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How Much Do Actors Make: Typical Salaries Paid

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Written by Publishing Team

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Actors often lead lavish lifestyles, which can make people curious about the average earnings of an actor.

We all know our Hollywood favorites live in their multi-million dollar Beverly Hills homes, but how much do actors make on average? In fact, not every actor makes millions for a movie.

How much do actors make?

How much money an actor makes depends on how much the audience thinks this character is worth. It also depends on how famous they are, what kind of movie they are watching and how important their role is.

Let’s take a look at the salaries of the actors. Here is an estimate of how much an actor earns, according to various sources:

Average salaries for actors

According to US News, actors earned approximately $40,860 — the median salary — in 2019. The highest-paid 25% cast earned $58,580 while the lowest-paid 25% earned $25,180 Just. Meanwhile, the median salary was $58.280.

The most lucrative cities for this profession are New York, Los Angeles, New Haven, Denver, and San Francisco.

cities average income
Angels $72,600
New York $70,560
Denver $64,980
San Francisco 55,400 dollars
new sanctuary $55,020

The states that earn the most for actors are Arizona, California, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.

States average income
Arizona $73,200
California $69,480
Wisconsin $60,260
New Hampshire $59,240
Tennessee $57,600

Actors seem to earn less than some other professionals in the same field. Here’s a look at how much art directors, art writers, sound engineering technicians, and choreographers make.

Profession average income
Technical Manager 109,600 dollars
technical writer $76,860
Sound engineering technician $67,090
Choreographer $53,590

According to these data, only choreographers earn less than actors.

glass door

According to Glassdoor, actors make an average of $45,397 per year, with $152,000 as the highest earning and $14,000 the lowest.

By comparison, showrunners earn an average of $70,294 a year, while theater actors earn $52,213 a year.

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According to Zip Recruiter, the median national income for an actor is $32,367 while the average hourly rate is $16.

The highest monthly salary for an actor is $7,333, while the lowest is only $917. Here’s a breakdown of how much actors work by city:

city average earning
New Haven, Connecticut $36,325
Lakes, AK $36211
San Francisco, California $36,452
San Mateo, California 40,866 dollars
Brooklyn, New York $36,650

There isn’t much of a difference no matter where you are, except for some parts of California.

How are actors’ salaries determined?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70,100 representatives were employed in the country in 2019, and their average wage was $21.88 an hour. Additionally, the bureau expects actor employment rates to rise by 3% by 2029.

So, what determines how much an actor gets paid?

  1. Difficulty level of the role. Larger parts with more lines require more of the actor’s time to prepare and execute, and the actor is likely to charge more.
  2. Some cities make actors more profitable than others. For example, if you are an actor in Los Angeles, California, you will likely get more opportunities and be paid more than working as an actor in Tampa, Florida.
  3. Representatives also get paid according to their experience. For example, a newcomer may earn less than the national average wage while an experienced actor earns more.

Likewise, an actor’s popularity, fan following, and film franchise also determine their earnings. An actor’s earnings increase with the rise in his profile.

For example, Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki, stars of The Big Bang Theory, signed a deal worth $1 million per episode — up from $350,000 — as the show’s popularity increased.

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  • Actors on a small scale don’t achieve as much as hot Hollywood movies do. You may need a side hustle as you get started.
  • Your earnings by acting depend on experience, fame, city/state, and the size of the business you’re enrolling in.
  • If you want to climb the financial ladder in acting, hire an agent or agency. They are networking professionals and have strong relationships with filmmakers. Thus, they can get auditions for potentially life-changing roles.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that is accurate, unbiased, and up-to-date. We validate every statistic, quote, and fact using reliable primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the author

Scott Jeffries is a Florida-based seasoned technologist. He writes on business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance topics.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott has spent 15 years working in the technology field. He’s helped Fortune 100 startups bring software products to life. When he’s not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

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About the author

Publishing Team