominations from the Academy Awards including a Best Picture win for A Beautiful Mind, which he shared with Howard. He is probably one of the busiest producers in the world with at least 13 projects currently in production.
Michael Douglas – $300 Million
Acting has been a part of Michael Douglas’ world since before he can remember. His parents, the late Kirk Douglas and Diana Dill, were both acting before he was even born, so he decided to follow in their footsteps. Douglas is best known for roles in Wall Street, Fatal Attraction, and Basic Instinct.
Even well into his 70s, he continues to bring in a faithful audience that will gladly watch many of his projects. Also, he doesn’t just act, but is an active director and producer. His current net worth is estimated at $300 million.
Brad Pitt – $300 Million
Brad Pitt has become one of the most famous actors in the world. His movies gross millions of dollars at the box office and consistently get recognized by the Academy Awards. In conjunction with his acting, Pitt has also taken on the job of producer since 2006.
Pitt’s private life is almost always under scrutiny by the public whether it be about his love life, children, co-star feuds, or more. One of the upsides to his massive fame is his paycheck. Pitt’s net worth is now around $300 million.
Robert Downey Jr. – $300 Million
Many actors come from colorful backgrounds and that rings true for Robert Downey Jr. He grew up with parents already in the entertainment industry, so he was naturally able to start acting at a young age. Unfortunately, he was exposed to a lot of things children shouldn’t be doing at a young age and that caused him to suffer later on in his life.
Eventually, Downey Jr. started to get more control of his personal issues and quickly became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. His net worth is estimated to be about $300 million.
Robert De Niro – $500 Million
For the last five decades, one of the few things that has stayed consistent in the film industry is Robert De Niro. His breakthrough role came in 1974 as Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II, which led to his first Oscar win. This kept his momentum going with numerous iconic parts in movies such as Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, Awakenings, Cape Fear, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Irishman.
He has produced and directed a good portion of his acting jobs, which caused him to earn a net worth of $500 million. Outside of the entertainment industry, De Niro invests in various properties in New York and the island of Barbuda.
Leonardo DiCaprio – $260 Million
Leonardo DiCaprio was bit by the acting bug as early as 2-years-old performing at a local festival. He booked his first role by the age of five and became a breakout star in the 1993 movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. His current filmography is something to marvel at with leading roles in Inception, Romeo + Juliet, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Titanic.
He is also very active in philanthropic endeavors and environmental activism spending a lot of time and money trying to make the planet a better place. With about 40 years in the entertainment industry, DiCaprio has accumulated a net worth of $260 million.