This is our list of the richest and most successful actors in the world. We chose not to rank them in order of net worth; rather these are the wealthiest, most impactful actors of today. We’ve also included some special mentions for you…
Leading Hollywood man, William Bradley Pitt born in 1963, is well-known for taking on diverse roles for his films. Since his break-out role in Thelma & Louise in 1991, and not wanting to be type-cast, Pitt has challenged himself with very different character-parts in movies such as A River Runs Through it (1992), 12 Monkeys (1995), The Devil’s Own (1997), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Meet Joe Black (1998), Fight Club (1999), Troy (2004) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Burn After Reading (2008), Inglorious Bastards (2009), Eat, Pray Love(2010), World War Z (2013), to Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019).
For example, in Seven Years In Tibet, Pitt trained for months for the role, which demanded significant mountain climbing and trekking practice, including rock climbing in California and the European Alps. Pitt had to master not just an Irish accent for The Devil’s Own, in Snatch, he had basically to master an Irish dialect, which he claimed only came together the night before filming started. If anyone thought Pitt was not versatile enough already as an actor, in Burn After Reading, Pitt showed off his comedic skills, and often killed it with just one line!
Pitt’s production company Plan B produced The Departed (2006), 12 Years a Slave (2013), both of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also The Tree of Life (2011), Moneyball (2011) and The Big Short (2015) all of which were nominated for Best Picture. Plan B also produced quite a few of the movies starring Pitt. For his craft, Brad has accumulated a net worth of approximately $320 million. Even more important for Pitt, he earned his first Oscar win in 2020 for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Often compared to Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise is another leading Hollywood man who first shot to fame with Top Guns (1986). Born one year apart from Pitt in 1962, Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, is one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, often commanding upwards of $100 million for his iconic role as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible series.
One could say that Tom Cruise is the epitome of a Hollywood leading man having starred in quintessentially American movies like Born on the Fourth of July (1989), A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), Interview with the Vampire (1994), and Jerry Maguire (1996). Tom was nominated for an Academy’s Best Actor award for Born on Fourth of July and he won a Golden Globe for it. For Jerry Maguire, Tom won another Golden Globe and his second Academy nomination.
Although of late, Cruise has been taking on action roles like in Mission Impossible, Jack Reacher, The Mummy, and Edge of Tomorrow, he has also proved himself to be a versatile actor with films like Interview with a Vampire, Eyes Wide Shut (1999), The Last Samurai (2003) and as the narrator in Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures (2001). Cruise is the more commercially successful, having made a fortune of some $570 million in 2020.
Born in 1965, another American actor who can be said to be in the cohort of Pitt and Cruise is Robert John Downey Jr. Widely considered to be one of Hollywood’s most gifted actors. Downey is also a very versatile performer, having played Richard III alongside celebrated thespian, Ian McKellen, Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin (1992), which won him plaudits and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and in the critically acclaimed Zodiac (2007), a psychological thriller. However, his international acclaim has to be Tony Stark in the Iron Man series which are both commercial and critical success.
Downey’s films have grossed over $14.5 billion worldwide, making him the second highest-grossing box-office actor of all time. Outside of motion pictures, Robert Downey Jr also had various television roles, for example, in Ally McBeal (2000 to 2002), Saturday Night Live (1985 to 1986) and as host of The Age of A.I. (2019).
Although Downey was beset with a drug problem for a while – he has maintained that he’s been drug free since 2003 – this talented actor has a net worth in 2020 of approximately $300 million.
Tom Hanks majored in drama at California State University. Born Thomas Jeffrey Hanks on July 9, 1956, this American actor and filmmaker is known for his comedic (Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998)) and numerous dramatic roles. However, it’s his dramatic roles in films like Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994) that have showcased just how talented an actor he is. He is the first actor to have won an Oscar for Best Actor for two consecutive years for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump since Spencer Tracy. Hanks has gone on to star in notable films like Apollo 13 (1995), The Green Mile (1999), Road to Perdition (2002), Captain Phillips (2013) and the Robert Langdon series, all of which have brought Hanks praise and critical reviews. In 2019 Hanks played Mister Rogers, in the biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighbour. For this performance, Hanks picked up his sixth Oscar nomination for best support actor.
