One would think there would be a whole community of retired actors settling down and making way for each successive generation of actors in Los Angeles, given how much the stars make once they break into the big time. Then again, once an actor hits the big time, it is easy to imagine that his or her lifestyle might require a comparably increased budget; meaning, once you are Hollywood royalty, you need to move into an appropriately expensive and expansive castle in the Hills or an overpriced oceanside apartment on the Westside (i.e., Santa Monica), be seen schmoozing with colleagues at the trendier clubs and restaurants, valet park or, sorry, having your driver valet park your Maserati or illegally-tinted Escalade, which also costs money, and now you have a payroll, since you now have employees to keep your expanding lifestyle and head from exploding or falling to pieces.
In general it is difficult to find anybody in Hollywood who has retired for any other reason than that their bodies can no longer sustain their careers or they have had an embarrassing and public cocaine-fueled meltdown and are named Charlie Sheen. This is why many names on this list you will not be familiar with, because their careers started in the 1950s and they have been going strong until they all hit their 70s in the new millennium. The Internet Movie Database and the Internet in general make it very difficult to find actors who have nothing in the works, since now as soon as an idea for a project gets the green light, even if there is no title attached to the project, it gets listed on IMDb.
One interesting thing to note as you inevitably skim this list is how, strangely, the longer an actor has been out of the game, excepting those with projects in development, the higher their net worth–this either belies a change in the nature of the entertainment industry, with the older actors slogging along for decades and building their careers and newer acts are going for the quick cash grab with an overnight viral Netflix series or following the Instagram-celebrity business model, or maybe just that older actors are better financial planners.
Either way, starting at the relative bottom of the barrel with a semi-retired actor worth $20 million; enjoy getting increasingly more envious as you read through this list of actors and actresses who never have to work again, even if some could not find work if they begged.
18. Emilio Estevez
This member of the Sheen dynasty has not been in front of a camera since playing a part in 2010’s The Way; after that Emilio Estevez did some voiceover work in 2012 and since that, has been out of the biz. IMDb does say that he is attached to a project called The Public, a movie that is in pre-production with no projected completion date, so the Mighty Ducks franchise star is technically out of work, but still worth a healthy $15 million. It seems this New York-born brother of whoremonger Charlie, has shifted his focus to the producing game, but outside of this mystery project of his, his producing credits dried up in 2010.
Runner up: Carlos “Charlie Sheen” Estevez is worth $125 million and outside of a web-series in 2015 and two movies respectively set to be filming and in post-production by 2017, this Estevez bro has not worked this year (2016).
17. Heather Paige Dubrow (née Kent)
Unlike most reality TV stars, Bronx-born Heather Paige started her career as a legitimate sitcom actress, beginning with a bit part on mid-90s smash hit Married With Children. Long before she became Heather Dubrow and one of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Heather Paige Kent had recurring roles on increasingly more prominent sitcoms, and in 2002 she made her big screen debut with two movies, one of which was only released in Russia, the other called Now You Know opened in US theaters to hardly more fanfare. Since her tenure on Real Housewives ended in 2015, Mrs. Dubrow has not signed-on to any new projects, but she is sitting pretty with a net worth of $20 million.
16. Paul Hogan
The Aussie actor, Paul Hogan, is just as shrewd a businessman as he is a one-trick pony–he independently raised the nearly $9 million budget for the original Crocodile Dundee, giving him a 60% share in any and all profits from ticket sales to merchandising. Lucky for him, this fish out of water story from the 80s was a runaway success, earning $320 million worldwide. At the height of his success, Hogan was worth three quarters of a billion dollars but after the Crocodile Dundee franchise success dried up and a costly divorce, he is now worth only a measly $20 million.
15. Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi is a producer more than anything else, most known as part-time host and first consulting producer and then executive producer of Top Chef, which stopped airing new episodes in 2013. Given this program won an Emmy and that even without being a chef, Lakshmi’s first cookbook titled Easy Exotic won an award, it is no wonder she is still on this list of high earners who stopped earning a while ago. It is actually strange that she is not higher up on this list, after allegedly earning 50k an episode on Top Chef, that she is only worth $20 million. Perhaps her divorce from world-renowned and controversial author Salman Rushdie, knocked her down a socioeconomic peg.
