The 90s. A decade us millennials all hold in reverence and a decade our parents would rather forget about. The 90s were a time of many changes, but nowhere bigger that change than Hollywood. Technology was becoming more advanced, as scenes that would originally use on set magic were now being rendered using a computer. Blockbusters continued their reign at the box office and many stars came attached with it. These stars not only became household names and made classic movies, but they pulled in some huge paychecks.
It was a time for stars becoming A-listers and trying their hand in different roles of film production such as directing and producing. Many started their own production companies and made movies outside the control of big executives. Stars who were popular in the 80s gained more success, while others weren't as lucky. The 90s welcomed lot of newcomers eager to prove themselves and work along side veteran actors, while earning those big time salaries. While those paychecks may have carried them into the next decade, were they able to thrive off that success or did fade into the background? Here are the 20 Richest 90s Actors: Where Are They Now?
20 Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is everyone’s favorite nice guy and for a good reason. His performances in films highlight his versatility and range. From playing the title character in Forest Gump to taking on the role of astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, both of which won Academy Awards, Hanks has captured everyone’s attention. Hanks became a desirable star during the ‘90s, and audiences jumped right onto the Hanks train that drove straight to box-office gold. Hanks is well known for several high profile 90’s films such as Toy Story and Saving Private Ryan, the latter of which he reportedly earned a whopping $40 million for. But, Hanks didn’t stop there. Many of his 2000s movies, like Cast Away and Catch Me If You Can, became critical and financial successes.
Hanks has kept up his success for the past few decades, as he's even become one of the top earning actors of all time.
His roles vary on and off screen. He has the ability to transition between lighthearted roles, voicing Woody in the Toy Story franchise, to dramatic and serious roles, like his portrayal of Chesley Sullenberger in Sully. He made the transition to working behind the scenes when he directed, wrote and produced music for the movie That Thing You Do! starring himself and Liv Tyler. Hanks also created his own production company called Playtone. Hanks is a man of many talents, but his most admirable remains his ability to take on such diversified roles and throw himself into them. His most recent movie, The Post, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2017.
19 Tom Cruise
The 80s were a decade full of action films, and the 90s kept that trend going with one of its biggest entries: Mission Impossible. Although it received mixed critical reviews, the film gained commercial success and became a staple franchise in the genre. The blockbuster grossed over $400 million with Tom Cruise netting a paycheck of $70 million. The success of the film could have easily trapped him as an action film star, but he decided to push beyond that with the romantic comedy Jerry Maguire and the mature drama Eyes Wide Shut. His no nonsense flair and comedic timing connected with all audiences alike.
Cruise kept his success going into the new millennium with films like Minority Report, which grossed a bit over $358 million and was nominated for an Academy Award, and the Mission Impossible sequels. He kept the blockbusters coming with movies like The Last Samurai and War of the Worlds, taking his spot as one of the most bankable actors in the last few decades. Cruise is set to release his next movie, Mission Impossible: Fallout, on July 27, 2018. It's the 6th installment in the series and if the trailers are any indication, this may be the best on yet. He'll also be filmed a sequel to Top Gun this summer, so Tom Cruise will likely keep on earning big days.
18 Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey got his start on the sketch show In Living Color in 1990 before exploding onto the major film scene with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. He seems to have been destined for financial success from the start. During an interview with Oprah, Carey told her that he wrote himself a check for $10 million when he was a struggling actor. When he finished his work with Dumb and Dumber, he finally had that sum. It wasn't just his his brand of slap-stick and bodily humor, as he could contort his face in a variety of expressions, that sent him straight to the top with audiences. While Carey's kinetic performances pulled in success and he tends to gravitate towards the comedy genre, he has acted in some dramas. Some dramas he's starred in include The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, which he gained critical acclaim for proving that he isn't a one trick pony.
He kept a big name during the 2000s, taking on big movies such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bruce Almighty and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In recent years, Carrey has kept away from the big screen, opting more to work on smaller project like the Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond and his own personal artwork.
