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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 25, 1985
- Vol. 23
- No. 12
Who Makes What $
Enter Now the Dizzying World of Big Showbiz Bucks, Where Anyone Who Earned Under a Mil Is Hard Up. Here Are the Winners and Losers of Last Year in Movies, Television, Song and More, Plus Our Inductees into the All-Time Moneymakers' Hall of Fame
Best-Paid Actor: It seems like only yesterday that he was making spaghetti Westerns for a fistful of dollars, but oh, look at him now. Clint Eastwood was the No. 1 box office star for the second year in a row. Only John Wayne and Gary Cooper have made the Top 10 box office list more often. Clint earned about $5 million for his role in City Heat (Burt Reynolds got nearly $4 million for the same movie) and another $5 million for Tightrope, which he also produced. He owns a good chunk of both films. And Tightrope brought him some of the best reviews of his career.
Most Successful Former Couple, or Guess Whose Ex-Wife Makes More Than He Does: Ronald Reagan, who gave up acting for politics, was paid $200,000 as President of the United States, with free room and board in Washington, D.C. thrown in. His previous salary high was $125,000 a year, when he was spokesman for General Electric in the '60s. Jane Wyman, who gave up Ronald Reagan as a husband in June 1948 after wedding him. on Jan. 4, 1940 (above), has gone on to become one of the highest-paid actresses in television. As nasty Angela Channing on Falcon Crest, she earned $60,000 for each of 28 nerve-racking episodes, which comes to $1.6 million a year. Unlike her ex-husband, though, her contract runs only one year.
King of the Tube: Tom Selleck is our highest-paid TV actor after negotiating a two-year contract for Magnum, P.I. Selleck gets $220,000 per episode, or $4.8 million a season. In liquid asset terms, that's not a magnum, that's a Jeroboam.
Highest-Paid Rock Performer Except for the Other Guy: With the exception of Michael Jackson (see page 101), nobody made more out of music in 1984 than Prince. His Purple Rain album poured $17.8 million into his glitzy pockets. The movie grossed more than $71 million and brought him several million more. That's a truly royal income. Other Princes do poorly in comparison. Prince Charles of Wales only nets $500,000 a year from his properties but also gets his share of the $7.7 million annual stipend to the royal family.
Turning a Loss Into a Win: Geraldine Ferraro, as the first woman to be a major-party vice-presidential candidate, helped Walter Mondale carry the District of Columbia and Minnesota. She was given a $1 million advance to write her autobiography. Then she made a commercial for Diet Pepsi for half a million more. She also receives up to $20,000 per speech now. Winning isn't everything.
Author! Author! Note to any struggling novelists who've just received a $3,000 advance: Don't read this. Like Geraldine Ferraro, Erich Segal got $1 million for his new book, The Class, due in April. Victoria Principal received a $500,000 advance to write her second beauty book, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, recently retired from her $70,000-a-year U.N. slot, got a rumored $300,000 in advance for her memoirs.
See the Amazing Leaping Salaries! Jennifer Beals got $25,000 to star in Flash dance. For her second picture, The Bride, out this summer, she got $500,000. That's almost a 2,000 percent raise. If Clint Eastwood got a raise that big, he'd make $100 million per picture. Tom Conti got $100,000 and an Oscar nomination out of the 1983 movie Reuben, Reuben. Now he's asking $1 million a picture, but he hasn't got it yet. Cher, who is not new to showbiz, got $250,000 and an Oscar nomination for 1983's Silkwood. She's asked for $1 million for her latest movie, Mask, and got it. Clara Peller—come on, you remember—made her first classic "Where's the beef?" commercial for Wendy's for scale, which is $317.40 a day. She's made at least $250,000 for the Wendy's commercials since then. She's got no beef.
Dizziest Spin-offs of the Year: Jane Fonda made $300,000 from desk calendars. Mr. T earned $600,000 from dolls made in his image, or half what he got from The A-Team.
And Elsewhere Around the Dial: Larry Hagman takes home $3 million a year for acting rotten as J.R. on Dallas (extra for directing some segments). He also boasted of picking up $200,000 for a single ad but wouldn't say which one. On Dynasty, Joan Collins now garners $40,000 an episode, or $1.2 million a season. Linda Evans gets the same because of a clause in their contracts that promises that one shall never outearn the other. And John Forsythe makes about $50,000 per episode or $1.5 million a year. Nasty families aren't the only big spenders. Lee Majors pulls down $65,000 per for playing a stuntman on The Fall Guy. Gavin MacLeod sails the sea-green world of The Love Boat for nearly $1.4 million a year—an actual cruise ship captain is content with only $60,000—and for running his Hotel for one season of the year, James Brolin earns $1.1 million.
