The 1990’s were characterized by hit television series like ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’, ‘Saved By the Bell’ and ‘Friends’ which boasted cast ensembles that became wildly popular. Sitcom stars Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty were reportedly paid between $40K to $50K per episode for appearing in ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’. The stars of the popular 90’s sitcom ‘Friends’ were paid between $20K to $40K per episode initially. By the final season, the cast famously received $1 million per episode plus royalties. The 90’s was the last era of television where sitcoms dominated television before reality TV shows increased in popularity. Stars could afford to demand huge salary increases because they attracted a large viewership.
Many 90’s stars have remained active in front of the camera, while developing their talents on stage and behind the scenes as well. Lark Voorhies who played Lisa Turtle on ‘Save By the Bell’ reportedly manages her own film production company. Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in ‘Growing Pains’ in the early 1990’s, owns a production company named Appian Way Productions in addition to being a top grossing movie star. Many 90’s actors continued to be a formidable force in television and movies, and some took a hiatus to pursue college and outside careers before returning to their first love – acting. You cannot turn on your television set, or visit a movie theater without seeing one of your favorite ‘90’s actors on screen today.
So, which ‘90s stars have retained their fame and fortune? Here is a list of some of the famous 90’s actors that are still rich:
Shannen Doherty – $4 Million
Shannen Doherty rose to fame playing Brenda on the hit series ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’. The drama series aired from 1990 to 2000 on FOX and was produced by Aaron Spelling. Doherty left the show in 1994 and went on to star in another Spelling TV series, ‘Charmed’. She has since hosted a show on the Sci-Fi Channel and starred on reality TV. In 2008, she guest starred in the ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ spin-off and she appeared on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2010. In 2012, Doherty filmed ‘Shannen Says’, a reality TV series for WEtv that documented her wedding planning. She continues to guest star on television and appear in minor film roles.
Mayim Bialik – $6 Million
Mayim Bialik played the lead role in the popular NBC sitcom ‘Blossom’, which ran from 1991 to 1995. After ‘Blossom’ ended, she did voiceover work for cartoons for 10 years. Bialik resurfaced onscreen in 2005 making several guest appearances on television before being cast in ‘The Secret Life of The American Teenager’. Since 2010 she has starred in the CBS comedy series ‘The Big Bang Theory’, which has earned her two Emmy nominations. Bialik also earned a PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA and is an advocate for education. She recently partnered with DeVry University to support its HerWorld program, which encourages girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Tia and Tamera Mowry – $8 Million Combined
The ABC sitcom ‘Sister, Sister’ launched the careers of twin sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry. The series ran from 1994 to 1999, initially being cancelled by ABC for low ratings and picked up by The WB. The twins studied psychology at Pepperdine when the show ended, and also starred in movies together for Disney. Tia went on to play in the comedy series ‘The Game’ in 2006. She currently stars on the Nick at Nite series ‘Instant Mom’. Tamera starred in the medical drama ‘Strong Medicine’ from 2004 to 2006. She continues to guest star on television series and is a co-host on the FOX talk show “The Real’’. The twins also produced and starred in a WEtv reality TV series ‘Tia & Tamera’ which was recently cancelled after a two year run.
Mario Lopez – $9 Million
Mario Lopez is popularly known for his role as A.C. Slater on the hit teen series ‘Saved By the Bell’. The sitcom aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993. Lopez also starred in the sequel ‘Saved By the Bell: The College Years’, which lasted one season. Since his days as a teen idol, Mario has appeared on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and hosted MTV’s ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’. Lopez also hosted ‘The X Factor’ in 2012 and 2013 has hosted the news magazine show ‘Extra’ since 2008. Lopez continues to guest star on television series and does voiceover work for children’s films.
Melissa Joan Hart – $14 Million
Known for her leading roles in ‘Clarissa Explains it All’ (1991-94) and ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ (1996-2003), Melissa Joan Hart was a bona fide 90’s TV star. Hart guest starred on television and appeared on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2009. In 2010, she returned to TV starring opposite Joey Lawrence on the ABC Family sitcom ‘Melissa & Joey’. Her memoir, ‘Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life’, was published in 2013. She is married to Grammy nominated songwriter and musician Mark Wilkerson.
Jerry O’Connell – $16 Million
Jerry O’Connell is best known for his role as Quinn Mallory on the sci-fi TV series ‘Sliders’, which ran from 1995 to 2000. O’Connell has gone on to star on television, guest starring and playing Detective Woody Hoyt on the NBC crime series ‘Crossing Jordan’ from 2002 to 2007. He has also appeared in a number of films, including ‘Scary movie 5’ in 2013 and the 2014 film ‘Veronica Mars’. O’Connell is married to actress Rebecca Romijn.
Claire Danes – $20 Million
Claire Danes starred in the critically acclaimed ABC teen drama ‘My So Called Life’ from 1994 to 1995. She also appeared in the 2010 HBO Films biopic, ‘Temple Grandin’. Danes currently stars in the Showtime series ‘Homeland’ which premiered in 2011. She won three Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards for her roles in all three television projects and continues to appear regularly in independent and major films. Danes is married to ‘Hannibal’ star Hugh Dancy.
Will Smith – $215 Million
Rapper and actor Will Smith achieved crossover success while starring in the NBC sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’. The show aired from 1990 to 1996 and still runs in syndication. Smith went on to star in major motion films and is listed as “the most bankable star” by Forbes due to his ability to gross over $100 million at the box-office repeatedly. Smith has received two Oscar nominations and co-owns an entertainment production company, which produces music, films, and television shows. The company was created to generate projects for himself and others and is responsible for his hit films including ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and ‘I am Legend’. Smith is married to actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Their children, Jaden Smith, 15, and Willow Smith, 13, are also movie stars.
Brad Pitt – $240 Million
Sex-symbol Brad Pitt became known for his appearance in the 1991 film ‘Thelma & Louise’. Pitt landed his first leading role in the film ‘A River Runs Through It’ in 1992 and has continued to star in major motion films. He won a Golden Globe Award for his appearance in 12 Monkeys (1995) and has received several Academy Award nominations. He produced ‘The Departed’ in 2006 and ‘12 Years a Slave’ which each won Academy Awards for Best Picture. Pitt infamously divorced actress Jennifer Aniston after falling for actress Angela Jolie while they were filming ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’.