Despite the Hollywood pay gap, these 20 queens of the big screen are still raking in million-dollar contracts – and they’re putting the “business” into “show business” as well. By combining a flair for the dramatic with an enterprising eye, they’ve cleverly built upon their huge fan following to negotiate mega-buck endorsement deals and launch their own lucrative consumer lines. Here are the blockbuster beauties that know how to bank the greenbacks…
20. Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer has banked quite a bit throughout her career, to say the least. Her $80 million fortune comes from a successful run of high-profile movie roles, including a slinky spin as Catwoman in Batman Returns. In 2000, meanwhile, Pfeiffer consolidated her standing as a bona fide leading lady when she received a $10.5 million paycheck for the thriller What Lies Beneath.
19. Salma Hayek
She may be married to a billionaire businessman, but with a hefty $85 million to her name, Salma Hayek can bankroll her own business ventures. The actress rose to fame in her native Mexico before getting her Hollywood big break in Desperado. Since then, she’s founded her own production company and landed endorsement deals with Lincoln and Avon, as well as starring in a multitude of movies.
18. Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet earned $2 million for her legendary Titanic performance in 1997 and has pocketed seven-digit paychecks ever since. She collected over $3 million and an Oscar for her role in The Reader, scored $1.6 million to be the face of Lancôme and is currently worth an impressive $90 million.
17. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sex and the City icon Sarah Jessica Parker earned an incredible $3.2 million per episode as executive producer and leading lady of the hit TV series. Despite limited box-office success outside of the franchise, the actress continues to rake in the cash with her multi-million dollar fragrance line, bringing her net worth to $90 million.
16. Cameron Diaz
Hollywood stalwart Cameron Diaz has been surfing the big-money wave since she was first catapulted to fame in The Mask. Diaz made $20 million as a Charlie’s Angel in 2003, took home $10 million on both Shrek 2 and Shrek Forever After and is now worth a cool $100 million.
15. Jodie Foster
Former child star Jodie Foster grew up to be one of the silver screen’s most prolific actresses, with a net worth today of around $100 million. The Silence of the Lambs star started bringing home the big bucks in the 1990s; for example, she took home a very tidy $15 million for Anna and the King in 1999.
14. Sofía Vergara
Sofía Vergara made a whopping $28.5 million in 2015 alone, with each Modern Family episode earning her $190,000. The Columbian beauty is also an entrepreneur who owns her own talent agency and has scored lucrative endorsement deals with big brands such as Kmart and Pepsi, all helping bring her net worth to $100 million.
13. Charlize Theron
Leading lady Charlize Theron has netted $110 million through her roles in blockbusters and Dior advertisements. What’s more, in 2015 the shrewd stunner demanded over $10 million to reprise her Snow White and the Huntsman part after finding out that Chris Hemsworth had been offered much more than his female co-stars. You go, girl!
12. Jane Fonda
At 77, Jane Fonda shows no signs of slowing down and continues to add to her $120 million fortune. The 2016 Golden Globe nominee has cashed in on a string of workout DVDs and pocketed an estimated $19.5 million earlier this year from the sale of her New Mexico ranch.
11. Nicole Kidman
Since taking home her first major Hollywood paycheck for Days of Thunder in 1990, Aussie actress Nicole Kidman has seen her salary grow astronomically, from $200,000 to around $17 million. Kidman has also made millions promoting Etihad Airways and Chanel perfume, bringing her net worth to around $120 million.
10. Courteney Cox
Courteney Cox could have comfortably retired on her multi-million dollar Friends fortune, but the actress went on to make a reported $13 million from the Scream franchise and $275,000 an episode for Cougar Town. Today, Cox is worth around $120 million; having said that, though, she has at least one famous Friend that’s even richer…
9. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore earned $75,000 from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – not a bad salary for a six-year-old. But it’s nothing compared to the premium paychecks she commands today, not to mention the $125 million she has in the bank. In 2011, though, Forbes named Barrymore Hollywood’s most overpaid actress, claiming that she brought in just 40 cents at the box office for every dollar she made.
8. Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts has banked an incredible $140 million since earning her first million-dollar paycheck for Sleeping with the Enemy in 1991. The pretty woman struck gold when she became the face of Lancôme and Givenchy, while Gianfranco Ferré paid her a staggering $5 million for just one year’s promotional work.
7. Gwyneth Paltrow
Even if she is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, Gwyneth Paltrow no longer has to act for a living but can keep her $140 million fortune topped up promoting brands like Max Factor and Hugo Boss. The Iron Man star, in fact, makes a colossal $3 million a year from Estée Lauder campaigns alone.
6. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston and her on-screen pals are still on the Friends payroll, banking millions each year in royalties. The rest of Aniston’s $150 million fortune comes from high-paying movie roles – including her $25 million Marley & Me paycheck – and commercial contracts with SmartWater, Aveeno and Living Proof.
5. Demi Moore
Demi Moore was the highest-earning actress of the nineties after pocketing a previously unheard of $12.5 million from Striptease. The ageless beauty has now racked up $150 million both as a leading lady and a producer, and is currently selling her Central Park penthouse for a phenomenal $75 million.
4. Angelina Jolie
Actress, director and UN ambassador Angelina Jolie is a woman of many talents – and many millions. And it’s safe to say that Jolie’s salary has risen astronomically since she pocketed her first $7 million Lara Croft paycheck in 2001. In 2014, in fact, she commanded a colossal $33 million for Maleficent, bringing her total fortune to $200 million.
3. Sandra Bullock
Space thriller Gravity boasted record-breaking opening sales in October 2013, and Sandra Bullock’s $60 million paycheck for the movie was out of this world, too. Bullock hasn’t made all of her $200 million in front of the camera, though: she also owns her own production company and a couple of Texan restaurants.
2. Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba isn’t just the pretty face from Sin City and Fantastic Four – she’s also an astute businesswoman who co-founded a billion-dollar enterprise. The Honest Company sells toxin-free home and childcare products, and Alba, who owns a fifth of the business, is now worth over $200 million.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus easily takes the top spot of the richest actresses in the world with an estimated $3 billion fortune. She may be the daughter of a billionaire herself, but the comedy queen has successfully made her own moolah, earning $600,000 per episode during Seinfeld’s final season and raking in DVD royalties on the show to this day.