The Gainfully Employed and Great Bargains Past and Present

updated 03/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

To find out how much Don Johnson, 37, and Philip Michael Thomas, 36, really make, you'd have to steam open their Miami Vice paychecks and peek inside. With the show now basking in the flamingo-pink glow of success, the dreamboats have improved on their rookie-year pay ($29,000 per week for Johnson, $22,000 for Thomas), but they're not telling by how much. (We do know D.J. gets use of a racing boat and a $250,000 motor home as his special star perks.) Some say Thomas was given the same salary as Johnson to keep him on the beat, and some say he wasn't. Whatever, real-life Miami vice detectives make about $29,000 a year.

Dustin Hoffman, 48, and Bo Derek, 29, now share a common link: their professional association with shlockmeister producer Menahem Golan of the Cannon Group, which gifted the world with Bo's erotic adventure, Bolero. Trying to buff up Cannon's somewhat sleazy image, producer Golan signed Hoffman for an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's LaBrava. "He's worth all the money in the world," Golan raved. The estimated price: $6.5 million and 22.5 percent of the ticket sales. Big deal. Hoffman has passed the $25 million mark with his take from his role in 1982's Tootsie.

When the Miss America contestants were polled last year, many revealed that they wanted to become TV journalists. It's not surprising, since Diane Sawyer of 60 Minutes started out as a Junior Miss America. But the old boys on the show have the big payoffs: an estimated $900,000 to Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner, with Ed Bradley and Morley Safer getting about $800,000 each.

Meanwhile, as anchormen, Tom Brokaw makes $1.7 million, CBS' Dan Rather gets $2.5 million, and ABC's sweet-faced Peter Jennings is almost a pauper at $900,000. Ted Koppel, with his own Night-line show, also earns $900,000. Public television's esteemed Robert MacNeil pulls in $350,000 as does his co-host, Jim Lehrer. But when dawn breaks, some salaries rise again. On Good Morning America, David Hartman makes $1.9 million and Today's Bryant Gumbel gets by on $1,100,000. How come Jane Pauley gets $750,000?

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut accepted a walk-on in Rodney Dangerfield's upcoming film, Back To School. For uttering eight words, Vonnegut, 63, collected $25,000, or $3,125 per word, proving that even acting authors have a Method.

Let's put that "dumb jock" canard to rest right now. The six-year, $16-million salary negotiated by New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing, 23, pays him $31,707 per game, and middleweight champ Marvin Hagler, 31, danced off with at least $5 million in 1985, or $1.5 million per round.

If the streets of Hollywood aren't paved with gold, some of the driveways might be. Just look at the real estate now on the market in the area. Top gossip Rona Barrett, 48, is asking $8.5 million for her three-bedroom villa (with theater) just a whisper away from Sunset Boulevard; 65-year-old Eva Gabor's 13-room Southern colonial can be had for $3,950,000; the late film comic Harold Lloyd's estate has an asking price of $9 million; and 32-year-old John Travolta's Spanish-style Santa Barbara spread on 15.9 acres is yours for a mere $3.9 million. The best is yet to be built, though. Dynasty producer Aaron Spelling has signed a contractor for the 72,000-square-foot mansion he wants to construct on the old Bing Crosby estate in Holmby Hills. Spelling, 62, seems to be modeling his digs on those of the mythical Carringtons, and when completed, for about $25 million, the mansion and three guest houses may dwarf the Hearst castle to become one of the largest dwellings in this hemisphere.

The combination of Cybill Shepherd's class with Bruce Willis' brass turned Moonlighting into a hit when it beamed into American living rooms last year. Class paid better. Shepherd, 36, earned $40,000 per episode to Willis' $15,000. This season, however, the bad-boy detective is improving himself. Slated for a $5,000 raise in his second season, Willis, 30ish, has jumped to 25 grand per week. And what will he do with that extra money? Nothing much, probably. Willis' only known extravagances are the $10 tips he reportedly pays for getting take-out pizza sent to his Hollywood Hills home.

Six years have passed since their last studio LP and almost 21 years since they first performed, but the Grateful Dead aren't yet ready to give up the ghost. Ticket sales for the 71 concerts given last year by Jerry Garcia, 43, and his five colleagues grossed $10.8 million, and that's real walking-around money.

How the mighty have risen: Back in his humble days (they were in 1953), Frank Sinatra, now 70, took an important role in From Here to Eternity for a piddling $8,000. Sean Connery, 55, earned $30,000 in 1962 for the first Bond movie, Dr. No, and six years later an unknown named Jon Voight, now 47, starred in Midnight Cowboy for $17,000. No cause for embarrassment though. All but Frank beat Jack Lemmon's $15,000 payday for Bell, Book and Candle back in 1959, when he was 33.

