One of the worst things that can happen to an actor’s career is being solely remembered for the first role that made them famous, otherwise known as being typecast. When an actor is typecast, we see them in practically the same role every time, and it’s hard to picture them outside of those types of roles. Getting typecast makes it nearly impossible to land coveted roles, thus limiting opportunities for building a diverse portfolio. The one exception to the rule is when a permanently associated role not only catapults an actor to superstardom, but also brings financial freedom. Thanks to books, comics, or the imagination of a creative writer, these 10 people have become very rich and famous for being best known as a beloved fictional character.
10. Homer Simpson – Dan Castellaneta $60 million
His voice is much more recognizable than his face, a voice that is easily identified as Homer Simpson from the long time airing animated television series, The Simpsons. Dan Castellaneta earns an estimated $300 thousand per episode of The Simpsons, and is worth a substantial $60 million after 25 years as the doughnut loving Homer Simpson. He also regularly voices other Simpsons characters such as; Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby and Barney Rubble. Dan is a working actor and has starred in numerous other non-animated television programs.
Kim Cattrall reportedly declined the role of Samantha Jones multiple times before finally being convinced to at least shoot the pilot episode for Sex and The City. Her concerns were that she was unsure if she could make a 40-something-year-old woman seem sexy. While filming Sex and The City, she was quoted as having said, “I’ve been playing sexually aware women most of my life. At this point, I expected to be playing moms and wives. It’s exciting to play a femme fatale.” The actress was earning an estimated $500 thousand per episode of Sex and the City at the height of its popularity, and earned $6 million for the Sex and the City films. Kim is reportedly worth $75 million.
Child star, Tobey Maguire’s big break came in 2002 when he landed the role of Peter Parker, better known as Spider Man. Tobey earned $4 million for the first installment which turned out to be a tremendous block buster smash, and subsequently was paid $26 million for Spider Man 2 and 3. Tobey is among the luckier actors who were able to survive the shadow of a role as monumental as Spider Man, and has since gone on to play a variety of characters, non-superhero related. Tobey is worth an estimated $75 million.
Pierce Brosnan is most famous for lending his acting chops to Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day as James Bond. He is the highest earning actor to play James Bond, making a collective $38.3 million for all 4 movies. The sum doesn’t include bonus percentages from the movie’s box office profits; a common contract guarantee for blockbuster stars. In addition to his salary, the actor was allowed to keep 3 exotic cars for filming the Bond movies, including a BMW Z3, an 8-series BMW and a BMW Z8. Pierce is worth an estimated $80 million.
Sarah Jessica Parker played the iconic fashion forward, Carrie Bradshaw for 6 years on the HBO television series Sex and The City, as well as the movie franchise. At the height of Sex and The City’s popularity, Sarah was reportedly pulling in $3 million per episode, and $15 million per movie installment. Sarah has an estimated $90 million net worth. It’s a wonder that a fictional character created by author Candace Bushnell, went on to earn millions more for the actress portraying the piece of fiction, than the author herself, who’s reportedly worth $40 million.
Landing the role of Wolverine in the cult classic X-Men put Hugh Jackman on the map, in 2000. A role initially intended for actor Dougray Scott, whose commitment to Mission: Impossible II took longer than expected to wrap up. Wolverine made Hugh Jackman a household name around the world. With a net worth of $100 million, Hugh earns an estimated $20 million per X-men film as of 2009, and is on contract to make 4 more X-men movies. The actor admits having to adhere to a very demanding “wolverine diet,” consisting of a 4000 caloric daily intake, and a grueling work out schedule, making it difficult to acquire roles in which a bulky physique isn’t particularly appreciated.
At the tender age of 10, Daniel Radcliffe, nor his parents could have possibly known that the role he was about to sign on for, could allow the entire family to retire someday, and turn him into one of the most recognizable faces in the world. In that first year as Harry Potter, the fifth grader earned $1 million for his first ever starring role, collectively earning $82 million for all 6 movies. Since wrapping up the franchise in 2011, Daniel has taken a variety of roles that strongly deviate from the Harry Potter fantasy theme he became famous for, but it’s safe to predict that Harry Potter is an image the young actor will never be able to completely shed. Daniel has an estimated net worth of $110 million.
One man show Seth Macfarlane plays Peter, Stewie and Brian Griffin on the popular animated series, Family Guy. In 1999, Seth was hired by FOX to create the pilot episode of Family Guy and paid a $50,000 advance. That feat alone would’ve been enough to earn Seth millions in creator royalties over the years, from the massive success of the animated series. As executive producer, director, writer and voice actor of the show, Seth earns an estimated $900 thousand per episode, which does not include royalties from syndication licensing, dvd rights and merchandising; which could pull in an additional $20 million a year. Seth is worth a reported $150 million.
Bodybuilder turned actor, turned Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is typecast as an action hero, but is one of the rare few who manage to make it work in their favor. Best known for his role in the Terminator franchise, fans and Californian citizens coined the title, “The Governator,” when Arnold was elected Governor of California. Collectively, The Governator has earned over $65 million for all 5 Terminator movies, not including box office bonuses. A 6th film is reportedly in the works for a 2015 release, called Terminator: Genisys. Arnold is worth an estimated $300 million.
Johnny Depp is known as one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. He is so believable in each role, that he has managed to escape the curse of the typecast actor. He’s equally famous for roles as diverse as, Edward in Edward Scissors Hands, Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. His most profitable role to date is Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of The Caribbean, the 8th highest grossing film franchise of all time, at over $3 billion worldwide. His collective salary for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was over $85 million, but he’s reportedly earned $300 million in total from the franchise, when considering box office bonuses. Johnny is worth an estimated $350 million.