17 Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson was well known throughout the late 70s and 80s for starring in the Mad Max films and Lethal Weapon series. He kept busy during the 90s by being in at least one film almost every year until 2000. His most notable success during the decade was 1995’s Braveheart, which he not only starred in, but directed. The film grossed $210.4 million worldwide and won several Academy Awards including Best Picture. Gibson finished out the 90s with action packed movies like Payback and Lethal Weapon 4, then he turned his attention to the director’s chair.
While he may be taking a break from acting, Gibson has shown himself to be a terrific director.
2004 saw a huge directing success for Gibson as his film The Passion of the Christ brought in $612 million. The film, revolving around the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life, received polarizing reviews but was the first in a line of films Gibson would produce, including Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man and Apocalypto. He has had smaller roles in films as of late, however he received major success in 2016 when he directed the war drama Hacksaw Ridge.
16 Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts broke into worldwide attention quickly at the start of the decade when she played Vivian Ward in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman, which came out in the first year of the decade. The film was widely successful, making over $463 million worldwide, as fans loved the connection between Roberts and Richard Gere's character. Audiences were drawn in by Roberts emotional vulnerability and her success continued with films like The Pelican Brief and My Best Friend’s Wedding. She even had some notable TV cameros during the decade, showing up on Friends, Murphy Brown, and Law & Order.
She jumped into the 2000s with immediate success starring in the lead role for Erin Brockovich, a performance in which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress. After that, Roberts scored another big hit with Ocean’s Eleven. At that time, she solidified her status as one of the highest paid actresses in the world, which began all the way back in the 90s. She remained active in film, playing in numerous pictures throughout the 2000s. Her most recent film Wonder made $300 million worldwide and received positive reviews.
15 Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner’s acting career started in the 80s after his first role in the western Silverado. He was propelled into the biz in the late 80s after performing in well-known hits such as The Untouchables, No Way Out, Bull Durham and perhaps most noteworthy, Field of Dreams. Costner’s roles won over audiences and critics alike, but he quickly proved acting wasn’t his only strong suit. His debut as a director in the 1990 epic Dances with Wolves which was not only well received, but won seven Oscars, including one for Costner for Best Director. Dances with Wolves reportedly grossed more than $424 million worldwide.
Costner continued to see success in the both on and off the screen in the ‘90s with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, JFK and The Bodyguard. Everything Costner touched seemed to turn to gold, until his luck seemed to run out. Costner struggled to continue to win over the audience, with A Perfect World, Wyatt Earp and Waterworld all flopping at the box office. Even through the disappointments, Costner has continued to propel himself into projects both on-and-off screen, even recently. In 2014, Costner starred in a handful of films, including Man of Steel and Draft Day, followed by McFarland in 2015.
14 Harrison Ford
You can’t think of Harrison Ford without thinking of his iconic 80s characters like Indiana Jones or Han Solo. These were the movies that put him on the map, where he stayed for much of the early 90s, bringing in the cash and acclaim for films like Patriot Games and The Fugitive, the latter of which raked in over $368 million worldwide. After, that began taking on roles that were much more dramatic than the quippy characters that he was known for. With movies like Presumed Innocent and Regarding Henry, Ford took on characters that were weighted with emotional depth and the audiences engaged. Presumed Innocent went on to gross over $221 million worldwide.
How can you not have a good feeling about casting Harrison Ford?
The late 90s weren’t as kind to Ford, but the turn of the Millennium Falcon brought him back. In 2008, Ford reprised his role as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film that made a staggering $786 million worldwide. Along with bringing back Indy, Ford also found massive success reprising the role of Han Solo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie crushed cinemas all over the world by bringing in over $2 billion worldwide.
13 Arnold Schwarzenegger
Audiences love a good action movie, and there is no greater action movie star than Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was even in an AC/DC music video and you can’t get much cooler than that! Regarded as one of the world’s greatest bodybuilders, he rose to fame after starring in action movies like Conan the Barbarian in the 80s. His streak continued into the next decade when he played in now classic flicks like Total Recall and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Both films were critically acclaimed and drew in big numbers at the box office with Total Recall making $261 million, while Terminator 2 dominated the box office with a take of $519 million worldwide.