14. Shaun Cassidy
Shaun Paul Cassidy had some incredibly big shoes to fill being born to an Academy Award-winning actress and Tony Award-winning actor and some might argue he has filled them quite adequately as a top-charting teen sensation/pop musician already in his high school years and creator of several successful television shows, including American Gothic, Cold Case and Invasion, to name just a few. The multimedia maven’s acting career ended nearly 20 years ago but with royalties probably still leaking in from his recording career and his constant presence as a TV producer left him sitting pretty, worth $20 million.
13. Pia Zadora
Pia Zadora has been out of the acting game since 1999, so, many readers might not recognize her name, let alone her face. But, once you look up her picture and her credits listed on IMDb… you still might not know who she is. To break it down for anybody born after 1985: once upon a time, there was a football player named Orenthal J. Simpson. Before this man turned into a murderer, he got bit by the acting bug and among other roles got cast in an absurdist comedy called Naked Gun. People liked Naked Gun so much, in part because O.J. Simpson was in it, it spawned two sequels, the third of which Pia Zadora was in, as herself. The only way it makes sense that she would still be worth $25 million is because of her work on the Leslie Nielsen opus that was the Naked Gun trilogy.
12. Frankie Avalon
Of course, Frankie Avalon had to wrap filming on his first project in a decade this year (2016), but given this movie is still in post-production, Mr. Avalon is for all intents and purposes retired from the entertainment biz. Still worth $30 million, the former trumpeter-turned-silver screen star and current septuagenarian was actually best known for starring in several 1950s and 60s-era beach party movies; you know those films that have come to symbolize a bygone innocent era in entertainment, where bikini-clad babes and dudes in old school swim trunks all knew how to surf and dance and were generally unnaturally happy given the Cold War and civil rights/hippy movements a-brewing at the time Avalon rose to prominence.
11. Nick Cassavetes
Nick Cassavetes is the son of legendary director John Cassavetes, and actress Gena Rowland, so he was already born hooked into the industry, but he carved out his own name and naysayers have been hard pressed to say he did not earn his place on this list. Even though the last notable thing Nick directed was The Hangover II in 2011 (and the last acting part he took on came and went without much fanfare in 2013), the man has a legitimate body of work that left him with a net worth of approximately $40 million.
10. Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan may have just stopped working this year, but she is still more known to the social media generation these days as the go-to butt of jokes about washed-up actresses who have lost their looks. At a net worth of $45 million though, this “former” star of such classic romance films about modern (or supernatural) love as Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and City of Angels, this Hollywood mainstay probably finds it easy to ignore the haters. Of course it is her role as half of the title characters in When Harry Met Sally…, across from comedy great Billy Crystal, that solidified her status as Hollywood royalty to previous generations, despite Family Guy writers’ obsession with trashing her.
9. Bam Margera
Bam Margera is technically an actor, though most of his gigs have involved somehow risking or sustaining severe physical damage on camera in numerous skate videos, Jackass movies and episodes, and giving the world a not-at-all needed glimpse into his romantic and family life on the reality TV series Viva La Bam and spinoff Bam’s Unholy Union. Risking life and limb seem to have been worth it given that the skateboarder and burnout prankster turned successful actor, director and producer, stopped working at least in front of the camera and is still worth $45 million at the moment.
8. Patricia “Patty” Hearst
Not to be confused with the kidnapped heiress turned Stockholm Syndrome poster child, Patricia Hearst and actress whose last turn in front of the camera came in 2006 with an appearance on one episode of runaway cult teen-targeted mystery series, Veronica Mars. Chances are though, it is her roles in several 90s box office hits including Bio-Dome and other cult classics like quirky Edward Furlong-vehicle, Pecker. At sixteen years, Patricia Hearst‘s career is short by some Hollywood standards, but she chose the right roles because she is still sitting on $45 million ten more years after her career ended.
