Meet the Film Stars over the Years
Film Stars of the 1920s
- Mary Pickford: One of the earliest leading ladies in silent movies, Pickford was affectionately known as “America’s Sweetheart”. In 1918, First National offered a three film deal worth $675,000 plus half of the profits. Pickford appeared in Sparrows, Poor Little Rich Girl, and My Best Girl.
- Charlie Chaplin: Chaplin was one of the most powerful players in Hollywood. Writing, directing, producing, and acting in his films, he had unprecedented control in the industry. In 1917, Chaplin was offered a contract by First National to make eight comedies for $1 million. In 1919, Chaplin founded United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith. Chaplin’s famous films include City Lights, The Kid, and Modern Times.
- Douglas Fairbanks: Like Chaplin, Fairbanks was a powerful man in Hollywood who produced, wrote, directed, and acted in his brand of swashbuckling movies. He appeared in Robin Hood, The Iron Mask, and The Three Musketeers.
- Harold Lloyd: Also a producer, he was one of those silent actors who made a successful crossover to the “talkies”. The fee for Lloyd was reported to be “$300,000 per picture for two showings”. His major films include Welcome Danger, Grandma’s Boy, and From Hand to Mouth.
- Gloria Swanson: Best known for her role in Sunset Boulevard, Swanson was a famous silent and “talkies” star as well as a singer and producer. Swanson starred in Male and Female, The Affairs of Anatol, The Coast of Folly, and The Love of Sunya. It was reported that Swanson spurned Paramount’s offer of a $1 million a year contract to enjoy greater freedom at United Artists.
Film Stars of the 1930s
- Clark Gable: Best remembered for his career-defining role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, Gable won an Oscar Best Actor for It Happened One Night. His other notable films are Mutiny on the Bounty, Run Silent, Run Deep, and The Misfits for which he was paid $750,000 plus overtime bonus of $58,000 per week.
- Errol Flynn: Possibly the ultimate swashbuckler, Flynn showcased his swashbuckling talents in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Crossed Swords, and The Sea Hawk. In 1942, he was paid $7,000 a week for Edge of Darkness.
- Greta Garbo: One of the earliest sex symbols, Garbo was also a phenomenal actress in such unforgettable movies like Camille, Anna Christie, Anna Karenina, The Temptress, and Two-Faced Woman. In 1948, producer Robert Wagner offered her a contract worth $200,000.
- Fred Astaire: Credited as the person who brought dancing into musical movies in Hollywood, Astaire was the total package as the leading man who could sing and dance. After a successful appearance in Dancing Lady, Astaire went on to star in such classics like Flying Down to Rio, Roberta, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, Ziegfeld Follies, and Finian’s Rainbow.
- Mae West: Though she was well-known as a sex symbol, West was also an accomplished actress and screenwriter. Some of her best films include I’m No Angel, She Done Him Wrong, and Night After Night. It was reported that she made about $340,000 in 1935.
Film Stars of the 1940s
- Bing Crosby: One of America’s most beloved crooners, Crosby sold more than 500 million records in circulation. As a film star, his movies sold more than 1 billion tickets and he won an Oscar Best Actor for Going My Way. Crosby also appeared in Road to Utopia, The Country Girl, and White Christmas. In 1941, Paramount Pictures paid Crosby $300,000.
- Ingrid Bergman: Best known as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca and Alicia Huberman in Notorious, the triple Oscar winner from Sweden also excelled in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gaslight, and The Inn of Sixth Happiness. For her role in Arc of Triumph, Bergman was offered $175,000 plus a share of the profits.
- Joan Crawford: Dubbed “The First Queen of the Movies” by Life magazine in 1937, Crawford won the Oscar Best Actress for her starring role in Mildred Pierce in 1945. Some of her other notable movies are Letty Lynton, A Woman’s Face, Possessed, and Daisy Kenyon. In 1943, Crawford was signed by Warner Bros. for a three-movie deal worth $300,000.
- Spencer Tracy: Tracy acted in numerous movies during his 37-year career including Father of the Bride, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, How the West Was Won, and Woman of the Year. He won the Oscar Best Actor for Captains Courageous and Boys Town. In 1967, Tracy was paid $300,000 for his role in Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner.
