The wealthiest women in film and television have credits spanning everything from iconic American sitcoms to children’s TV shows, Marvel blockbusters, and even 1960s French cinema. Many of the women on this list have crossed paths on various projects over their careers, and all of them have made a fortune from the big and small screen.
The days of sitcom stars making eight-figure salaries years after their shows have ended may be over as new contracts are less generous, but several of the richest actresses in the world made their fortunes in this way.
This list also features record breakers - with the first woman to be paid $20 million for a film role sitting at fourth place. The highest-paid TV actress in the world for several years in the 2010s also features in our top ten.
These are the ten richest film and TV actresses of all time:
Jennifer Aniston - $300-$330 million (£252-277 million)
Friends star Jennifer Aniston is believed to be the wealthiest actress in the world - during the final season of friends she and her co-stars were making $1 million per episode, and each of the six main cast are believed to earn around $20 million in royalties. Cosmopolitan puts her net worth as of 2022 at $320 million.
Aniston also starred in several commercially successful films including Bruce Almighty, We’re the Millers, and Horrible Bosses and is estimated to have made roughly $8 million per movie. She recently starred in AppleTV drama The Morning Show, appearing in 20 episodes, and is believed to have made more than $2 million per episode.
Mary-Kate Olsen - $250 million (£210 million)
One half of the Olsen twins, the child actor has not had an acting role since drama fantasy Beastly in 2011. The twins were famous for appearing in Full House where they both played the character of Michelle Tanner, eventually earning $80,000 per episode. The pair, who The Richest reports have a combined net worth of $500 million, also appeared in a series of shorts called The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley.
Ashley Olsen - $250 million
Ashley’s last film role was alongside her twin sister in the 2004 crime comedy New York Minute. Both stars announced their retirement from acting in 2012 and moved into the fashion industry.
It is likely that most of the twins fortune comes from their luxury fashion lines rather than screen careers, but it was roles like Full House that gave them the profile that made their brand so successful. The twins have an younger sister, Elizabeth who is still in the acting business - she’s best known for playing Scarlet Witch in the Marvel films and has a net worth of around $11 million (£9 million).
Julia Roberts - $250 million
Julia Roberts became the first woman to be paid $20 million for a role when she starred in the biopic Erin Brockovich, for which she also bagged the Best Actress Oscar. Roberts went on to earn $14 million for her six-minute role in the rom com Valentine’s Day, and made $3 million for four days of filming for the 2016 comedy Mother’s Day, which she starred in alongside this list’s number one spot, Jennifer Aniston.
Though she hadn’t always attracted such high salaries - when Roberts was still fairly new to Hollywood she made $300,000 for what would become one of her most iconic films - Pretty Woman - alongside co-star Richard Gere who was on a multi-million dollar contract. The Richest reported last year that Robert’s net worth was $250 million.
Julia Louis Dreyfus - $250 million
Dreyfus is worth $250 million, according to Parade. The actress is best known for playing Elaine Benes in classic American sitcom Seinfeld for which she made a base salary of about $45 million. By the ninth season in 1998 of the show the main cast were making $600,000 per episode. At this point the Friends cast, who were onto season four of their sitcom, were making around $85,000 per episode.
After her time on Seinfeld, Dreyfus took on the role of Selina Meyer in political comedy Veep, and made around $2.5 million per season. Recently she joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She is due to reprise the role in Thunderbolts, due in cinemas in 2024.
Victoria Principal - $200 million (£168 million)
The Richest puts Dallas star Victoria Principal’s net worth at $200 million - she played Pamela Barnes Ewing in more than 250 episodes of the primetime American soap in the 1970s and ‘80s. It’s unclear how much she earned on the show, but she claimed that before leaving the series she turned down a contract to stay on that would have made the highest paid woman on TV at the time.
She said that the left the show largely because of a decline in the quality of writing and went on to appear in a series of Western TV movies, but none of her later screen roles eclipsed her time on Dallas.
Catherine Deneuve - $185 million (£155 million)
The first non-American on this list, Deneuve was born in Paris - she is known for leading roles in the classic roles Belle de Jour, Repulsion, and Dancer in the Dark. Deneuve also had a successful modelling career, appearing in Playboy and being the face of Chanel No. 5 in the 1970s.
Despite beginning her screen career in the 1950s, Deneuve continues to take on roles - she played herself in the 2022 French film Habib, la grande aventure, and is due to appear in the upcoming dramas La tortue, and Funny Birds. The Richest estimates her net worth at $185 million.
Sofia Vergara - $160-$180 Million (£135-£152 million)
Colombian American actress Sofia Vergara began her screen career on Spanish-language television but is best known for playing Gloria in Modern Family. She was making $30,000 per episode for the first three seasons but by season nine this had risen to $500,000, around $11 million per season. She was the highest paid TV actress for several years running during her Modern Family peak.
She has also appeared in several films including Chef, The Emoji Movie (she played a flamenca dancer emoji), and The Con is On. Vergara joined America’s Got Talent as a judge in 2020 and makes around $10 million per year from this role. Estimates for Vergara’s net worth vary - The Teal Mango puts it at $180 million, but The Richest is less generous, estimating $160 million.
Scarlett Johansson - $165 million (£139 million)
After appearing in several films as a child actor including Home Alone 3 and The Horse Whisperer, Johansson came to prominence in 2003 romantic drama Lost in Translation, starring alongside Bill Murray. She is now best known for playing Black Widow in several Marvel films, and made $400,000 for her debut in Iron Man 2. This rose markedly to $15 million for her standalone Black Widow film in 2021.
Johansson sued Disney over her Black Widow earnings, arguing that the simultaneous release of the film in cinemas and on the Disney+ breached her contract. She settled with the company and it was reported that Disney may have paid her an additional $40 million. Cosmopolitan estimates Johansson’s net worth is a ‘bonkers’ $165 million.
Miley Cyrus - $160 million
Child star Miley Cyrus shot to fame for her role as popstar Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel comedy series and movie spin-off, reportedly making $450,000 per season. She has also appeared in several films including LOL and So Undercover.
In the 2010s Miley began a career in music separate from her Hannah Montanna role and this had gone on to eclipse her TV earnings - she mad made more than $45 million from digital sales of her music, and millions more from concerts and live performances. Women’s Health reported Cyrus is worth $160 million, and she is believed to have far outstripped her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who has an estimated net worth of $20 million.