7. Sally Field
Stop me when you’re impressed: Steel Magnolias, Forrest Gump, Brothers and Sisters, The Amazing Spider-Man, ER, Mrs. Doubtfire, Smokey and the Bandit… is literally a small fraction of the roles that this maven of the screen has inhabited and knocked out of the park. In fact, she most likely will not be fit for this list before the year’s end, but Sally Field (not Sally Fields as most people raised eating Mrs. Fields brand cookies remember her) played her last big-screen role in 2015 so at the moment, this $55 million actress is unemployed but even without any more acting credits, she has earned her spot in history.
6. Debbie Reynolds
The current generation of actors should be ashamed of themselves and their work ethic given that the actors and actresses of the 1940s and 50s, like Debbie Reynolds, were machines; between, 1950 and 1964, Debbie Reynolds released at least one but usually two or three movies a year and her fifth movie ever, had her cast as the leading lady alongside Gene Kelly in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain. From then until last year (2015) Reynolds has continued to work and stay relevant, with a recurring role on sitcom classic Will & Grace and voiceover work on Nickelodeon staple Rugrats, to name a few. No wonder this technically out-of-work actress is still worth $60 million.
5. Roseanne Barr
It would be disingenuous to try to make the claim that the legendary potty-mouthed mom turned comedic genius named Roseanne Barr, is inactive in the entertainment industry given her steady appearances on the late-night talk show and podcast circuit (you can hear her on Marc Maron‘s WTF Podcast feed as we speak), but she has not acted on camera since a two-episode stint on 2015’s Cristela and before that, since doing voiceover work for the most recent animated TMNT series ending in 2014. Whether acting or not, Barr is still relevant as ever and where she lacks in quantity she more than makes up for in the quality of projects she has written, produced, directed or acted in since ’88, when she blew on the scene with her groundbreaking sitcom, to earn her $80 million net worth.
4. Andrew Shue
Most known by Gen X-ers as that guy on Melrose Place, Andrew Shue has got his hands in all sorts of pies outside of the entertainment industry and, outside of a web-series he hosts with his mom, he has not appeared in front of a camera, let alone acted, since 2007. Given Melrose Place ended in ’98, the fact that Mr. Shue is still worth $100 million means his stint as an amateur league soccer player and his entrepreneurial efforts (he runs several successful websites and blogs including MamasLatinas.com, which sadly is not at all as X-rated as it may sound to some) and non-profit work have quite literally paid off.
3. Victoria Principal
Victoria Principal is, like Debbie Reynolds, one of those old-school workhorse actresses who consistently put out a large quantity of quality work, though Victoria was equally prolific in film and television, earning her big break as Pamela Ewing on day-time drama Dallas. Millennials will be more familiar with the slew of sitcoms Principal guest starred on, like Home Improvement, The Practice and Family Guy. Even with such an impressive resume, having been out of work since 2001, it is likely that her billion-dollar line of skin care products, Principal Skin, has contributed to her $200 million net worth.
2. Jack Nicholson
Nicholson‘s last appearance on the silver screen came and went in 2010 but his last notable, laudable performance was as fading gangster Frank Costello alongside Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga and Matt Damon in 2006’s The Departed. Since LA Lakers courtside tickets are probably free to this living legend of Hollywood and each of Nicholson’s three Academy Awards came with (according to an article by The Independent) an increase in pay grade, just for his roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment and As Good As It Gets, it is no surprise the man has not worked for half a decade and is still worth $400 million.
1. Dina Merrill
Another machine of an actress who is still kicking and earned every cent of her $1.5 billion net worth, Dina Merrill acted in at least two projects (i.e., movies or television shows) during all but two years of her career between 1955 and 2003. Merrill took two years off in the 80s to take over for her father on the board of directors of his investment firm and only stopped her acting completely in recent years (she acted in 2009 but went uncredited) because she allegedly is suffering from advanced-stage Lews disease, a neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s that affects speech and motor control.