Few television stars have ever gathered a cult-like following around one of their characters as Jim Parsons has by playing Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. A newcomer to the series could easily get thrown off by the many quirks and phobias of this brilliant scientist, but as all Big Bang Theory fans find out sooner or later, at some point, a switch turns and Sheldon simply becomes your favorite character. It is hard to explain, but deep down, every single one of us–by us we mean people who love The Big Bang Theory–can connect with Sheldon.
And because of that ability to convey such a unique character, Jim Parsons has more than earned his net worth of around $28 million. This 6’2” actor from Houston, Texas also has a few big screen credits to his name that sure added to that fortune. He appeared in movies like Home, Visions, The Muppets, and will be featured in the 2018 flick, A Kid Like Jake. On television, he took part in shows like Family Guy, Eureka, Judging Amy, and iCarly. And that is not to mention the hilarious time when he hosted Saturday Night Live.
With that resume, it is hard to imagine that many people in television could be much richer than this guy, or even deserve to be, for that matter. But to break that barrier, we put together a list that will unnerve some Big Bang Theory fans. So, get ready to cringe because here are 15 TV actors you’ll never believe are richer than Jim Parsons.
15 Paul Reiser - $40 million
When you have been around since 1982, you are bound to have acquired some assets and made a good deal of money. Otherwise, people would have already forgotten about you. But it’s still impressive to realize that although his most successful show ended almost two decades ago, Paul Reiser can still wave cash around like it’s not his business. With a net worth of $40 million, the star of Mad About You was making $1 million per episode back in the late ‘90s. That is as much as Jim Parsons is making per episode of The Big Bang Theory today.
Nevertheless, those are impressive when we consider that the sitcom in which he was supposed to be the star, The Paul Reiser Show, was canceled after only two episodes. Don’t be fooled, though, Reiser’s stock might be rising again as soon as he will be starring in season two of the Netflix juggernaut, Stranger Things.
14 David Caruso - $35 million
Who knew there was an art behind putting on sunglasses? If you think this is a joke, just film yourself trying to make your best Horatio Craine impression. It doesn’t look as good as David Caruso’s, does it?
So yes, apparently, there is an art behind that movement because if it weren’t for that, it would be tough to explain how the guy from CSI Miami made so much more money than Jim Parsons. David Caruso’s net worth was calculated at about $35 million.
That is a surprising figure considering that no one has heard much from Caruso after he parted ways with CSI Miami back in 2012. The former star has not made an appearance on either the big or the small screen ever since then. This hiatus from Caruso is a rough one not only for CSI fans but TV fans as a whole. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the most fun-to-watch characters in television police procedurals.
13 Jason Davis - $50 million
Have you ever heard of Mikey from the animated TV show Recess? You know, that old-school cartoon that showed a group of elementary school kids and their day-to-day adventures. It aired from 1997 to 2001 and was fairly successful with the kids at the time. They even had a couple of movies and a crossover episode with Lilo & Stitch.
Well, it turns out that being a voiceover actor can be a rather lucrative business. With his other credits being in TV series like 7th Heaven, movies like Jessabelle and Seeking Justice, as well as reality TV shows such as The Millionaire Matchmaker and Celebrity Rehab, Jason Davis amounted a net worth of $50 million. How insane is that?
Although, there is also the little fact that he has some family money since his grandfather was the former owner of 20th Century Fox, Marvin Davis. So, perhaps grandpa helped him out a bit in order to get to that ridiculous wealth figure with that resume.
12 Ed O’Neill - $45 million
The ultimate family man or the ultimate new—who deserves to get the most money? If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory, we are sure your answer to that question would be the superhuman scientist named Sheldon Cooper. Nevertheless, when the name of the game is lifetime earnings, it is tough for a guy the age of Jim Parsons to compete with a man who has been active since 1970. And while Al Bundy and Jay Pritchett probably don’t have the large and devoted following that Sheldon Cooper has, the man behind the characters, Ed O’Neill, has made more money than the man behind Sheldon Cooper.
A main player in both Married…With Children and Modern Family, O’Neill amassed a fortune of about $45 million throughout his career. We might still want Jim Parsons to make more money than this industry old-timer, but O’Neill already had his star on the Hollywood walk of fame back in 2011.