Surest Bets for 1985: Alan Alda has reportedly signed a contract with CBS giving him $200,000 per episode on a new sitcom. Alda will have sole control of the series. The show is supposed to air next season and guarantees him $4.4 million for one year. Bill Cosby is getting $1.1 million a year for his show, but with him, that's just a start. He is signed with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for six six-week stints that will bring him another $2.52 million during the next two years. He does Coca-Cola commercials for $1 million and Jell-O commercials for another $1 million. Summers, he goes on the lecture circuit and gets at least $50,000 per lecture. Say what you will, John Houseman—and whatever became of him?—that is definitely making money the old-fashioned way.
Biggest Voluntary Pay Cut: Diane Keaton wanted to be in The Little Drummer Girl so badly that she settled for $1 million to get the part. For her new movie, Mrs. Soffel, she's back up to $2 million. Whew. But both movies were less than box office smashes, so the next pay cut may not be voluntary.
Talk Is Not Cheap: Brent Musburger signed a $10 million, five-year contract with CBS to tell people at home what it all means when grown men play competitive games. That makes him the highest-paid sportscaster since Homer, and only two-tenths of a million dollars behind Dan Rather in all TV news salaries. Ex-sportscaster Bryant Gumbel has just negotiated a new four-year contract with NBC for his services as co-host of the Today show. He is said to be getting more than $1 million per year. Since moving to 60 Minutes, Diane Sawyer gets $800,000 a year, which makes her one of the highest-paid newswomen on TV.
But Some Talk Is Even Less Cheap Than the Rest: Merv Griffin earns more than $3 million a year for hosting his TV show. He is already worth over $50 million with investments in game shows, racehorses and real estate. David Hartman makes close to $2 million for hosting Good Morning America.
Biggest Imbalance of Payments: Julio Iglesias earned $4.6 million from 1100 Bel Air Place, the first album he ever tried in English. He also made $1.7 million gross from 10 sellout concerts in the U.S.
Best-Paid Female Singer: Maybe love really didn't have anything to do with it, but try to find somebody who doesn't at least like Tina Turner. Also try to name a happier comeback in recent times. After many years with her glory days apparently behind her, her Private Dancer album earned her $4 million—and her two Grammys will just add to that. For Mad Max III, her upcoming movie with Mel Gibson, she was paid only $120,000.
So Who's Slowing Down? Other rockers did nicely in 1984, too. Lionel Richie took in better than $15 million for Can't Slow Down and grossed $1.5 million more from two of his biggest concerts. (He held 74 in all in the past year.) Bruce Springsteen may get his inspiration from blue-collar folks, but his income is strictly blue blood: The Boss' royalties from Born in the U.S.A. were nearly $8 million, and the gross from his seven best-attended concerts (he appeared 94 times during his seven-month-long tour) was $10 million. Hall and Oates raked in $6 million in royalties from their last two albums, and Cyndi Lauper's first solo album, She's So Unusual, brought her $4 million.
It Is More Blessed To Give Than To Receive: Michael Jackson gave his take from the Victory Tour to the United Negro College Fund, the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia and Cancer Research and Camp Good Times (for children suffering from cancer). The gift will amount to more than $5 million. Lee lacocca gave all his proceeds from his best-selling autobiography to a fellowship in diabetes research, in the name of his wife, Mary, who died of diabetes. The royalties will add up to $1.5 million.
But It's Okay To Receive Some of the Time: Pope John Paul II's 1984 tour of Canada was made into a videocassette called Pilgrimage of Faith, Hope and Love. It sold 15,000 copies before it was even released, 10,000 more by year's end. That put its projected sales near $2 million and made His Holiness Canada's biggest home video star, ahead of Michael Jackson and his Thriller and Jane Fonda and her Workout. Also, Father Andrew Greeley's novel Lord of the Dance has over 1.5 million copies in print and has brought him around $575,000.
Mixed Bag Awards: Richard Gere will make at least $2 million for The Cotton Club, Mario Puzo made $1 million for writing the script, and Francis Coppola made $3 million for doctoring the script—with William Kennedy—and directing it. Producer Robert Evans sank $60 million into it. He won't break even. Meryl Streep got $2 million for Falling in Love, or half a million more than Sally Field was paid for Places in the Heart. Love bombed. Sylvester Stallone got $6 million for acting in and co-writing Rhinestone. The movie lost $16 million. Unfazed, Sly is reportedly asking $12 million for his next movie. Does that mean it will lose $32 million?
Well, It Beats a Bowser Bag: Alex, that dog in the Stroh's beer commercials, earned $317.40 a day for fetching and opening brews for his master. Now $317.40 doesn't exactly put Alex on the gravy train, but it buys a lot of hamburger.
Biggest Loser: The biggest financial loser of 1984 was easily Vanessa Williams. After Penthouse published nude pictures of her, she lost a nine-year contract to be spokesperson for the Gillette Company, for which she would have received $100,000 per year. She also lost all of the following, for which she was under consideration: commercials for Kona Kai of Hawaii, Proline hair products, Avon, Hawaiian Punch and Canada Dry; a starring role in Broadway's My One and Only; a job as host of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; two Bob Hope specials; and an appearance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She ended the year doing catalog work for Royal Silk. There she goes, Miss America.
- Mary Ann Norbom.
February 10, 2016
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