The 1970s left behind an incredible legacy. Fashion, music, and film from that era continue to find an eager audience even in today’s day and age. Some of the best stars of that decade continue to shine in some of our favorite films today. So how much does a lifetime of acting earn you? In honor of those who have several generations worth of fans, these are the stars who have remained wealthy from the 1970s until today.
25. Robert Pine – Approximately $4 Million
Robert Pine is best known for his role in the series CHiPs, where he played the character of Sergeant Joseph Getraer. But his work hardly stopped there, and with over 200 acting credits to his name, Pine is one of those ’70s stars who seemingly hasn’t found much difficulty securing work for himself.
Generally uncommon for Hollywood celebrities, Robert Pine has been married to his wife, actress Gwynne Gilford, since 1964. Even though Pine is doing just fine financially, his kids probably aren’t turning to him or mom for any help paying the bills, especially his younger son who is none other than Star Trek star, Chris Pine.
24. Erik Estrada – Approximately $4 Million
Erik Estrada isn’t just known for playing the star role of California Highway Patrol Officer Francis (Frank) Llewellyn “Ponch” Poncherello in the hit show CHiPs, he is an actual reserve police officer in St. Anthony, Idaho. Protecting citizens on the back of his motorcycle, he may just be one of the wealthiest police officers out there.
Estrada did not just make his money from being an actor and patrol officer, he was also the face of the D.A.R.E. program in the early 2000s. That exposure, combined with his already successful acting career, earned the badge-wearing actor endorsements from well paying companies like Toyota, Burger King, and Diet Dr. Pepper.
23. Richard Dreyfuss – Approximately $5 Million
The Academy Award winning actor who starred in blockbusters like Jaws, Stand by Me, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Stakeout has managed to keep his head well above water financially over the years. Many ’70s stars had no problem maintaining their wealth, but for Richard Dreyfuss this was an especially difficult task considering the actor personally describes himself as never being good with money.
In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Dreyfuss talked about how it was finances that brought him back to acting. It seems as though some his more recent work has paid well, and the famed actor has found himself back in control of his finances. So did he end up getting that bigger boat after all?
22. Maggie Smith – Approximately $18 Million
Considered by IMDB, The Telegraph, and the internet community on ranker.com to be one of Britain’s best and most recognizable actresses, Dame Maggie Smith has had a successful 67 year career. Beginning as a student at the Oxford Playhouse, Smith made her on stage debut on Broadway in 1956 and soon after won a record 5 Best Actress Evening Standard Awards.
Her film career has been no less impressive. After winning a BAFTA Award for 1958’s Nowhere to Go, Smith went on to earn to Academy Awards, one for 1969’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and another for 1978’s California Suite. Currently, Smith has used the wealth accrued from her career success to purchase a home in London, and another in her hometown of Sussex.
21. Cyndi Lauper – Approximately $30 Million
The singer/songwriter responsible for hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Time After Time,” “She Bop,” and “All Through the Night,” didn’t always have a fortune to fall back on. Although her musical career dates back to the early ’70s, Lauper was still working retail before her hit album, 1983’s She’s So Unusual, brought her lasting financial stability.
Since landing among the rich and famous, Lauper uses her wealth to participate in humanitarian and activist work. One of her most visible charitable acts was in 2014, when the award-winning artist teamed up with fellow singer Sara Bareilles to record the song “Truly Brave,” the proceeds of which were donated to pediatric cancer research.
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20. Kathy Bates – Approximately $32 Million
A Memphis, Tennessee native, Kathy Bates’ first love was for the theater, and her lead performance in ‘Night, Mother earned her her first major award, a Tony. She made her transition to television and film in 1971, with her first film credits being listed under the name Bobo Bates.
Her Hollywood breakthrough role didn’t happen until 1990, when she starred in the Stephen King horror film, Misery. Bates’ role in that production got her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Of course, one doesn’t become as wealthy and successful as Kathy Bates by just stopping there. Later roles have since garnered her two more Oscars and a whopping total of 14 Emmy Award nominations.
19. Cybill Shepherd – Approximately $40 Million
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Cybill Shepherd seemed destined for the spotlight from a young age after winning the “Miss Teenage Memphis” contest at age 16, and later becoming “Model of the Year” by the time she was 18. Her titles landed her on the cover of Glamour magazine, which subsequently got her her first acting role in the 1971 film, The Last Picture Show.
Cybill’s wealth was earned over years of acting in popular films like The Heartbreak Kid, Taxi Driver, and hit TV show Moonlighting. Her glamorous lifestyle afforded her many things, including an interesting dating life. According to her own autobiography, Shephard briefly dated Elvis Presley, turned down a date from Robert De Niro, and never even showed up to a first date with Jack Nicholson.
18. Diane Keaton – Approximately $50 Million
One of the most popular stars of the 1970s, according to IMDB, Diane Keaton is not only an accomplished actress, but she is also a director, producer, photographer, real estate developer, author, and singer. For her works, Keaton has received some of the most prestigious awards, including an Oscar, BAFTA, two Golden Globes, and the AFI Life Achievement Award.