The 2000s saw Schwarzenegger shy away from acting, becoming involved in politics and serving as the governor of California. He made a few cameos throughout the years, but did not star in another film until 2013’s The Last Stand. Since then he has been involved in a few action films, his last one being Killing Gunther in 2017. Although he hasn’t been very active in recent years, he is set to return in a direct sequel to Terminator 2. That’s right, he’ll be back.
12 Leonardo DiCaprio
The 90s were everything for Leonardo DiCaprio. He started on a small paying sitcom role on Growing Pains and seemingly fast-tracked his way into the world of blockbusters. Most people would mistakenly say Titanic was his first big break, but let’s not forget about This Boy’s Life, where he dazzled critics playing opposite Robert De Niro. That was followed by What’s Eating Gilbert Grape with Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis, a role that earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. DiCaprio reportedly earned $75,000 for the role of Arnie Grape, but more importantly the movie and the nomination got his name out there for bigger roles to come. And boy, did they come. Titanic, you can almost hear the penny whistle playing in the background. Titanic was the highest grossing film of all time up until Avatar in 2009. Despite his vast resume, it remains DiCaprio’s highest grossing film, at over $2.1 billion. Playing the role of Jack Dawson reportedly earned the star $2.5 million and thrust him into the spotlight as the Hollywood heartthrob that he remains today, even at 43 years old.
DiCaprio boomed in the 2000s, moving onto bigger roles and much bigger salaries. DiCaprio typically earned $20 million a movie for hits such as Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, and The Great Gatsby. Inception was a real money maker, reportedly padding DiCaprio’s wallet with $59 million for his salary and all the success that came with the film. Although, The Wolf of Wall Street was the most DiCaprio made for purely salary alone, at $25 million. Despite DiCaprio’s outstanding performances and five Oscar nominations, he only recently won an Academy Award for his starring role in The Revenant.
11 Will Smith
In west Philadelphia born and raised, Will Smith was part of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. The group were successful, however, Smith fell into debt after excessive spending and failing to pay his taxes. To pay his debt, he turned to acting. Notable in the 90s for starring in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smith made his jump to film with several hugely successful blockbuster films like Bad Boys, Independence Day, and Men in Black. His charismatic persona that was first established in Fresh Prince carried over well to the big screen, leading him to be one of the biggest stars of the 90s.
He was first the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and now he's the Fresh King of Hollywood.
Smith’s success continued into the 2000s with him starring in sequels to Bad Boys and Men in Black. He became a true leading man, starring in several box office hits such as The Pursuit of Happyness, Shark Tale and I Am Legend. I Am Legend had the biggest December opening at the time, pulling in $585 million and further cementing his status as a top box office draw. Smith has kept himself involved with many big name projects in recent years, though he hasn't had a recent critical success, after Suicide Squad and Bright weren't well received.
10 Adam Sandler
Another funny guy from the 90s, Adam Sandler got his start as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, performing alongside other funny men like David Spade, Chris Rock, and Chris Farley. AFter making the jump to feature films, he had an upward battle with critics. Many of his early films received negative reviews, though they were mostly financially successful and loved by the audiences who were pauying for them. The Wedding Singer was one of Sandler's biggest success esand finally got his break from critics. It was critically acclaimed and grossed $123 million worldwide. Around the same time, he formed his production company Happy Madison Productions, where he's continued to make several movies, mostly with his friends alongside him.
His financial success kept going into the new millennium, but the critics weren’t on his side. Many of his films were panned and dismissed as “obnoxious, low-brow humor.” Nevertheless, audiences have stuck around, pushing Sandler’s films to be some of the most financially successful ever made. Sandler has focused more on making movies for Netflix after signing a mega-deal with The Week Of, also starring Chris Rock, being his most recent project.
