11 actors who made millions from adverts

Ben Falk
·Contributor

Let’s face it, they do pretty well money-wise in their day jobs on the big and small screen. But for these stars, hocking a product proved really lucrative.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
What: Asian casinos
How much: £10.3million each

Credit: Studio City Macau
Credit: Studio City Macau

Made to plug a gambling palace in Macau, this 2015 advert – called ‘The Audition’ – cost a staggering £56m and was directed by Martin Scorsese.

The storyline is about the two leading men fighting for a part in Marty’s latest (fictional) film and features them on a virtual casino set. For their salary, they had to work a nightmare…two days. Nice work if you can get it.

William Shatner
What: Priceline
How much: £479million (maybe)

Credit: Priceline
Credit: Priceline

The man formerly known as Kirk joined this travel company as their frontman in 1997, although his character appeared to perish on-screen in 2012 (he’s since been brought back as a ghost a few times).

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But his unbelievable financial haul came about because the actor took stock in the company rather than a flat fee, selling while its shares were sky high. A few have since questioned whether he truly made that much, but still…

Sofia Vergara
What: Head and Shoulders, Pepsi
How much: £34m

Credit: Head and Shoulders
Credit: Head and Shoulders

The ‘Modern Family’ star was once again the highest-paid TV actress in 2016, mainly thanks to her breadth of endorsement deals.

Head and Shoulders is amongst her most profitable, thanks to the comedy promo entitled ‘Mom Knows Best’. Which also gives her a chance to show off her lustrous hair.

Marilyn Monroe
What: Max Factor, Snickers et al.
How much: £21.5m

Credit: Max Factor
Credit: Max Factor

She may have died in 1962, but Monroe has been appearing in adverts pretty regularly since then, thanks to various licensing deals negotiated by her estate.

Her likeness is now owned by Authentic Brands Group, although there have been various phenomenally complicated lawsuits in the last few years based on people apparently using her to promote things when they shouldn’t have done.

Either way, she’s part of the so-called ‘necro-advertising’ trend and despite passing away 55 years ago, is a brand ambassador for Max Factor.

Catherine Zeta-Jones
What: T-Mobile
How much: £16m

Credit: T-Mobile
Credit: T-Mobile

The Mumbles, Wales export made a tidy sum when she was hired by the mobile phone company to front their ad campaign back in the mid-Noughties, bringing a sense of UK glam to the hawking of Palm Pilots and Blackberries.

Angelina Jolie
What: Louis Vuitton
How much: £8m

Credit: Louis Vuitton
Credit: Louis Vuitton

There’s a lot to love about Angie and it’s very likely that much of her haul for this fashion campaign went to support her many charitable causes.

That said, the deal meant you had to watch an excruciating ‘short film’ featuring the star wandering pensively around Cambodia wiping her face and looking hot (not the sweaty kind, obvs).

Brad Pitt
What: Chanel
How much: £5.6m

Credit: Chanel
Credit: Chanel

The hair may be gorgeous and he commits to the nonsensical dialogue, but there’s a whiff of the Joey-from-‘Friends’-soap-opera-acting-technique in this Chanel No. 5 ad, as Bradley takes a moment and looks wistfully up and across.

All the while thinking, “remember, you’ve got six sets of kiddie Christmas presents to buy every year, you can get through this!”.

Dean Winters
What: Allstate
How much: £3.1m

Credit: Allstate
Credit: Allstate

You might recognise him as Liz Lemon’s pager-selling boyfriend in early ’30 Rock’, or maybe from ‘John Wick’, but in fact this hard-working character actor has made most of his cash from pretending to get dinged up in a series of US insurance commercials since the start of this decade.

And boy does he deserve it. After suffering a rare bacterial infection in 2009, he briefly died in the back of an ambulance, had 16 surgeries and now only has 7-and-a-half toes.

Jonathan Goldsmith
What: Dos Equis
How much: £1.5m

Credit: Dos Equis
Credit: Dos Equis

The 78-year-old began his career back in the 1960s opposite Clint Eastwood in ‘Hang ‘Em High’, but most recently has been raking in the dough playing ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ in a series of promos for the beer brand beginning in 2006.

Goldsmith left the campaign in March 2016, with his character heading off to Mars. Yes, really.

Jennifer Aniston
What: Smartwater
How much: £1.5m

Credit: Smartwater
Credit: Smartwater

This posh water label has been in business with the star for some time and she’s used their ads to make fun of people’s endless fascination with her womb amongst other things.

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