The 25 Most Powerful, Rich Actresses in Hollywood Today
Actors and actresses make a lot of money if they hit the big screen and become a top name, no question. But what exactly is “big money” in acting? After all, we hear all the time about starving thespians, and then one becomes the in-demand actor that pull down an unbelievable paycheck. Well, in the world of actresses, both acting and looks matter a lot, and here’s how much:
1. Emma Watson, $60 million
The supporting actress for the Harry Potter series has made quite a name for herself since that first movie about a boy wizard came out, and she wasn’t even the lead role. Since then, Watson has played in a number of other movies, from being Noah’s daughter during the big flood to hitting the public speaking stage for women’s rights. In the meantime, her acting income is one to be jealous of.
2. Halle Berry, $70 million
Halle Berry may seem like a name from the 2000s when she was catching a lot of billing from roles like Catwoman and playing opposite Billy Bob Thornton. However, her bank account is a bona fide couple of big digits well into the millionaire bracket. In fact, she probably wouldn’t have to work another day in her life with the current balance.
3. Reese Witherspoon, $80 million
As an actress, Witherspoon first came to people’s attention with her hit movie, Legally Blonde. Since then the actress and mother has been quite active in searching for and catching interesting storyline movies. She played the lead role in Wild, a biography movie of a woman who set out to hike the Pacific Coast Trail alone to find balance in her life again.
4. Salma Hayek, $85 million
Originally from Mexico (which is why she speaks Spanish onscreen so well), Hayek was raised in Los Angeles and is well-versed in the Hollywood world. Her savvy, performance on-screen, and good choices of roles has earned her a very comfortable income for family and retirement. Not one to stick with roles where she is the damsel in distress, Hayek has recently been catching a lot of work where she plays a downright mean and evil villain.
5. Kate Winslet, $90 million
Since her love eyes and tragedy portrayed opposite Leonardo DiCaprio played out on Titanic, Winslet has been on a steady rise and lull of movies. From real life role of being a mom to playing corporate villains in the future, Winslet as pulled in a very comfortable flow of income to her personal bank account. And her acting agent isn’t complaining either given the commission potential on the same.
6. Sarah Jessica Parker, $90 million
Thanks to her starring role in Sex in the City, Parker has pulled in a very comparable income, probably even more so than her actor husband, Matthew Broderick. While her hit TV show is now long over, Parker has been involved in multiple other projects and will likely find a future spot for herself in TV shows to come or the big screen. Her resume is quite extensive, dating back to early roles in Footloose with Kevin Bacon and Flight of the Navigator.
7. Cameron Diaz, $90 million
She’s been the ditzy, cute blonde in many roles, but Cameron Diaz has also played multiple comedies and even evil characters with a genius streak as well. Off-screen, her money management has definitely been on par with her acting peers, landing a regular stream of movie roles to keep her income level high.
8. Charlize Theron, $110 million
Theron scared everyone when she took on the role of serial murderer in Monster, and did it convincingly well. No surprise, this actress has earned big paychecks for her versatile acting. Often being cast in sci-fi roles as steady work, Theron has also picked up sporadic drama work as well as comedy as well. That said, every role she plays has been very different from the last, so there’s no cast-typing this lady.
9. Courteney Cox, $120 million
Probably one of the more successful characters from the hit TV show, Friends, Cox has been able to keep her career going very well in TV-land despite Friends being long over. Being one of the cast that would make an easy $1 million an episode, she has easily earned a significant bank account since the show’s start. But that hasn’t stopped Courteney Cox from continue to earn as a working actress.
10. Drew Barrymore, $125 million
Having been acting since her childhood days in E.T. and Firestarter, Barrymore was no stranger to the cameras. She came from a well-known Hollywood family and developed a long-list resume herself of parts and roles, even during her bad-girl teen phase. Since then, and with the success of her remakes of Charlie’s Angels, Barrymore has established herself as a director and producer as well. All of these roles, of course, add to her income capacity quite handsomely.
11. Nicole Kidman, $130 million
The Australian redhead actress from down under, many thought her earning days were over when she married Tom Cruise. Not so. Instead, Kidman broke loose, re-established herself again, and locked in a hefty figure well above many other actresses, some even younger than her in an industry where age and beauty count just as much as acting skill for women.
12. Julia Roberts, $140 million
Pundits would argue that Julia Roberts day has come and gone. Interestingly, Roberts has a 140 million reason why not to give a damn what the pundits think. Originally making her big name break as a prostitute in Pretty Woman, Roberts latched onto to a rollercoaster of a movie-making ride, which netted her some fairly lucrative payouts and royalties since. And she still finds time to throw in a bit part here and there once in a while as well.