9 Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock exploded onto the scene in the 90s and never looked back. Her breakthrough came in the form of 1993’s Demolition Man. The film was #1 at the box office and went on to make $58 million domestically. She followed her debut by starring in a string of successful films such as Speed, While You Were Sleeping, The Net, A Time to Kill, Hope Floats and Practical Magic. Critics and audiences alike raved about Bullock, praising her quirky yet straightforward persona. Although she had a couple of flops in the '90s, like the very poor sequel to Speed, entitled Speed 2: Cruise Control, Bullock continued to be in high demand.
She kept turning up the heat through the 2000s, literally. She had another group of widely successful films such as Miss Congeniality, Crash, The Proposal, The Blind Side, and, you guessed it, The Heat. One of her biggest roles came with the drama Gravit, as the film received rave reviews and grossed over $723 million. Bullock has remained active in recent years, with her next film Ocean’s 8 to be released on June 8th, 2018.
8 Clint Eastwood
While Dirty Harry is Clint Eastwood’s most iconic role, the 90s gave him a resurgence both in front of the camera and behind it. In 1992, he released the film Unforgiven, which centered around an aging outlaw who decided to take a job years after he had retired to farming. The film was a critical success and grossed $159 million on a budget of $14 million. His success continued when he starred in the political thriller In the Line of Fire, which made $177 million and snagged positive reviews. Along with starring in many successful films in the 90s, he was also the director behind some films, like the aforementioned Unforgiven and The Bridges of Madison County.
Eastwood hit it even bigger at directing in the 2000s with Space Cowboys, Mystic River and the Academy Award Winning Million Dollar Baby. War films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima were hugely successful while his return to acting in Gran Torino proved he was still on top of his game. He has continued to find success through his films, directing American Sniper and Sully, two films that were both big releases.
7 Jack Nicholson
Here’s Johnny! Jack Nicholson is famous for his wide range of roles, including quite a few psychotic and frantic characters. Things weren’t much different in that respect during the 90s. Nicholson played the hot-headed Nathan R. Jessup in the drama A Few Good Men, a film that was both financially successful and critically praised. It grossed $243 million and netted Nicholson an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As Good As It Gets was also a huge hit for Nicholson, bringing in a whopping $314 million and getting him ANOTHER Academy Award for Best Actor (geez, how many awards does this guy have?).
He had many successful movies during the 2000s as well, such as About Schmidt, Something’s Gotta Give and The Departed. However, Nicholson has not been in a major film since 2010. Rumors began to spread about where he went. Did he retire? Was he having memory loss issues? Not at all! In an interview with The Sun, Nicholson explained that he just “doesn’t need to go out there anymore.” Now that the actor is up in years, he wants to enjoy the fruits of his work. After all, he’s earned it.
6 Whoopi Goldberg
The 90s were a busy time for Whoopi Goldberg. Along with starring in movies and TV, she also had her own talk show, The Whoopi Goldberg Show. Her first major film of the decade came in the form of a supporting role in the film Ghost. It was an incredibly successful film, shattering the box office with a massive $505 million. Along with a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Goldberg starred as a lounge singer forced to join a convent in the hit comedy Sister Act. Also a big success, the movie made $231 million worldwide.
Whoopi was the highest paid actress in Hollywood at a time.
In the later 90s to the 2000s, Goldberg took more supporting roles for a list of films including Girl, Interrupted and Rat Race. For years now, she has been a co-host and moderator on talk show The View. However, she has not forgotten where she came from, hosting many tributes to others in the industry as well as hosting the Academy Awards several times. All of this has not stopped her from doing films though, with her latest being 2017’s 9/11.
5 Macaulay Culkin
Like most child actors, Macaulay Culkin got really big, really fast. He took on two cat burglars in the huge holiday smash Home Alone, a film which made an insane $476 million. That success lead to Culkin becoming a huge demand in film. He starred in nine films between Home Alone and Richie Rich, including Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Good Son and The Pagemaster. This schedule made him one of the richest stars in the biz, but also one of the most exhausted. Eventually the work wore down on him and he decided to take a much needed break, not starring in anymore films for almost a decade. Instead, he went to private school in an attempt to live a normal life.
