The 20 Highest Paid Actors in the World (And How They Made It)

By Bluei Fausto

For the typical idealist at heart, nothing tops the dream of growing up to become Hollywood’s biggest star. It is, after all, the ultimate profession that directly puts anyone in the spotlight.

With this, it is no wonder that many consider being an actor or actress the best job in the world. Not only does this suggest fame and prestige but also millions of possible earnings.  Today, a broad range of A-list actors have managed to rise to the top and become some of the highest-paid names in the industry. Want to know who these icons are?

Here, we have compiled a list of 20 of the highest-paid actors in the world – and how they were able to make it.

20. Ellen Pompeo


Earnings: $22 million

First on our list is no other than Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo with an earning of $22 million this year. This grants her the 20th spot on the list of the top paid actors in 2019.

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19. Charlize Theron


Earnings: $23 million

South African actress Charlize Theron is now hailed as the 10th top paid artist in the world. Among her most famous projects include Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus

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18. Margot Robbie


Earnings: $23.5 million

Trailing behind fellow Forbes newcomer Elisabeth Moss, Margot Robbie takes pride in a staggering $23.5 million in earnings between July 2018 and July 2019. This makes The Suicide Squad star to be the eighth highest-paid actress and the 18th top paid artist in the world.

@margotrobbie /, @margotrobbie /

Robbie is set to appear in three new films this year, namely Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Dreamland, and Bombshell.

17. Elisabeth Moss


Earnings: $24 million

Elisabeth Moss might be a newcomer to our list, but her 2019 income is no joke to anybody. Raising a total of $24 million, thanks to her starring role in the dystopian drama series The Handmaid’s Tale, the American actress now takes the 17th spot among the top paid actors in the world.

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16. Kaley Cuoco


Earnings: $25 million

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American actress and producer Kaley Cuoco currently stands as the 16th highest-paid artist in the world as of 2019. According to Forbes, Cuoco has amassed a total of $25 million, thanks almost entirely to The Big Bang Theory, which provides her $1 million per episode.

15. Jennifer Aniston


Earnings: $28 million

Taking in the 15th spot is the all-time favorite actress Jennifer Aniston. Thanks to her hit Netflix film Murder Mystery, along with other showbiz engagements, Aniston was reported to have earned a total of $28 million.

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She is also set to make her return to television, starring alongside Reese Witherspoon, in the Apple TV drama The Morning Show.

14. Nicole Kidman


Earnings: $34 million

Following her Big Little Lies co-actress Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman also managed to get onto the list with a $34 million paycheck for 2019. 

@nicolekidman /, @nicolekidman /

13. Reese Witherspoon


Earnings: $35 million

Big Little Lies actress Reese Witherspoon now stands as the 13th highest-paid artist in the showbiz realm with whooping $35,000,000 in earnings. 

@reesewitherspoon /, @reesewitherspoon /

To date, the bubbly blonde is set to star in the upcoming American drama film Lucy in the Sky.

12. Will Smith


Earnings: $35 million

Tagged as the “most powerful actor in Hollywood,” Will Smith also serves as the 10th top-paid actor in the world. Thanks to his iconic role as Genie in the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin, Smith has managed to maintain his position on the list.

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He is also set to star in the upcoming film Gemini Man, which is scheduled to be out in October.

11. Paul Rudd


Earnings: $41 million

Ant-Man may be small, but his earnings are definitely enormous. Today, he is ranked to be the 9th highest-paid actor in the world with $57,000,000 earnings, thanks to his hit films Avengers: Endgame and Ant-Man.

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10. Chris Evans


Earnings: $43.5 million

Another Marvel actor that has made it onto our list is Captain America. In addition to his role in Avengers: Endgame, Evans also appeared in Captain Marvel, helping him achieve $43.5 million in earnings this year. 


To date, he is set to be returning to the small screen with the upcoming Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob.

9. Sofia Vergara


Earnings: $44.1 million

Columbian actress Sofia Vergara is the only Latina actress who managed to make it to Forbes’ top-paid actresses list for 2019. She is said to have earned a total of $44.1 million in a single year, thanks to her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family, as well as her endorsements and licensing deals.

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8. Scarlett Johansson


Earnings: $56 million

The first woman to be part of our list is none other than Scarlett Johansson. Thanks to her role as Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame, Johansson was ranked as the eighth highest-paid artist in the world and the first highest-paid among actresses.

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7. Bradley Cooper


Earnings: $57 million

44-year old Bradley Cooper might have had a busy year for 2019, but these efforts surely did pay off. To date, he stands as the sixth highest-paid actor according to Forbes, with a year of earnings of $57,000,000.

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Among his recent engagements include his role as Jackson Maine in the movie A Star Is Born and Rocket in Avengers: Endgame. He is also co-producing the movie Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, which hints at an even better year ahead of him.

6. Adam Sandler


Earnings: $57 million

Standing in the same rank as Cooper is none other than everyone’s favorited comedian Adam Sandler, who starred alongside Jennifer Aniston in the Netflix film Murder Mystery. Today, Forbes estimates his earnings to be the same as Bradley Cooper’s, which are a staggering $57,000,000.

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Today, Forbes estimates his 2019 earnings to be $56,000,000.

5. Jackie Chan


Earnings: $58 million

Our childhood martial artist has managed to maintain his position in the highest-paid actors list of 2019. His $58,000,000 in earnings for this year can be credited to his international co-productions such as Viy 2: Journey to China, The Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, and Project X-Traction.

@jackiechan /, @jackiechan /

4. Akshay Kumar


Earnings: $65 million

Ranked 4th on the list is the Bollywood actor and producer Akshay Kumar, who earned an overwhelming $65,000,000 this year. Thanks to his 2019 hits Kesari, Mission Mangal, Housefull 4, and Good News, Kumar now stands as the fourth highest-paid actor in the world.,

3. Robert Downey Jr.


Earnings: $66 million 

The third spot goes to Chris Hemsworth’s Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr., who banked an impressive $66,000,000 in a year. 

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Downey has remained to be part of every list featuring the highest-paid actors in the world ever since he took the top spot in 2012. This year, he has appeared in two high-grossing films of 2019, namely Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

2. Chris Hemsworth


Earnings: $76.4 million

Following Dwayne Johnson on our list is none other than Chris Hemsworth. According to Forbes, Hemsworth has managed to earn a staggering $76,400,000 this year due to his iconic role as Thor in Avengers: Endgame, as well as his entrance into the reboot of Men in Black: International alongside Tessa Thompson.

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1. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson


Earnings: $89.4 million

You bet it. No one sits on the throne of the showbiz industry other than the one and only Dwayne Johnson. In fact, in a recent list published by Forbes, The Rock was revealed to have earned a whopping $89,400,000 in a year starting June 1, 2018. This makes him the no. 1 highest-paid actors across the globe, surpassing George Clooney, who held the title last year.

TIME | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage, Inverse

According to Forbes, Johnson’s rise to the top can be mostly attributed to his 2019 high-grossing franchise movies, including Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Fighting with My Family, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. His TV show, Ballers, is also said to earn up to $700,000 per episode. 

“He has just become the go-to bankable star,” said Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian, when asked about Dwayne Johnson. “And he’s always working — he’s relentless,” he added.



It is no exaggeration that celebrity life could be all glittery and fun. From faces to finances, these 20 stars seem to live nearly everyone’s daydream.

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Who among these celebrities do you fancy trading your life with?

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