- Judy Garland: A supremely talented singer, dancer, and actress, Garland would forever be remembered for her role as Dorothy Gale in the musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz. Her other films are Summer Stock, Meet Me in St. Louis, and Babes in Arms. In 1950, her salary for Summer Stock was reported to be $150,000.
Film Stars of the 1950s
- James Dean: One of the hottest actors at the time of his death, Dean starred in Giant, East of Eden, and Rebel Without a Cause. He was paid $22,500 for his role in Giant.
- Marilyn Monroe: Though she passed away at the height of her fame, her legacy lived on up to this day. Some of her best pictures are The Seven Year Itch, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and How to Marry a Millionaire. In 1955, Monroe got a deal for $100,000 per picture plus other benefits from 20th Century Fox.
- Marlon Brando: One of the biggest icons of cinema, Brando won the Oscar Best Actor for portraying Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront and Vito Corleone in The Godfather. His other notable movies include Viva Zapata!, A Streetcar Named Desire, Julius Caesar, and Last Tango in Paris. For his role as Superman’s father, he was paid a cool $3.7 million.
- Charlton Heston: Most famous for playing the title role in Ben-Hur and Moses in The Ten Commandments, Heston also appeared Planet of the Apes and The Greatest Show on Earth. His salary in the Buccaneer was $250,000.
- Elizabeth Taylor: One of the silver screen’s most glamorous stars, she’s also famous for the number of times she got married. Taylor won the Oscar Best Actress for Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. For her starring role in Cleopatra, her salary was $1 million.
Film Stars of the 1960s
- Julie Andrews: A world famous singer, author, and film and stage actress, Andrews won the Oscar for Best Actress for Mary Poppins and the hearts of international fans as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. She also appeared in La Rosa di Bagdad, The Americanization of Emily, and Victor Victoria. In 1970, Andrews starred in Darling Lili for which she received $1.1 million.
- Sean Connery: Long regarded as the ultimate James Bond, Connery also starred in The Rock, The Hunt for Red October, The Untouchables, and The Great Train Robbery. Connery was paid $20 million for starring in Entrapment.
- Sidney Poitier: He became the first African-American to win the Oscar Best Actor when he played Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field. Poitier also had great success in films like In the Heat of the Night, To Sir, with Love, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Poitier earned $200,000 plus a percentage of gross profits for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
- Audrey Hepburn: Hepburn was as well admired for her fashion sense as her acting talents. After winning the Oscar Best Actress for her role as Ann in Roman Holiday, Hepburn appeared in such classics as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Robin and Marion, and War and Peace. In 1964, Hepburn’s salary for My Fair Lady was reported to be $1 million.
- John Wayne: Best known for his leading roles in westerns, Wayne won the Oscar Best Actor for playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. His other films include The Wings of Eagles, Shepherd of the Hills, Sands of Iwo Jima, and The High and the Mighty. Wayne made about $600,000 per film in the early 1960s.
Film Stars of the 1970s
- Al Pacino: Pacino had a number of memorable roles, most notably Tony Montana in Scarface and Michael Corleone in the Godfather movies. He won the Oscar Best Actor for playing Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. For his role in S1m0ne, Pacino’s salary was $11 million.
- Robert DeNiro: DeNiro is most known for his iconic portrayals as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and Jake LaMotta for Raging Bull, the latter for which he won the Oscar Best Actor. He also won the Oscar Best Supporting Actor for playing a young Vito Corleone in Godfather II. DeNiro’s other films are such classics like Cape Fear, Goodfellas, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings, New York, New York, and Mean Streets. In 2004, his salary for Meet the Fockers was $20 million.
- Clint Eastwood: One of the most respected figures in Hollywood, Eastwood is a great actor, director, and producer. His most famous films are A Fistful of Dollars, the Dirty Harry films, Escape from Alcatraz, and Million Dollar Baby. For his role in Coogan’s Bluff, Eastwood earned $1 million.
- Jack Nicholson: Nicholson is known for his extraordinary portrayals of dark characters like the Joker in Batman, Jack Torrance in The Shining, George Hanson in Easy Rider, and Frank Chambers in The Postman Always Rings Twice. He won the Oscar Best Actor twice for As Good as It Gets and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s reported that Nicholson made an estimated $60 million for his role as the Joker.
- Liza Minnelli: A phenomenal actress and singer like her mother Judy Garland, Minnelli starred in Arthur, New York, New York, and The Sterile Cuckoo. She was paid $250,000 for her role in Cabaret.
