Inside The Salaries of Actors and Actresses

Actors and actresses who are just starting in the entertainment industry are probably more focused on what drives their passion than on the money. However, they certainly dream of getting great jobs that allow them to make a living from acting.

In this article, you’ll learn how much actors and actresses get paid in US theatres, TV shows, and films.


In Chicago, the average salary for white performers in a play is $572. An African-American principal earns $628, Hispanic or Latinos earn $539, and Asian-Americans get paid $456, according to the Chicago Tribune.

As for principal in a musical, the average contractual salary for white performers is up to $618. Hispanic or Latino members earn $566, African-Americans earn $491, and Asian performers get paid $525.

How Much Do Performers Get Paid For TV Shows?

Top TV stars like The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki earn around $900,000 for each episode, which equals to $20 million a year. The highest-paid actors of Game of Thrones each make about $500,000 an episode. On Netflix, House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey used to make $500,000 an episode before he was fired due to a sexual assault scandal.

Performers lower on the credits like Game of Thrones’ Indira Varma earn about $55,000 an episode. The lowest paid TV actors such as supporting leads with no prior experience in TV series make about $30,000 an episode. For instance, the kids from Stranger Things earned that amount in their first season.

Highest and Lowest Salaries in Hollywood

According to a report by Forbes based on data from ComScore, Nielsen, IMDB, and Box Office Mojo, as well as interviews, Mark Wahlberg was the highest paid actor in 2017 with $68 million. The highest paid actress was Emma Stone with $26 million, but she was the number 15 on the list behind 14 male performers. Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lawrence followed her with $25.5 million and $24 million, respectively.

Actors and actresses in their first big franchise movie earn between $150,000 and $300,000 and they can expect to earn much more if there’s a sequel. The lowest paid actors are kids with no prior experience, who earn between $65,000 and $75,000.

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