11 Tasha Marbury - $45 million
Who is Tasha Marbury? If you look at a bio page or do a Google search, the first thing you will find out about Tasha Marbury is that she is the wife of former NBA star Stephon Marbury, which is the same answer people decades ago would give you to a similar question if we asked about the significant other of a famous athlete or celebrity.
The difference today is that a woman like Tasha Marbury is not only Stephon’s wife anymore. Now, Tasha Marbury is a star in the reality TV series Basketball Wives that airs on VH1. Perhaps this is due to a lack of shows to fill the time for the people who watch VH1. Perhaps they just don’t want to play music videos over and over again anymore. But, food for thought, this reality TV star has a net worth of $45 million. Is it really fair for reality TV stars to be richer than one of the most famous TV actors of our time?
10 Mark Harmon - $36 million
Here is a fun fact for you, television fans. Mark Harmon is not only a successful actor, but he was also the starting quarterback for the UCLA Bruins between 1972 and 1973. Despite that little stint as a football player, Harmon ultimately decided to go into acting. He was already used to appearing on national television as a football player. But, as an actor, his first national TV appearance was in a cereal commercial.
His first acting job was playing a part in an episode of Ozzie’s Girls. And we all know how Harmon’s career went after that. He appeared in countless television series and several movies. The most famous of his acting gigs has to be his longtime participation in the crime drama NCIS, which earned him a Prism Award and a People’s Choice Award.
Moreover, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service must pay really well, because Harmon’s fortune is calculated at around $36 million.
9 Tony Little - $200 million
“You can do it.”
If you didn’t get the reference, we might need to give you a little background on this guy. Tony Little was arguably the most famous pre-Instagram television fitness personality if we leave aside guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Little went from being abandoned by his father and raised by his mother alone in Ohio to become a fitness sensation. This guy released fitness material in all kinds of media available at the time. He released a book called One On One With Tony Little, in which he described a 28-day body sculpting and weight loss program. But, the real key to this guy’s success and why we think he deserves a place on this list is his series of fitness videos that were on television, have won an amazing 14 platinum awards, nine gold video awards, and reached an audience of over 47 million people. For better or for worse, this guy was an actor, and he earned a fortune of about $200 million on his way to the top.
8 Patricia Heaton - $40 million
If there is one thing we found out while making this list, it’s that everyone really loved Raymond. That show made a lot of money for those who played its main characters. The first of them is Patricia Heaton, who played Deborah Barone in an amazing 209 episodes of the show. How lucrative are we saying that being a part of the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond was? Well, for Patricia Heaton, it certainly made up for a large sum of her $40-million net worth. Just to put it in numbers, her annual salary from the show in 2001 was about $6 million. That was a lot of money to be making in a sitcom in the early 2000’s.
But Everybody Loves Raymond wasn’t the only successful venture in Patricia’s career. She also played a role in Back to You and has a recurring main role in The Middle playing the part of the mother, Frankie Heck.
7 David Duchovny - $60 million
Fox Mulder, we mean David Duchovny, is a good example of how someone might be a big success in several television shows, but never quite live up to the hype of the show that launched his/her career. The previous show in question would be The X-Files. Arguably one of the greatest science fiction and mystery shows of all time, The X-Files was a tough one to beat. And despite successful stints on shows like Californication and Aquarius, Duchovny owes most of his fame to his humongous success playing Fox Mulder from 1993 to 2002. The series had a reboot season last year that despite attracting a large crowd–most of whom were very likely the cult followers of the series–was still not quite on the same level as the ‘90s show.
And yet, reaching stardom again or not doesn’t seem like it would be such a priority when you have a net worth of around $60 million, does it?
6 Ray Romano - $120 million
As we mentioned before, Everyone Loves Raymond.
Ray Romano is a successful actor. He is even a good voiceover actor. His success in playing the voice of Manny from Ice Age speaks for itself. But would it be realistic for someone to say that this guy deserved to make around $120 million just for playing a mammoth on a series of movies and playing a recurring role on the show Parenthood? No, Ray Romano’s money came because of the ridiculous success he achieved by playing the character of Raymond Barone.
From 1996 to 2005, this guy was a star, and he made a fortune. According to People, Romano was making as much as $1.8 million per episode in 2003. His salary was so high that other stars of the show even threatened to walk away from work because of the difference in gratification.