These roles have made Hanks an American cultural icon and compared to some of the Hollywood greats like Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant and Gregory Peck of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Hanks’ films have grossed more than $4.9 billion in North America and more than $9.96 billion worldwide, making him the fifth-highest-grossing actor in North America. This American Cultural Icon has a net worth of approximately $400 million as of 2020.
Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born on January 3, 1956 in New York State, USA. Gibson moved with his family to Australia when he was twelve. He later studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney and made his film debut playing a surfer in Summer City (1977). Two years after graduating, Gibson would star in George Miller’s futuristic action film Mad Max which earned him the Australian Film Institute’s award for best actor. With Mad Max under his belt, Gibson would win the award again in Gallipoli in 1981, a World War I drama.
A year later in 1982, Mel Gibson would star in the highly acclaimed The Year of Living Dangerously about the last years of President Sukarno’s rule in Indonesia. This role in a serious film won him high praise from critics and established Mel’s prowess as an actor.
In the Lethal Weapon films, Gibson found commercial success and in 1995, he directed and starred in Braveheart where he played Scottish national hero, Sir William Wallace. The film won five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. In 2004, Gibson directed the Passion of Christ which although a box-office success had critics slamming it as gratuitously violent and anti-Semitic.
Notwithstanding, that Mel Gibson is a gifted actor, there is no doubt. In 2019, he co-starred with Sean Penn in The Professor and the Madman. As of 2020, Mel Gibson is worth approximately $430 million.
Sean Connery was born August 25, 1930. He is a famous Scottish retired actor most popular for starring as James Bond from 1962 to 1983. His career began in 1954 and ended in 2006. In his 50+ years long career, the retired actor has won one Academy, two BAFTA, and three Golden Globes Awards.
Johnny Depp was born on June 9, 1963, in Kentucky as John Christopher Depp II. He is a well-known actor, producer, and musician. He is known as a prolific and unique actor who has starred in numerous films. Early in his life, Johnny decided to pursue his music career and dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to pursue music. However, movies beckoned, and in 1984, Depp starred in his debut film A Nightmare On Elm Street. Thereafter, Depp would be seen in the popular television series, 21 Jump Street. Then came the fairy tale fantasy, Edward Scissorhands, in which he had the opportunity to flex his acting muscles to not just take on the starring role of Edward Scissorhands, but also to develop the fairy-tale character to be uniquely a Johnny Depp creation. The experience and skills Depp harnessed would be well applied later to Jack Sparrow.
Depp then collaborated with Tim Burton on a few of his movies like Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow in the 90s and more recently Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland. His iconic role as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series has been one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, grossing over $4.5 billion worldwide.
In 2020, Johnny Depp has an estimated net worth of $200 million dollars.
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio, born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles, U.S. is an American actor and producer, who emerged in the early 1990s as a teen actor with exceptional ability and sensitivity to take on biographic roles like in The Basketball Diaries. The teen who wowed critics grew up to be one of Hollywood’s leading performers, noted for his consummate portrayals of unconventional and complex characters.
In 1996, DiCaprio further showed fans and critics his acting depth by taking on the role of Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Then in 1997, his rather poignant and sensitive portrayal of Jack Dawson in James Cameron’s epic love story, Titanic would send DiCaprio to stratospheric stardom and make the film one of the highest-grossing films in Hollywood history. With Titanic, many good and interesting roles were to follow.
In 2000, DiCaprio starred in The Beach, a dark tale (akin to an adult version of The Lord of the Flies) about a group of backpackers who believed they had found paradise in a secret beach in Thailand. Thereafter, DiCaprio would lead in iconic films like Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and Steven Spielberg’s bio-pic Catch Me If You Can which won him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Denzel Washington’s acting skills and popularity as a leading man was firmly established with roles in films like Mississippi Masala (1991), the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing (1993), the court-room drama Philadelphia and of course, his pivotal Malcolm X in Malcolm X for which Washington won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Washington received a second best-actor nomination for his portrayal of boxer Rubin Carter in The Hurricane (1999).