Now we know why Fidel Castro, 58, has never shed those olive-green fatigues for three-piece suits and wing tips. Cuba's president collects an annual salary of about $9,600—scarcely enough to keep him in cigars, let alone seersucker. Other Marxist leaders purport to do just as badly at the pay window. For governing the one billion citizens of the People's Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, 81, gets $2,200 a year, while the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev, 54, pays his way on an $18,700 salary. Of course, Gorby gets to shop at some low-cost, top quality stores that are off-limits to the common Ivan and enjoys the use of the government dacha when he can slip away from the Kremlin.

Just wait till they flesh out their résumés.... Dolly Parton, 40, has made only three movies. Her asking price these days? $4 million per. Debra Winger, 30, has appeared in seven films (but none since Mike's Murder two years ago). You can sign her for $2 million plus.

This has nothing to do with money but is something you should know. Near the end of the filming of Casablanca, two new "wild lines"—to be inserted anywhere—were written: "Louis, I might have known you'd mix your patriotism with a little larceny" and the one that became the last line of the movie. What was it? * "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

This does have to do with money. On Casablanca, Dooley Wilson was paid $500 a week for seven weeks; Humphrey Bogart got a total of $36,667; and Ingrid Bergman got $25,000, or the same as Conrad Veidt.

Tom Selleck, 41, who stashed $4.8 million per year from his Magnum P.I. series, reportedly turned down a $4 million offer to pitch Diet Rite cola on TV. (Heck, maybe he doesn't drink the stuff.) Apparently Lee Majors, 45, is less picky when it comes to salary or sodas. TV's Fall Guy-did the cola job for a mere $500,000.

The $2 million that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 38, earns each year from basketball doesn't gather any dust. The 7'2" L.A. Laker is starting his own jazz record label and has invested more round-ball bucks in a splashy $1.4 million restaurant and a $4.2 million inn, both in Newport Beach, Calif., plus a 13-story hotel in Alabama. No word yet on whether the hostels will have Kareem-size beds.

File this under "I may not know art, but I know what matches the drapes." Vincent Van Gogh sold exactly one painting in his life for the equivalent of $886 in today's dollars. One Andy Warhol silk screen, titled Triple Elvis, went for $148,500 in 1985.

A raise from $42,000 to $47,000 per Dynasty episode was good news for Joan Collins, 52, but the pay will look like pin money on her IRS form this year. TV's most mature tart will make $750,000-plus from her Scoundrel perfume pitches for Revlon, about the same from her Sanyo and Canada Dry TV spots, $1 million from her Sins miniseries, and some extra coin from her retail line of eyeglasses, hats, jewelry and some videos in which she introduces old movies. This person needs money? Where is the justice in this person reportedly making $125,000 more for five hours in West Germany? First, she got $7,000 for a quickie TV appearance there. Then she pocketed a $26,000 pelt for taping a fur salon commercial. Then she got a diamond necklace worth about $12,000 for an appearance in a jewelry store and two free cars for appearing at a car dealership. Now here's the killer. With a few sees left over, Joan drew the winner in a lottery: Her pay was $7,000. Is that right?

Ever wonder why Marlon Brando, 61, never stars in movies any more? Consider this: Since his last leading role (The Missouri Breaks, a decade ago), Brando's feature film appearances have been one step up from walk-ons—a total of 13 scenes with fewer than 50 minutes of screen time in Superman, The Formula and Apocalypse Now. Besides his continuing share of Apocalypse profits, which could bring him a few million more, moody Marlon collected $8.4 million for those three appearances. That's $646,154 per scene, or $175,000 per minute. For a supporting actor, he's supporting himself quite nicely.

All right, enough of salary envy. Here are some folks who, although most of them are doing better than the corner deli man, represent real bargains in the world of the highly visible:

Best buy in broadcasting: Larry King, 57, who earns $600,000 a year for a nightly four-hour talkfest on Mutual Radio, five interviews a week on the Cable News Network, weekly appearances during the football season for NBC Sports—plus the regular columns he cranks out for USA Today and the Sporting News.

Most underpaid candidate for sainthood: Calcutta's Mother Teresa, 75, whose Catholic vows for her Missionaries of Charity order require "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor."

Most underpaid Oscar winner: Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the Cambodian physician-refugee who took leave from his $400-a-week job as a Los Angeles job placement counselor to play a supporting role in The Killing Fields. Ngor earned $11,900 and an Academy Award for that first acting stint and has had only one role since: a guest shot on Hotel for $10,000.

Cheapest big-time executive: Christie Hefner, the 33-year-old president and chief operating officer of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., which had fiscal 1985 sales of $192 million. For overseeing the company's policies, strategy, videos, its advertising, editorial and sales operations, Hefner made a paltry $192,558 last year. No tears, though. Hugh's daughter owns 30,549 shares of Playboy's common stock, which are worth about $290,000.

Sitcom stars with the least to laugh about: Night Court's Harry Anderson, 35, who earns a measly (by television standards) $15,000 per episode, and Alan Thicke, 37, whose $462,000 per year pay on Growing Pains is about one-half of his earnings from his old Thicke of the Night talk show.