Keaton made a splash with her first major film role in 1972’s The Godfather. From there her work with Woody Allen in Sleeper, Love and Death, and Annie Hall, followed by the Academy Award she earned from her work in the latter, solidified her place as a talented actress who would remain relevant and influential to this day.
17. Kevin Bacon – Approximately $50 Million
Kevin Bacon’s incredibly diverse career began in 1978 with National Lampoon’s Animal House. Since then, some of his most noteworthy roles have been in films like Footloose, JFK, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, and Mystic River. A critically acclaimed actor, The Guardian once called Bacon one of the best actors to have not received an Academy Award nomination.
Not only is the Philadelphia, PA native renowned professionally, but his sheer amount of differing roles launched the creation of a game amongst film buffs called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” The idea being that since Bacon has been in a wide range of films, he can be linked to any other Hollywood actor by no more than six other people.
16. Rhea Perlman – Approximately $50 Million
Cheers and Frasier actress Rhea Perlman got her start on the stage in off-Broadway shows in New York. Early in her career, Perlman met husband, Danny DeVito, during one of her earliest plays, the Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective’s production of Up: An Uppity Revue.
Perlman’s major successes happened during her time as a television actress. For her work on Cheers, the actress playing head-waitress Carla Tortelli and was nominated for ten Emmy Awards (out of which she won four) along with an additional six Golden Globe Awards. With that kind of résumé, it’s no wonder that Rhea Perlman manages to keep herself more than afloat financially.
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15. Robert Duvall – Approximately $70 Million
Robert Duvall’s accolades, which he earned over the course of a six decade career, include an Academy Award, four Golden Globes, a BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Emmy. With such an impressive list of awards, even some of the best ’70s stars would potentially have a hard time beating out such an accomplished actor for a role over the years.
Duvall’s lifelong career landed him in roles in over 80 films and television shows, many of them commercial and critical successes. Some of his most recognizable works include The Twilight Zone, True Grit, M*A*S*H, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Natural, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Secondhand Lions.
14. Stevie Nicks – Approximately $75 Million
Best known for having both an extensive solo career and for being both the a songwriter and the vocalist of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks has achieved worldwide fame and success. Her collective career works have sold over 140 million records, and her time spent as a band member and solo artist made her the first female musician to be inducted two times in to the the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
It should come as little surprise then that the woman listed in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time list gets more than a few zeros on her paycheck. Unlike many ’70s stars, Stevie Nicks is still cashing those checks after her many performances, recordings, and tours, which haven’t stopped since 1966.
13. Betty White – Approximately $75 Million
The oldest of all the actors and actresses on this list, Betty White was born in 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois. As a girl, she moved with her family to Los Angeles, at the height of the Great Depression, so her family could find better job opportunities.
It seemed out of her family, White may have benefited the most from the move. By 1955 the young actress had also become the first woman to produce a sitcom, Life with Elizabeth, earning her the honorary title of Mayor of Hollywood. Since then, the girl who was forced to move to Los Angeles for economic opportunities has transformed in to an acclaimed actress who now lives in a Beverly Hills mansion.
12. Gene Hackman – Approximately $80 Million
Both a critically acclaimed actor and author, Gene Hackman decided he didn’t want to keep working like many other ’70s stars, and retired from film acting in 2004 at the age of 74. His net worth was accrued after a successful acting career, for which he won two Academy Awards, and a career as a novelist, publishing five books.
Hackman got his career start in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. From there the successful actor’s film credits include Poseidon Adventure, The Conversation, Superman, Enemy of the State, and The Royal Tenenbaums. To date, Hackman has had roles in over 70 films along with numerous accolades for his work.
11. Tommy Lee Jones – Approximately $85 Million
The Ivy League graduate and son of a police officer mother and oil field worker father, Tommy Lee Jones has often portrayed the tough and brooding man on-screen. Some of the best examples include Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the TV series Lonesome Dove, Agent K from Men in Black, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in No Country for Old Men, and Captain America’s Colonel Chester Phillips
Not only did Jones’ work earned him worldwide recognition, but his numerous paychecks from those parts have meant that the noteworthy actor has been able to live the high-life for years. One of Jones’ lifestyle choices, playing polo, has ended up costing him over $26 million especially after he purchased the massive estate, Florida Polo Farm in Wellington, Florida.
NEXT: It’s truly remarkable just how much talent can pay.
10. Anthony Hopkins – Approximately $160 Million
Born in Wales in 1937, Anthony Hopkins was already receiving praise in his native United Kingdom at an early age, and by age 35 had been described by film director, Richard Attenborough as “unquestionably the greatest actor of his generation.” Hopkins may have proved Attenborough right, particularly after winning an Oscar for his role as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
The famed actor has also been the recipient of three BAFTA Awards, two Emmys and a lifetime achievement award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 1993, Queen Elizabeth knighted Hopkins for his service to the arts, giving him the honorific title of ‘Sir.’
