Richest African American Actors 2012 – Top 10 List

African Americans in Hollywood Making Big Bucks

It’s quite obvious how African American actors have taken a prominent place in mainstream Hollywood movies over the recent decade. Quality films with meaty-roles are now casted to African American actors that have proven to draw hordes of fans to the box-office.

Gone are the 50’s and 60’s era when motion pictures where limited to ‘whites only’. Today, some of the highest paid actors making blockbuster hit films are African Americans.

Talk about movies like Training Day and Monster’s Ball that won both Denzel Washington and Halle Berry Oscars in 2002. How about Will Smith’s Men in Black and Training Day; Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction, Morgan Freeman’s Million Dollar Baby, and Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson’s Dreamgirls—all top grossing Black films. And the list can go on and on from movie actors, to top producers, and film directors.

With their incredible talent it’s not hard to understand why these African American actors are receiving so much love from movie fans all over the world and raking in big bucks from movie theaters.

Here’s a list of some of the highest paid and consequently richest African American actors in Hollywood today based on the net worth from Celebrity Net WorthForbes and other sources. Tyler Perry, who’s the richest African American in Hollywood with an estimated net worth of $350 million, didn’t feature in our list mainly because he is more of a producer and director. Let’s see who made the list.

1. Will Smith

Estimated net worth: $215 Million
Mention ‘Will Smith’ and movies like Men in Black and Hancock will immediately come to mind. Incidentally, Will pocketed a whopping $20 million talent fee for the latest installment of the hit Men in Black III, and around the same amount for the 2008 superhero film Hancock.

Will’s acting career began in a 90’s TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But his career kicked-off after hit action movies Bad Boys and Independence Day, with the latter earning revenues of more than $800 million. Will also took home Grammy Awards for his rap music, and produced several films including Seven Pounds and I am Legend.

Born to humble parents working as a school admin and refrigerator engineer, Will has come a long way with all the success he has earned. With his millions, Will can practically buy his mom her own school!

2= Samuel L. Jackson

Estimated net worth: $150 Million
Samuel’s most recent box-office appearance were for the Marvel hit flicks Iron Man and Avengers, where he is said to have signed a contract for movie appearances in some nine other Marvel-related comic book movies… hello big bucks! Reports say he earns around $10 million each year.

With no interest in acting, Samuel was active in black student movements for civil rights in his younger years. It was only when he met actor Morgan Freeman that he was mentored in film and acting. His first movie was 1981’s Jungle Fever. Some of his important roles were in the movies Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction where he received an Oscar nominee, and Die Hard III.

Samuel remains a staunch advocate of civil rights especially for African American groups.

2= Denzel Washington

Estimated net worth: $150 Million
Denzel’s striking good looks and amazing acting skills are definitely paying off by the millions. Born and raised in New York, Denzel began his acting career in theater and slowly moved to made-for-TV-movies where he landed a role in St. Elsewhere and stayed with the TV show until its final season six years after. Around the same year, he received his first Oscar nomination for the film Cry Freedom, and the following year won Best Supporting Actor for his amazing performance in the film Glory.

Denzel is the second African American actor who ever won a Best Actor Oscar; he won for the movie Training Day. Denzel is an actor, scriptwriter, producer, and director with an annual pay of around $40 million. Now, that explains his $150 million net worth.

4. Martin Lawrence

Estimated net worth: $110 Million
Whoever said comedy couldn’t earn millions? Martin is popular for his comedic roles as a thief, a cop, or both. He established his name in Hollywood after starring in hit movies Bad Boys, Blue Streak, and Big Momma’s House.

He started as a stand-up comedian with his own TV series in the 90’s called Martin which began bringing in big bucks to his career.

5. Ice Cube

Estimated net worth: $110 Million
O’ Shea Jackson a.k.a Ice Cube began as a rapper and songwriter for the controversial band N.W.A. He was still in high school when his interest for hip-hop started, and he may never have thought he would be rapping his way to becoming a millionaire. His group N.W.A. performed at parties and influential events, until he left to go solo in 1989. He released albums such as Kill at Will that went gold and platinum in the hit charts! Cha-ching! He went on to create music that topped pop and R&B charts.