13. Angelina Jolie, $145 million
Well respected among the actresses who have transitioned from in front of the camera to directing and producing behind it, Jolie made a huge income figure during her Tomb Raider run and multiple other action movies. While Roberts is now more likely to be involved with creating movies with other actors as the characters, she has still appeared here and there when it suits her. One of the more interesting roles she had while pregnant was appearing as the monster Grendel’s mother in Beowulf. It was a precursor to her role in Maleficent years later.
14. Audrey Tautou, $145 million
Americans can be forgiven for not immediately recognizing Audrey Tautou, but she’s been a regular European actress name for years with a well-established portfolio of French movies and roles. Tautou evokes the pixie/petite French look but plays some of the most intelligent female character roles in modern movies. And she brings home a very intelligent income figure as well to boot diversified by her modeling career as well.
15. Ashley Olsen, $150 million
Long thought to be living on leftover money from her days with her twin on the TV in show, Full House, Ashley Olsen has proven all the naysayers wrong by continuing to earn a very healthy living with sales, name networking, merchandising, modeling, and fashion production.
16. Mary Kate Olsen, $150 million
The odder of the Olsen twins, Mary Kate has done quite well for herself as well, connecting her name with various projects, working with her sister, and investing in ventures that earn.
17. Miley Cyrus, $150 million
Some would argue that Miley Cyrus has nothing to do with acting, but that’s because they only learned about her as a singer. In fact, Cyrus had a long-standing role on the Disney Channel with her TV character that made her popular in the first place. Then she went to the dark side and became the singer we’re all familiar with sticking her tongue out at everyone. Yes, Ozzie Osbourne is rolling over in his bed.
18. Demi Moore, $150 million
Originally one of the 1980s brat pack, Demi Moore was cashing in on the movies one after another through the 1990s. Then she decided to raise her daughters out of the L.A. basin and away from the career rat race. Moore did return as an evil character in Charlie’s Angels, blowing everyone’s mind with her in-shape body at her age. Unfortunately, now folks remember her as making a short-lived marriage mistake with Ashton Kutcher, which is probably why she back in the country avoiding all the idiots and their questions.
19. Jennifer Aniston, $150 million
Aniston was probably the first of the Friends pack to spin off and start collecting checks from full-scale movie rolls. Unfortunately, despite her long resume, Aniston has never quite landed the knock out blow on the cinema that would win her an Oscar. Still, given her work ethic, $150 million is not chump change by any means.
20. Sandra Bullock, $200 million
Bullock was clearly on a streak in the 2000s with one movie after another, but she had been working from a young age in bit parts and then supporting roles. Finding her home in comedy movies, Bullock leverage her looks and humor for big payouts that continue to probably earn her royalties today. Notably, she earned one third of her worth in the serious drama movie, Gravity. As a dedicated mom and Texan, Bullock continues to appear her and there, but she’s also busy investing in other ventures like a restaurant or two.
21. Victoria Principal, $200 million
Who? Yes, the brunette who was married to Bobby in the 1980s TV show Dallas, Victoria Principal is in the upper echelon of actresses who have earned and are worth almost a quarter of a billion dollars. How you might ask? After acting she moved onto business and developed her own skin care brand that is quite successful, adding to her acting revenues.
22. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, $200 million
The quirky brunette sidekick to Seinfeld in his self-named TV comedy show, Dreyfus has continued to work and seek comedy roles since her original casting with some moderate success. While she is unable to kick the Seinfeld reputation, her bank account hasn’t been hurting from any negative impacts.
23. Xuxa Meneghel, $200 million
Well-known in South American and Brazil, Meneghel made a big name for herself in acting and then moved onto politics and TV hosting, not all in the same order either. This multi-tasking actress has earned well more than her keep and plus with her ability to network and leverage one career success to another in the Latin TV market.
24. Jessica Alba, $350 million
Jumping into the next bracket of big earners, Jessica Alba starts the pack with a familiar combo of acting income and business ventures. She originally gained her name start with an odd superhero TV show that eventually fizzled. However, Alba hit is big and soon was scoring role after role in big ticket movies. Then, with her shift to motherhood, she acted on ideas for baby and family products, which started her business venture that brings in millions in merchandising as well.
25. Oprah Winfrey, $3.2 billion
There are two actresses who earn as much or more, but most of their assets came from inheritance. So on the basis of personal earning power, Winfrey clearly racks up the Queen of the Hill title as the top woman actress and entertainer in Hollywood and elsewhere. Her Harpo TV empire is augmented by Winfrey’s own roles in The Color Purple and Selma.