9. Al Pacino – Approximately $165 Million
The actor responsible for bringing to life some of America’s most memorable on-screen gangsters, Al Pacino’s talent on the big screen and the stage earned him a substantial income throughout the decades. On top of financial compensation, Pacino has been one of the few actors to earn what is known as the “Triple Crown of Acting;” an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony.
Pacino didn’t get his breakout role until 1972. Before then, the now-iconic actor was working low-wage jobs such as a restaurant busboy and postal clerk, before finally landing a minor role in the 1969 film, Me, Natalie. Since then he has become a Hollywood sensation, with a career spanning over 50 years.
8. Jane Fonda – Approximately $200 Million
Jane Fonda found success remarkably quickly, after her first ever Broadway performance in 1960 titled There Was a Little Girl. That same year she garnered her first nomination for a Tony Award along with her first film role in Tall Story.
For Fonda however, her biggest on screen successes came later, and made her one of the most well-known ’70s stars of the day. She was awarded two Oscar Awards, one in 1971 for Klute, and a second in the 1978 film, Coming Home. An early activist, Fonda has since donated a portion of her wealth to charities for causes ranging from education, promoting women in the arts, as well as protecting the environment.
7. Harrison Ford – Approximately $230 Million
Described by critics as the “Hollywood every-man,” and with a worldwide box-office gross of over $9.3 billion, Harrison Ford’s successful six-decade career made him on of the wealthiest of the ’70s stars. Ford starred in some of the most popular films ever, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and The Fugitive, and the Chicago, IL native has spent his millions in some interesting ways.
As an environmental activist, Ford donated half of his 800-acre ranch in Jackson, Wyoming as a natural reserve. When he’s not advocating or acting, the star can be found flying in both helicopters and airplanes. Often, at the request of local authorities, he even uses his helicopter to provide emergency services, once rescuing a dehydrated hiker.
6. Michael Douglas – Estimated $300 Million
Michael Douglas’ film career began in 1969, when he was cast as Carl Dixon in the Vietnam-era drama, Hail, Hero! Douglas’ career didn’t end with him being just one of those nostalgic stars of the ’70s, and his 53 year career has been honored with awards and critical acclaim.
His true breakthrough success didn’t come until 1987, when he starred in Fatal Attraction, and as investor Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. Unlike Gekko, Douglas actually earned his money in non-nefarious ways, and while the exact amount of money he has isn’t publicly known, it’s estimated that Douglas has a substantial net worth of around $300 million.
5. Cher – Approximately $360 Million
Cher’s career began after she met recording artist Sonny Bono in 1962, shortly after the future star had dropped out of high school to pursue her music career. That duo, Sonny and Cher, became a hit and lasted for nearly a decade before Cher left to begin her acting and solo music career.
The ’70s was a transitional time in Cher’s career, and while some points were rocky, the artist came out of the decade with a new image as both a rock musician and an accomplished film actress. She even won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her 1987 role in Moonstruck. In addition to being an artist, Cher has found additional financial success as a real estate mogul.
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4. Jack Nicholson – Approximately $400 Million
Jack Nicholson is known for playing in a wide range of roles, everything from comedy-dramas like The Last Detail, to neo-noir mystery film, Chinatown. One of Nicholson’s best known early roles was in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, from which he earned an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as lead character, Randle McMurphy.
Currently, Nicholson holds the record for most Academy Award nominations for a male actor. His success over his more than 50 year career has afforded him numerous luxuries including an impressive art collection and court side seat tickets for the Los Angeles Lakers, tickets he has held on to since 1970.
3. Barbra Streisand – Approximately $400 Million
One of the most successful entertainers in history, Barbra Streisand is not only one of the best selling recording artists of all time, she is also the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a major studio film. Streisand’s accolades include an astounding two Academy Awards, ten Grammys, five Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, nine Golden Globes, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
A trophy shelf large enough to accommodate all those awards might just happen to be as big as a house. Thankfully, even if it’s as expensive as one, Streisand should have no problem paying for it. According to Forbes, the beloved entertainer is number 48 on their list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women as of 2018.
2. Elton John – Approximately $500 Million
Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, the man who would become musical sensation Elton John began playing piano in 1962. By 1972 his career looked as if it may hit astronomical heights and so the English native dropped his birth name and legally changed it to Elton John.
A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Elton John is ranked number 49th on the Rolling Stone’s 2013 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Additionally, the world-class pianist is known for being a lavish spender. In 2001 John once sold 20 cars that he hadn’t even driven. John owns homes in Los Angeles, Nice, London, Venice and Atlanta, and his art collection alone is rumored to be worth nearly $200 million.
1. Robert De Niro – Approximately $500 Million
The actor known for roles in classic films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and The Godfather Part II, is famously one of the wealthiest ’70s stars whose net worth has only increased over the years. This is due both to his incredible success on-screen in addition to his savvy business ventures off-screen.
A large portion of De Niro’s fortune is due to his ownership of the highly successful Nobu restaurant chain along with his business partner, chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Additionally, the popular Hollywood actor is also the co-owner of New York’s Greenwich hotel, and he may soon expand his empire with an ownership of a new luxury resort in the Caribbean.
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