Culkin returned to the screen in 2003 with a role as a party promoter in Party Monster. He has been in few productions since then, aiming to keep a low profile and working on other projects, such as his now defunct Velvet Underground cover band, The Pizza Underground, as well as publishing a semi-autobiographical novel called Junior, in which he details being a child star and his shaky relationship with his dad. He is set to return to acting in the upcoming film Changeland and hosts a podcast called bunny ears.
4 Jodie Foster
Formerly a child star, Jodie Foster kicked off the 90s as an FBI trainee in the thriller The Silence of the Lambs. The film was one of the biggest of the year, grossing almost $273 million and landing Foster an Academy Award for Best Actress. The following year, Foster jumped to doing work behind the camera, forming her own production company Egg Pictures. She still stuck with movies though, starring in Sommersby and Maverick, both of which were box office hits. Her last film of the decade was Anna and the King, a movie in which she was paid $15 million according to IMDb, making her one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood at the time.
In the 2000s, Foster had success with several films like Panic Room and Inside Man. The later part of the decade saw her in less movies and focused more on directing. She directed several episodes of TV shows including Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Black Mirror. Though she is much more behind the scenes than she used to be, Foster still takes the occasional screen role. She will return to film this year with Hotel Artemis, set to be released on June 8th, 2018.
3 Sean Connery
By the time the 90s came around, Sean Connery was already a veteran in the game. Best known for his time as James Bond, Connery was a household name. However, this didn’t mean that he didn’t have anything left in him. The 90s brought him successes such as The Russia House, Entrapment and The Rock, the latter of which made over $335 million against a budget of $75 million and was nominated for an Academy Award for best sound. For the film, Connery received a salary of $12 million, proving that even in his older years, he was still one of Hollywood's most bankable and most paid stars.
Who turns down The Lord Of The Rings... I guess Sean Connery.
While Connery was offered a role in the box office smash trilogy The Lord of the Rings, he turned it down and decided to enjoy the sweet life of retirement instead. He has been offered other roles throughout the years as well, such as a chance to reprise his role as the father of Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Connery turned down this offer as well, believing that the small role would not be worth it. Although he is done acting in pictures, he has occasionally lent his voice for video games featuring his version of James Bond and he did voice work for the 2013 animated film Sir Billi.
2 Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis broke through by playing police officer John McClane in the Die Hard series. Previously known for being a more comedic actor, the film catapulted him into movie stardom and gave action hero status; a status that he would keep going throughout the 90s. Along with starring in Die Hard sequels, Willis enjoyed success with the films Striking Distance, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys and Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. He gained an audience starring in some low budget productions such as North. However, it was his later roles in the decade that increased interest in him as an actor. He starred in films The Fifth Element, Armageddon and The Sixth Sense, which grossed $672 million and being praised by critics.
Willis has continued to enjoy success throughout the next decade with films like Unbreakable, Sin City, and more Die Hard sequels. He was the voice of RJ the racoon in 2006's Over the Hedge, stepping into the realm of voice acting and further showing his desire for roles of different genre. In recent years, his career has shifted more towards him starring in direct to DVD movies, most recently starring in the film Death Wish. However, he could be due for a revival, as he is set to star in an Unbreakable sequel, Glass, that will be released on January 19,2018.
1 Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal was already a household name with the success of When Harry Met Sally, and the interest kept going throughout the 90s. He was chosen to host the annual Oscars in 1990, a gig that he would take several more times throughout the years. In 1991, he experienced big success with the comedy City Slickers, a film which brought in $180 million with a budget of $26 million. Crystal took his turn at directing with Mr. Saturday Night, a film which he also wrote and produced. Although it didn't do very well, it proved that crystal could go beyond being an actor and comedian. In the late '90s, he had another big success starring alongside Robert De Niro in the mobster comedy Analyze This, which made over $176 million with a budget of $80 million.
In the 2000s, Crystal became well known for his role as Mike Wazowski in the Monsters Inc films and he still acts in films with his most recent being the movie Untogether. He remains married to Janice Crystal and has two daughters that are both involved in the film industry. His daughter Jennifer is an actress while the film making was picked up by his daughter Lindsay.
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