Aside from intensely dramatic roles, Denzel was also seen in a few thrillers like The Taking of Pelham 123 and as a vigilante in The Equalizer series. Washington has acted in 45 movies in his career. Out of 96 nominations for all film awards, Washington has won 39 of them. In 2016, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.
Denzel Washington, born December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York, USA, is one of the few Hollywood actors who has received consistent praise for his acting and success at the box office. He has managed to dispel the myth that African American actors could not attract mainstream white audiences. As of 2020, he is worth an estimated $220 million.
Harrison Ford, born July 13, 1942, is almost synonymous with Han Solo in the 70s, Indiana Jones in the 80s and for his roles in thrillers such as Witness (1985), The Fugitive (1983), film versions of Tom Clancy Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994). For those of us who have grown up watching Harrison Ford, he was pure adrenalin.
Aside from adrenalin-charged thrillers, we will also remember Ford in the original Blade Runner in 1982, and in the 2017 Blade Runner 2049. At the other end of the acting spectrum, Ford has also shown himself to be quite the comic with roles in romantic comedies like Working Girl(1988), Sabrina (1995), Six Days, Seven Nights (1998), Random Hearts (1999), Morning Glory (2010) and The Age of Adaline (2015).
Ford’s career has spanned six decades and he has worked with some of the most influential filmmakers of all time like George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Peter Weir, and Mike Nichols.
As of 2019, the aggregate box-office sales of Ford’s films total over $5.1 billion in the US and $9.3 billion on a worldwide basis. Ford is also the recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award and the Cecil B. DeMille Award.
This prolific actor is worth an estimated $300 million as of 2020.
Samuel Leroy Jackson is a highly popular actor whose films in total have grossed over $27 billion worldwide. Fans will remember fondly his roles in films such as Goodfellas (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Jurassic Park (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Django Unchained (2012).
Born in 1948, on December 21, Jackson is known to be a really hard-working actor and has appeared in over 150 films and his roles have spanned from the intensely dramatic, action heroes in thrillers, fantasy, and sci-fi-like Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), The Negotiator (1998), Shaft (2000), and Kong: Skull Island (2017). Jackson has also voiced in animations like The Incredibles (2004) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), to name but a few.
Jackson was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Pulp Fiction, and out of 10 nominations for all film awards, Jackson has won four of them.
Morgan Freeman started his acting career on the stage in theater productions of Shakespeare’s works such as Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, In the late 80s, Freedom became famous for roles in films such as Street Smart (1987) and Driving Miss Daisy (1990). Then in the 90s, Freeman received critical acclaim in The Shawshank Redemption released in 1994, Seven (1995) and Amistad (1997).
Freeman then started to appear in box-office hits like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Outbreak (1995) and Deep Impact (1998). Freeman has also shown his funny side in Bruce Almighty where he was God, alongside funnyman Jim Carrey. In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Freeman played Lucius Fox. In 2009, Freeman was Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus. For this role, Freeman was nominated for an Academy Award.
Freeman has also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004). In 2011 and 2012, Morgan Freeman received the AFI Life Achievement Award and the Cecile B. DeMille Award, respectively. Blessed with a deep baritone, Freeman is often a narrator for the Discovery and National Geographic Channels.
Born in 1937 on June 1, Morgan Freeman has a net worth of $250 million.
Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. born August 17, 1943, is best known for his role as the young Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II (1974). In Taxi Driver (1976) De Niro was Travis Bickle and a soldier in the Vietnam War drama, The Deer Hunter – these two roles won him a nomination each for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
De Niro also starred in Goodfellas (1990), Awakenings (1990) and in Cape Fear (1991), all of which won for De Niro praise from critics for his performance. De Niro also has a caustically funny side when he took on roles in Wag the Dog (1997), Analyze This (1999), and Meet the Parents (2000).
Robert De Niro is the winner of various awards, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honor and a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from President Barack Obama in 2016.
In 2019, De Niro starred in two acclaimed films; the thriller Joker (2019), and Scorsese’s crime epic, The Irishman (2019). Indeed, De Niro and Scorsese have made nine feature films together, and six of De Niro’s films have been inducted into the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
As of 2020, Robert De Niro is estimated to have a net worth of $500 million.