Now, after hearing about Romano’s salary, do you think it is a lot for Jim Parsons to earn $1 million per episode? Probably not.
5 Terri Irwin - $66 million
Not an actress by trade, Terri Irwin became famous because of her work with her husband, Steve Irwin. The couple became known throughout the world for their TV series, The Crocodile Hunter, in which Steven and Terri went around the world meeting and interacting with some of the most dangerous and amazing animals to be found on our planet. The two even featured in a film that followed the same lines of the show. For a long time, they were the faces of animal conservation and education thanks to their series on the Animal Planet.
Unfortunately, Steve passed away after getting stung by a stingray while filming a show in 2006. But neither the pain nor the heartache of the loss stopped Terri from continuing to show her passion for animals as she continued her husband’s effort and passion for the conservation of animals. The net worth of this American-Australian naturalist and conservationist is estimated to be somewhere around $66 million.
4 Jamie Oliver - $400 million
We firmly believe that if you are on television and you are not a newsperson or a sportscaster, you are an entertainer. And deep down, every entertainer is an actor. So, do you remember that famous English chef who wasn’t Gordon Ramsay? The guy who started out with a show called The Naked Chef? Well, Jamie Oliver was his name.
Being a television chef sure is a good way to earn money from the show itself, but it also can make a culinary expert a lot of dough outside of the small screen, as it serves as a great source of “free advertisement” for the chef’s restaurants.
In a mix of television earnings and restaurant profits, this British food wizard amassed an enormous net worth of around $400 million. In terms of awards, Oliver has received several. Back in 2005, he was named the most influential person in the UK hospitality industry, and in 2015, the chef was listed as the number two most influential British entrepreneur by Richtopia.
3 Kaley Cuoco - $51 million
Surprising? Maybe not. Will most Sheldon fans understand and be okay with this? Definitely not.
Don’t get us wrong. We love Penny just as the next guy, but to grind the gears and try to comprehend the fact that she is richer than Sheldon? That is just hard to believe. For God’s sake (or Darwin’s sake) the guy is a genius scientist, and she is a Pharma girl. If you didn’t get the joke, then check out this little clip.
When we shift the conversation towards the comparison between Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons, however, this piece of information makes a bit more sense. One jump to her Wikipedia page and it is easy to be impressed with the amount of movie and television credits she has. Not to mention that Cuoco makes just as much as Jim Parsons for each episode of The Big Bang Theory they both appear in. Still, you will have to go to bed tonight knowing that Penny has a net worth of about $51 million.
2 Sofia Vergara - $100 million
Sofia Vergara is a great example that if you are hot, there are no limits to how far you can go. The daughter of a homemaker and a cattle rancher, this South American beauty left dentistry school to pursue a career in modeling and show business, and boy did that work out.
She started out at a telenovela and never looked back. Her first appearance on an American TV show was in 1999 when she was cast for an episode of Baywatch. From that moment on, Vergara kept gaining momentum and tallying credits in shows like Entourage and movies like Four Brothers, until she scored a main role as Gloria from Modern Family.
Her time bouncing around Hollywood studios and several TV shows sure helped add to her fortune, but it was the Modern Family gig that undoubtedly made the difference in her reaching a net worth of about $100 million. Is Vergara better at acting than Jim Parsons? We don’t think she comes even close, but no one can say she didn’t earn her money.
1 Simon Baker - $45 million
Now, this will be a tough pill to swallow my fellow Big Bang Theory fans. A good deal of the people featured on this list so far was surprising, some not that much; but this last one will make you mad. Because, believe it or not, the freaking Mentalist is richer than Sheldon Cooper.
Yes, Simon Baker, a.k.a. Patrick Jane from The Mentalist, is richer than Jim Parsons. He appeared on other television shows like The Guardian from 2001 to 2004 and Smith from 2006 to 2007, but it was his 151-episode run as Patrick Jane that made Simon Baker famous. And with that success, Baker earned a net worth of around $45 million.
So yes, we might be a bit salty about the number one spot on this list, because if you kept up with us to the end of this article, you will, without a doubt, agree that even though The Mentalist was good, it does not hold a candle to The Big Bang Theory.