the celebrity economy

How Much Does an A-list Actor Make … and Spend?

Photo: Andreas Rentz/2011 Getty Images

This post comes from this week’s special issue of New York Magazine, which breaks down all the windfalls, paydays and freebies of the celebrity economy.

So how does the upper-strata celebrity really live? We sought out a high-level Hollywood money manager to show us just how all that dough is spent. Do any of these people live within their means? “Very few,” he told us. The main worries are divorces, unreasonable career expectations, and private jets, in that order. “You can get a prenup, but buy a new Gulfstream and you’re out about $50 million.” Oh, and “cash”: “Cash is dangerous. We had one guy go through $600,000 one year. We try to get everything on a credit card: It helps track it.” He walked us through the finances of one Hollywood star (not the person on the home page picture, so don’t try to ID the dress and haircut!), explaining everything from “loan-out corporations” (legal entities actors and producers funnel money through for tax purposes) to how some clients won’t even send assistants to the ATM, getting bills delivered by the bank in passels instead. Despite devoting $175,000 to “cash,” such an actor can still do quite well — a true salary of over $13 million on earnings of more than $18 million. Click on the picture to look at the budget in full.

How Much Does an A-list Actor Make… and Spend?