Jack Nicholson is a prolific actor whose roles have spanned comedy, romance, villainous characters to serious drama.
Born as John Joseph Nicholson on April 22, 1937, this actor and filmmaker has been in the movie industry for more than 60 years. His role as Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as a new patient in a mental institute is widely recognized as one of the greatest films ever made. Nicholson’s other noteworthy roles in The Shinning (1980), Terms of Endearment (1983), and As Good As It Gets (1997), to name a few, have shown the range and ability of Nicholson’s acting skills.
Nicholson is also the most nominated actor in the Academy’s history, having been nominated 12 times and winning an Academy twice, one for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and for As Good as it Gets. He also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Terms of Endearment (1983), starring Shirley MacLaine. Other than Academy Awards, Nicholson has also won six Golden Globe Awards and was in 1994 awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award when he was just 57 years old.
As of 2020, Nicholson has built up an estimated net worth of $400 million.
Sir Anthony Hopkins is a multi-award-winning British actor who has played a score of roles, from eminently notable ones to ones less memorable (for example, The Rite, 2011). Still Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins born December 31, 1937 in Wales the recipient of one Academy Award, three BAFTAs, two Emmys and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Hopkins also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.
Hopkins was actually scouted by Sir Laurence Olivier who invited him to join the Royal National Theatre in 1965, where Hopkins played a number of productions, including Shakespearean plays like King Lear, a known role of Sir Hopkins. Hopkins’ last stage performance was in M. Butterfly in 1989 about the relationship between a French diplomat and a male Peking Opera Singer who was believed to be a spy.
Hopkins’ film career took an upward trajectory when he first played Hannibal Lecter (a role he would reprise a number of times in other Hannibal Lecter films, most notably in Red Dragon, starring Ralph Fiennes) in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), beside Jodie Foster, although Hopkins had gained recognition earlier for his role as Richard the Lionheart in The Lion in Winter (1968).
Hopkins went on to win nominations for other Academy Awards for The Remains of the Day (1993), Nixon (1995), Amistad (1997) and recently, The Two Popes (2019).
Sir Hopkins has built up a considerable fortune of approximately $160 million in 2020.
Sean Penn is an American actor, filmmaker, and activist who was married to Madonna from 1985 to 1989. During his marriage to Madonna, Sean got into a few well-publicized fights with the Paparrazi, which resulted in a jail term for Sean.
Sean Justin Penn was born in Santa Monica, California in August 17, 1960.
Sean’s early roles in films like Taps (1981), Fast Times in Ridgemont High (1982), Bad Boys (1983), and Crackers (1984) were well-received enough. However, from the middle of the 90s onward, he peaked as an incredible performer, and the Academy took notice. He got his first Oscar nomination when he played Dead Man Walking. Four years later, playing a jazz musician in Sweet and Lowdown earned him his second Oscar nomination. When he was nominated for the role of a father who had severe mental illness issues in the movie I Am Sam, everyone thought that he would finally win his Oscar. But that didn’t happen. He would have to wait for another two years to finally get his golden statue.
His first Oscar came for his part in the movie Mystic River, a crime drama staged in Boston. The movie is wildly considered one of the best movies made in the last 30 years. His co-star in that movie, Tim Robbins, also won an Oscar for his performance. His second Oscar would come six years later when he portrayed the openly gay politician, Harvey Milk, in the biopic directed by Gus Van Sant. Penn was always a fearless activist for many causes and didn’t shy away from portraying a gay personality on the screen.
Sean has caused a few controversies for his political views and activism, like his interview of Joaquin Guzman, El Chapo, in the year that El Chapo was apprehended by the US DEA. Still, this multi-talented actor while enduring a few years of slower start has transformed himself into the deadly serious actor that he is today, and as of 2020 he has built a net worth of some $150 million.
Sir Ian Murray McKellen born May 25, 1939, is a classically trained English actor whose career has spanned various genres from Shakespearean and modern theatre, to fantasy and sci-fi.
