Whether you think about it or not, every time you turn on your TV or read an article on a website, someone is making profit from your viewing habits. For years, consumers have been infatuated with the allure of celebrity actors, athletes, and reality TV stars looking to make a name for themselves.
While some former stars have found themselves on the outside looking in after their 15 minutes of fame, others have found ways to capitalize on their success long after the good times end. One way these celebrities work after they have faded away has been to charge exorbitant amounts of money for them to speak or perform at private events. Want T.I. to show up at your kid's sweet sixteenth birthday bash? Be prepared to spend upwards of $150,000 for just under two hours of work; not to mention the transportation, lodging, and “entourage” costs you’ll be on the hook for as well.
Even public universities and organizations have been known to shell out big bucks to have honored guests show up to speak. By diversifying their revenue streams, celebrities have found ways to stay in the spotlight longer and help put startup companies and colleges on the map. In case you’ve ever wondered how much your favorite celebrity would cost to attend one of your events, here are what some celebrities have been known to charge.
11 Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots Tight End): $5,000
Over the past decade, the NFL has come under increasing pressure to protect players’ safety at all costs, having many dub it the “No Fun League.” In that case, party boy Rob Gronkowski must have missed that memo, as he has had his fair share of face time on TMZ. Whether it is having Gronk show up to your birthday party in Las Vegas or the grand opening of a business, it will set you back about $5,000 for one hour or $500 to have him tweet out your message.
10 Tiki Barber (Former NFL Running Back): $5,000
As a three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, there isn’t much Tiki Barber wasn’t able to do during his illustrious NFL career. Off the gridiron, he has also found success by providing plenty of services, including video shout outs for $99, appointments to have him watch a game with you for $2,000, and even a lunch date for $1,000. In addition, he also charges $5,000 for public speaking engagements for every two hours of work.
9 Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle (Rapper): $15,000
Famous for his hit song “Ice Ice Baby”, Vanilla Ice was the hottest rapper on the hip hop scene from the late 1980s through the early 1990s. As a professional motocross rider before breaking into the music scene, Ice finally had enough as a recording artist by 1994 and he went from having the fastest selling hip hop album of all time to being a strung out drug user. Since then, he has stayed afloat through his cult following around the country, as well as his DIY home renovation show on the DIY channel. When he’s not recording television shows, you can rent him out for an easy $15,000.
8 Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Jersey Shore): $30,000
Famous for no apparent reason, Snooki has become the poster girl for having a good time all summer long, thanks to her part in MTV’s hit show Jersey Shore. After the show, Snooki signed with MTV for another series with her best friend J-Wow, and has found success in public speaking. In 2011, Snooki made $32,000 for a one-hour long question and answer session at Rutgers University. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s $2,000 more than the school paid Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison that year for giving their commencement address.
7 Roger Clemens (Former MLB Pitcher): $45,000
After playing in the MLB for 24 seasons and being one of the top pitchers in MLB history, Roger Clemens has had his share of controversy in the years after his retirement. After lying to Congress about his involvement in a performance enhancing drug controversy, Clemens was lucky enough to avoid perjury charges due to prosecutorial misconduct and has since earned his money by charging hefty appearance fees. Currently, Clemens charges $45,000 for a one hour appearance, yet he only charges $20,000 if you’d like him to play at your next charity golf outing.
6 Bear Grylls (Adventurer/Survival Expert): $75,000-$100,000
Best known for his work on Discovery Channel’s Man vs Wild, Grylls has been a pretty busy guy his entire life. After being in the SAS for three years, he left after a parachute accident in Zambia and spent over a year in a military hospital. Just two years after breaking three vertebrate and falling over 16,000 feet with half a parachute, Grylls became the youngest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. With a litiney of feats on his resume, Grylls now spends quite a bit of time as a public speaker where he makes at least $75,000 per appearance.
5 Paris Hilton (Socialite/Heiress): $100,000
As the great granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels, Paris has been blessed enough to not ever have to work a day in her life. Hilton had a sex tape exposed with her ex-boyfriend in late 2003, the same year her and Nicole Richie, daughter of Lionel Richie, co-starred on Fox’s The Simple Life. Hilton has worked hard to embrace the life of an “it” girl, and has used her fame to help her become a best-selling author, chronicling her life experiences and the launch of her fragrance line. While she probably doesn’t have too many speaking engagements, she does have her fair share of parties to attend, netting her $100,000 per appearance.
4 Al Gore (Politician): $100,000-$150,000
If you’re interested in having the 45th Vice President of the United States speak at your engagement, it’s going to set you back a pretty penny. His career as a Vietnam veteran, congressman, presidential candidate, and Nobel Prize Winner have helped him to achieve a level of success very few can match. His recent work on climate change and the challenges of a global economy have helped him to stay busy with speaking engagements throughout the world. The $100,000 appearance fee for domestic appearances may seem high to some, but those who want him to speak outside of the US will find that the fee triples to a range of between $300,000 and $500,000.
3 George Lucas (Director): $250,000-$350,000
Best known as the creator of Star Wars, Lucas is worth well over $5 billion today. For that reason alone, it should be no surprise that you will have to sell your home in order for him to make an appearance at your next gathering. Lucas won hundreds of awards for Star Wars and has gone on to make hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from his licensing and merchandising opportunities from the brand. A winner of 14 Academy Awards, having Lucas come to your next film screening would be an awesome way to blow any profit your movie might make in the long term.
2 Jay-Z (Rapper/Entrepreneur): $1 Million
As one of the most financially successful hip hop artists of all time, Jay-Z has made a name for himself well beyond the scope of the microphone. As an artist, Jay-Z has sold over 75 million records and won 17 Grammy Awards. As a business man, he owns the 40/40 Club and is co-creator of the clothing line Rocawear. Jay-Z also co-found Roc-a-Fella Records and Roc Nation, and has recently been certified as an NBA and MLB sports agent. There seriously isn’t much he hasn’t done, which is probably why his appearance fee is so high.
1 Prince (Singer/Songwriter): $1.5-$2 Million
With 10 platinum albums and over 30 top 40 singles, Prince is a legend in the music industry. His lyrics and flamboyant stage presence have helped him to sell over 100 million records worldwide and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. As a vegetarian, Prince was voted as the “Sexiest Vegetarian” by PETA in 2006. With all of these accomplishments, Prince probably doesn’t want to be bothered by just anybody. It has been rumored that he won’t even entertain the thought of showing up to events without making $1 million for his time.