Baseball's best steal: Kansas City Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen, who pitched his team to 20 victories during the 1985 season and two more in the World Series, earned both the American League's Cy Young Award and the Series' Most Valuable Player honors. Salary of the 21-year-old hurler: $150,000, about $221,000 less than the major league average. Don't worry about him, though: For 1986 he got a raise to $925,000.

Monaco's Princess Stephanie, 21, was a droll model until Papa struck posing from her agenda. So Steph gave up her $10,000-a-day fee to become co-owner and sometime designer for a new swimsuit company, then cut her first single, Irresistible, sung in English and French. It sold 100,000 copies in its first week, and now Steph is planning her first LP. "I am an optimist, and I fight to get what I want," she says. If she ever loses, of course, she can always hit up Prince Rainier for a chunk of the $4.6 million a year the principality gives him for personal expenses.

First he scored with the critics for his hit-man role in Prizzi's Honor. Then Jack Nicholson, 48, hit up Hollywood for another fat paycheck when he took the leading role in Heartburn on only five days' notice. Current fee per flick: $4 million.

British rocker Phil Collins, 35, might tie one on after counting royalties from his No Jacket Required LP, which has been in and out of the Top 20 for months and earned him $8.5 million so far.

Not even a cut-rate Sony comes cheaper than Japan's Emperor Hirohito, who is surely the world's best bargain in rulers. Apart from a stipend for household expenses, the 84-year-old monarch receives no salary.

Piano player Liberace, 66, may drop a bundle on birdbrained costumes, but he will feather his nest this year with a star's share of the $5 million that his shows will earn, plus more than $100,000 in record royalties.

The $500,000 that Drew Barrymore, 11, earned last year for Irreconcilable Differences wouldn't have impressed her grandpa, John Barry-more. More than half a century ago, the Great Profile swashbuckled off with $150,000 per picture, or $879,000-plus in today's dollars.

Last year Molly Ringwald, 18, got a $60-a-week allowance from her parents. Stash the cash, Pops. The kid now makes about half a million per role and may soon sign to star in and produce movies. Her take from each one, according to informed guessers: $1 million.

Ty Cobb's $70,000 salary in 1927, his 23rd season, was the equivalent of $418,250 today. Not exactly peanuts, but it's still less than half the $1 million Pete Rose, 44, will earn in 1986, his 23rd season.

Just two years ago Soleil Moon Frye bested 1,000 girls vying for the role of a destitute street kid. Now the 9-year-old Punky Brewster star is anything but destitute. Her weekly haul for each TV episode: $12,000.

She feared that her role as the vampy Lola in The Blue Angel might offend her mama, but Marlene Dietrich took the job anyway, earned an almost decadent $125,000 ($776,750 in today's dollars) for the 1930 film and became an international star within six months of its release.

Former lovers (but still partners) Annie Lennox, 31, and Dave Stewart, 33, watched sweet dreams turn real. The Eurythmics made $3 million from their Touch and Be Yourself Tonight LPs.

Indiana boy John Cougar Mellencamp, 34, harvested goodwill from the home folks for helping to stage the Farm Aid concert—and about $4 million for himself from sales of his 1985 Scarecrow LP.

Bill Cosby's $1.1 million TV salary and his take from 22 comedy LPs, films, nightclub gigs and TV spots add up to about $10 million per year. Now the 48-year-old daddy of five is working on an autobiography, Fatherhood, due this year.

In 1890, before winning his Nobel Prize for Literature, author-playwright George Bernard Shaw worked as a London music critic and made $1,258 ($14,476 today). This year TV's movie reviewer Gene Shalit, 54, who hasn't won his Nobel as yet, will get close to $700,000.

No star tripper despite her Desperately Seeking Susan smash, Rosanna Arquette, 25, keeps to a modest Hollywood Hills home with a wood stove and took a mere $400,000 for her next film, 8 Million Ways To Die.

Rock pioneer Bo Diddley, 57, signed away the rights to many of his songs back in the 1950s. Now he performs for as little as $2,500 an appearance and can't afford to keep his own backup band.

England's Alfred the Great died in 899, leaving 10 royal estates, farmland and silver, worth about $270 million in today's prices. It was a peasant's legacy compared with the present occupant of the throne. Queen Elizabeth II, 59, has a government allowance of $5.1 million this year, but her personal worth probably exceeds $2.5 billion—right-o, with a "B." From that she reportedly gets $987,000 in interest—per day.

After 12 years, Chris Evert Lloyd, 31, proved she was still a deuce of a competitor. Her $972,782 in 1985 prize money was second only on the women's tour to 29-year-old Martina Navratilova's take of $1.3 million.

Famine fighter Bob Geldof, 32, helped raise $92 million for Africa with the Live Aid concert and the Band Aid recording, Do They Know It's Christmas? But his fund-raising duties kept him off the rock 'n' roll concert circuit last year and reduced his own earnings to zero.

Even though it paid for her almost $2 million home in Connecticut, 34-year-old Meryl Streep's $3 million for Out of Africa makes her seem out of step. Co-star Robert Redford, 48, waltzed off with $6 million.

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