McKellen’s most popular role to date has got to be Gandalf, in the Harry Potter series, and Magneto, in the X-Men series. However, McKellen has performed many notable roles which received critical acclaim, ranging from stage productions to movie roles. Outside of his Hollywood blockbusters, his role as the titular King in Richard III (1995) and James Whale in Gods and Monsters (1998) have been met with praise from critics worldwide. Sir Ian McKellen is widely considered to be a British Cultural Icon.
This thespian is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. He has also received nominations for two Academy Awards, five Primetime Emmy Award and four BAFTAs.
As of 2020, Sir Ian McKellen is estimated to be worth $60 million, and he is openly gay.
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is one of the new cohorts of English actors who have made it big in Hollywood in recent years. Born in July 19, 1976, Benedict is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Classical Acting, Cumberbatch first performed at the Open-Air Theatre, Regent’s Park in Shakespearean productions. He first made his West End debut in Richard Eyre’s revival of Hedda Gabler in 2005, and various other theater productions like Frankenstein in 2011.
In television, Cumberbatch’s major role in Sherlock has been one of the most popular since 2010. He also played Stephen Hawking in the television film Hawking in 2004, garnering praise all round.
His film credits have also been pretty amazing, having starred in Star Trek Into the Darkness (2013) as Khan, 12 Years a Slave (2013) as William Prince Ford, as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (2014), as Dr Stephen Strange in Dr Strange (2016), in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), and of course, as the characters, Smaug and the Necromancer in the Hobbit films.
Benedict Cumberbatch has won numerous awards, like the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor, a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Alan Turing in the Imitation Game.
As a relative newcomer, Benedict has quickly accumulated a net worth of $30 million as of 2020.
Donald Frank Cheadle Jr. born November 29, 1964, is an American actor, author, director, producer, and writer.
Cheadle has built a name for himself in Hollywood with roles like Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Rosewood (1997) and Boogie Nights (1997). He has also worked with Steven Soderbergh in Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000) and The Ocean’s Trilogy (2001 – 2007) that have further solidified this actor’s popularity. For his role as Hotel Manager Paul Rusesabagina in the genocide drama Hotel Rwanda (2004), Cheadle was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Cheadle also won a Golden Globe Award in 2013 for his role the Showtime comedy series, House of Lies. Since 2019, Cheadle has starred as Maurice Monroe in the Showtime series Black Monday, which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 2019.
His various superhero roles in Iron Man series, the Avengers series, and the Captain America series have earned him global recognition and commercial success.
As of 2020, Don Cheadle is worth approximately $35 million.
Matthew David McConaughey’s first breakthrough performance came when he starred in the leading role of the legal drama A Time to Kill in 1996. Thereafter, he established himself in Hollywood with roles in Contact (1997), Amistad (1997), The Newton Boys (1998) and the war-film U-571 (2000).
Then came the 2000s where McConaughey became even more popular with a string of romantic comedies like the Wedding Planner (2001), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009). After this, McConaughey played supporting roles in a number of more serious films like Magic Mike (20120 and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), where his performance was hailed. But it was his role as Ron Woodroof a cowboy with HIV and then AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) that won him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
For the roles that Matthew McConaughey has taken on, from showing his physique in Magic Mike to losing a lot of weight for the role of Ron Woodroof, he is today an established actor in Hollywood, and as of 2020, he has a net worth of about $100 million.
Bradley Cooper will forever be remembered for his role in The Hangover comedy trilogy as a comic genius. Cooper wasn’t always an actor to tickle your funny bone, as his roles in Limitless (2011) about a down and out writer who encountered a pill that had the ability to bio-hack into his intelligence and brain function to not just turn his life around, but ultimately resulting in unintended consequences, and in The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), where he played a rookie cop, received positive comments from critics.
Bradley Charles Cooper was born on January 5, 1975. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. He has won two Grammy Awards and a BAFTA Award. His films have grossed $11 billion worldwide and he was named one of the highest-paid actors for four years running.
Bradley’s latest work A Star Is Born has earned him three Oscar nominations, his one BAFTA award and the two Grammys for the single Shallow. Off-set, Cooper is also a stage actor, having appeared in a Broadway revival of The Elephant Man (2014-2015) for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.