Film Stars of the 1980s
- Tom Cruise: One of the most popular film stars in the world, Cruise appeared in top grossing films like Top Gun, Minority Report, Jerry Maguire, War of the Worlds, and Collateral. For Mission: Impossible III, it was reported that Cruise earned an estimated $75 million.
- Harrison Ford: Best known for portraying Han Solo in the Star Wars movies and starring as Indiana Jones, Ford also appeared in such movies like Patriot Games, Blade Runner, The Fugitive, and Cowboys and Aliens. For his role in Six Days, Seven Nights, Ford was paid $20 million.
- Sigourney Weaver: Though Weaver is most remembered for playing Ellen Ripley in the Alien pictures, she’s a diverse actress who also starred in Gorillas in the Mist, Ghostbusters, Working Girl, and Avatar. For Alien: Resurrection, Weaver was paid $11 million in 1997.
- Sylvester Stallone: Stallone achieved international stardom as Rocky and Rambo in the highly successful franchises. A true action star, he also appeared in movies like Over the Top, the Expendables, Demolition Man, Cliffhanger, and Assassins. In 2002, Stallone was paid $20 million for starring in D-Tox.
- Goldie Hawn: An international star, Hawn appeared in films like Private Benjamin, Bird on a Wire, The First Wives Club, and Death Becomes Her. She won the Oscar Best Supporting Actress for playing Toni Simmons in Cactus Flower. In 1992, Hawn was paid $3 million for her role in Death Becomes Her.
Film Stars of the 1990s
- Whoopi Goldberg: A highly talented comedian and actress, Goldberg won the Oscar Best Supporting Actress for her role as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost. Her other films include Girl, Interrupted, the Sister Act movies, and The Color Purple. In 1993, Goldberg starred in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and her salary was $7 million.
- Jackie Chan: The action comedy star first made waves in the US with Rumble in the Bronx. His other films are The Forbidden Kingdom, Around the World in 80 Days, The Tuxedo, and Shanghai Noon. For starring in Rush Hour 3 in 2007, Chan’s salary was $15 million plus 15 percent gross.
- Michelle Pfeiffer: Pfeiffer was one of the most popular leading ladies in Hollywood, appearing in classic like Batman Returns, Dangerous Liaisons, The Age of Innocence, and Scarface. In 2000, Pfeiffer was paid $10.5 million for her role in What Lies Beneath.
- Tom Hanks: Hanks is a versatile actor who gave spirited performances in many movies like Big, The Terminal, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, and the Toy Story films. He won Oscar Best Actor for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. For his role in Forrest Gum in 1994, Hanks earned $70 million.
- Jim Carrey: After the success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Carrey starred in a string of highly successful comedies like The Mask, Man on the Moon, The Cable Guy, Dumb and Dumber, The Truman Show, and Liar, Liar. For his role in Bruce Almighty in 2003, Carrey was paid $25 million.
Film Stars of the 2000s
- Cate Blanchett: One of the most respected actresses in Hollywood, Blanchett’s defining role was the Virgin Queen in Elizabeth but she would win the Oscar Best Supporting Actress for playing Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Blanchett also appeared in Robin Hood, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Notes on a Scandal, and the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s reported that she makes approximately $13 million for each picture.
- Christian Bale: Though he’s well known for playing Batman and Bruce Wayne, he had career-defining roles in American Psycho, The Machinist, and Empire of the Sun. Portraying Dicky Eklund in The Fighter, Bale won the Oscar Best Supporting Actor. Starring in Terminator: Salvation, Bale made $8 million plus percentage of gross.
- Daniel Radcliffe: Known around the world for playing Harry Porter in 8 blockbuster movies, Radcliffe’s other films are December Boys and Panama. In 2010, Radcliffe’s salary for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was $33 million.
- Emma Watson: Watson is an international star who’s known for her portrayal as Harry Potter’s best friend Hermione through the entire series. It’s reported that Watson was paid $15 million for her part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
- Robert Pattinson: One of the hottest young stars in the world, he’s best known for playing the romantic mind-reading vampire Edward Cullen in the super popular Twilight franchise. He also appeared in Remember Me, Little Ashes, and Water for Elephants. For starring in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, it’s reported that Pattinson will be paid $12.5 million plus 2.5 percent of gross.
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