While earning a great deal in music, Ice Cube began a shift to acting. His first movie was Boyz in the Hood, followed by others such as Higher Learning and Three Kings. And as if he wasn’t earning enough, Ice Cube went on to directing and producing films. Now, he’s worth millions of dollars!

6. Morgan Freeman

Estimated net worth: $90 Million
No one will dare argue that Morgan Freeman is by far one of the most respected figures in US cinema. His long biography of movies starred and supported are literally too many to mention in this review. From the 1971 movie Who Says I Can’t Ride a Rainbow, to the 1989 hit Driving Miss Daisy, to his Oscar-winning performance in the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby.

In addition to his film achievements, he is also the voice behind countless top TV-produced documentaries. The remarkable tone of his voice was perfect for voicing a number of commemorative materials in the US film industry. His highly-respected status only demands a salary by the millions.

Did you know that Morgan began his career on stage as a dancer first even before he went into acting? Yes, you read it right, dancing!

6= Jamie Foxx

Estimated net worth: $80 Million
Jamie definitely set himself high among Hollywood’s A-list after winning an Academy Award for his lead role in the 2004 film Ray— including 18 other citations from other award-giving bodies! His going rate is now estimated at $10 million which is what he snagged for the movie Miami Vice in 2006.

He has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years. Starting off as a stand-up comedian, then landing a role for a TV comedy, starring in his own TV show, doing R&B music, and finally starring in hit movies and earning millions— Jamie has definitely come a long way earning his box-office clout. His recent movies include Stealth, Jarhead, and the award-winning Dreamgirls.

6= LL Cool J

Estimated net worth: $80 Million
LL Cool J born James Todd Smith, didn’t have his alias until he was discovered by a recording company who loved his demo music. At 15, James released his first record now under the stage name LL Cool J, which actually means ‘Ladies Love Cool James’.

It didn’t take long for America to fall in love with Cool J. His single I Need a Beat sold more than 100,000 copies across the US. It was clear that he was going to be a huge part of the rap industry.

Cool J also tried out his luck in acting and landed roles in films like H2O and Deep Blue Sea. His most recent appearance is in the hit TV series NCSI: Los Angeles where he is said to be earning a six-figure salary of around $125,000 per episode!

8. Eddie Murphy

Estimated net worth: $75 Million
Very few Hollywood celebrities would earn a whopping $10 million just to lend their voice to a movie. Eddie easily raked in this amount for doing the voice of Donkey in the hit animated Shrek.

His career started as a stand-up comedian and was later casted for the TV show Saturday Night Live. His comedic talent landed him his first movie appearance in 48 hours. But what really propelled him into box-office superstardom was the 1984 hit movie Beverly Hills Cop. Winning him a Gold Globe, Eddie was now a worldwide celebrity name.

His more recent movies include The Nutty Professor and Doctor Dolitttle. Whether doing voices behind the scenes in animated movies, doing impersonations, or acting as lead, Eddie’s comedic powers will continue to earn love and big bucks from his fans.

9. Chris Rock

Estimated net worth: $70 Million
A favorite among the New York comedy bar circuit, Chris Rock spent years building a career in stand-up comedy. In 1990 he was given his first big break on TV in the show Saturday Night Live. From here on he began winning Emmy Awards and being known as one of the best comedians in America.

His amazing talent and experience in stand-up landed him roles in movies such as Beverly Hills Ninja and The Longest Yard. As awards kept coming in from Emmy’s to Grammy’s so did bigger salaries for the comedian!

10. James Earl Jones

Estimated net worth: $45 Million
Who doesn’t remember the voice behind Mufasa in the animated Lion King? Yes, the voice was James Earl Jones’.

His 40-year acting career began with dramatic lessons in his earlier years. Winning three Emmy Awards, two Tony’s, and a Golden Globe, James has built a name for himself in Hollywood—a name that demands big bucks from the industry.

Doing the voice for Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode III may be one of the most memorable roles in his career.

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Richest African American Actors 2012 – Top 10 List