Afro-American actors have always been successful in Hollywood. You have the swagger that is not normally visible in the other Western actors. The way they speak, their mannerisms, etc can mesmerise anyone. Literally no film in Hollywood is complete without the presence of an Afro-American actor or two. They not only lend color (pun unintended) to the film but display a special kind of grace hat no one can match.
There have been a lot of such actors in Hollywood who are capable of rubbing shoulders with the best in the business. We shall look at the top 11 richest black actors in the world in 2018. Usually, we compile a list of the top 10, but we have a tie at the tenth place. Hence, we deem it necessary to include his name as well and make it a top 11.
11. Jamie Foxx: $85 million
At No 11, we have a powerhouse of talent, Jamie Foxx. A versatile actor cum musician, Jamie had a terrific sense of humor as a child. Originally known as Eric Marlon Bishop, Jamie Foxx credits his grandmother for instilling the belief in him that he could shine in this field. He used to entertain his school mates a lot in school with his teachers taking a special liking for him. He used to partake in a lot of musical plays at that time as well. He is famous for his sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show that ran for five years. His notable films include Dreamgirls, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Django Unchained, Ray, etc. He won an Academy Award for the Best Actor in a Leading Role for Ray. He is a musician as well having performed with stars such as Kayne West. With a net worth of $85 million, Jamie Foxx makes an entry at No 11.
10. Eddie Murphy: $85 million
The No 10 spot goes to the comedian, Eddie Murphy. It seems to be a travesty of justice that comedians live a life of tragedy in real life. Eddie Murphy lost father at a very young age in a tragic accident. His mother was not well off and could not afford to raise both Eddie as well as his brother, Charlie. She sent them to a foster home. This was his first initiation into comedy. It was here that he realised that he had the ability to shine as a comedian. After joining his mother and step-father, he honed this skill by watching comedy shows on TV and trying to mimic them. The credit for reviving the TV show, Saturday Night Live goes to Eddie Murphy. Some of his notable films are 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, etc. He has done voice over for Dreamworks’ Shrek. He shares this spot with Jamie Foxx as he has a similar net worth of $85 million.
9. LL Cool J: $100 million
Black artists make good hip-hop musicians. There seems to be a connection somewhere between black artistes and hip-hop music. We have James Todd Smith, also known as LL (Lady Love) Cool J (James) at No 9 in this list. He was in fact one of first hip-hop or rap artists to make the transition from music to mainstream cinema. He started rapping at a very young age of 9 years. His musical background helped him to garner some TV roles until he had his own show ‘In the House’ in 1995. Some of his notable films include Deep Blue Sea, Last Holiday, SWAT, etc. Having won a Grammy award in the early 90s, he does not rap much nowadays preferring to act in movies. With a cool net worth of $100 million, LL Cool J is the No 9 in this list.
8. Martin Lawrence: $110 million
Martin Lawrence has a great sense of comic timing. This comic timing has made him net $110 million over a career spread over 25 years. This makes him fit for the No 8 spot in this list. His first appearance was in the show Star Search. Although he reached the final round, he could not win the title. Born in West Germany, Martin Lawrence had Eddie Murphy as his idol. His first film was ‘Do the Right Thing’. He went on to host Def Comedy Jam. Some of his best films include Bad Boys with Will Smith. He plays the perfect side kick to Will Smith in this film. This film became a huge hit. They are planning to have a sequel to this film. Some of his other films include National Security, Black Knight, etc.
7. Ice Cube: $120 million
At No 7 we have another rapper who has made it to the mainstream Hollywood acting. We are referring to O’Shea Jackson, better known as Ice Cube. A very successful rapper, he formed a good partnership with Dr Dre and Eazy-E. They had a unique style of singing known as the ‘gangsta rap’. Subsequently, he broke off from the group and began to sing solo. He used to write his own lyrics as well. This music career brought him into the limelight with roles in a couple of Hollywood films. His notable films include ‘Boyz n The Hood’, Torque, 21 Jump Street, etc. He has his own clothes line as well where he makes his stylish hoodies that come equipped with headphones. With a net worth of $120 million, Ice Cube is No 7 in this list.
6. Denzel Washington: $150 million
We have one of the most critically acclaimed actors in Hollywood at the No 6 spot. Born in Mount Vernon, NY, Denzel Washington had a very late entry into field of acting. He was at the Fordham University when he had his first brush with acting. He would have literally gone the way most young black boys grow but for the timely intervention of his parents who packed him off to the Oakland Military Academy. He organized a talent show at the Fordham University. Ironically, he discovered his own talent at this show. He landed a few small roles on television. Subsequently, he got roles in TV serials like St Elsewhere. Some of his films include Glory, Remember the Titans, Malcolm X, Unstoppable, and Training Day. He has won Academy Awards for Glory as well as for Training Day. He has a charitable bent of mind having donated huge sums in charities.
5. Morgan Freeman: $150 million
We have God at No 5 in this list. Of course, we are not referring to the Almighty but one of the finest actors of this generation, Morgan Freeman. You could see the spark in Morgan right since the age of 12. Here was a man who put country before self as he refused an academic scholarship to Jackson State University and joined the US Air Force. He made his first major screen appearance in the film Street Smart alongside, Christopher Reeves. He has acted in a host of successful films like Se7en, Deep Impact, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight trilogy, and the films Bruce Almighty and its sequel Evan Almighty where he played ‘GOD’. Blessed with an excellent and soothing voice, he lent his voice for films like March of the Penguins, etc. With a net worth of $150 million, GOD stands at No 5 in the list
4. Samuel L Jackson: $200 million
Samuel L Jackson is one of the best black actors ever to act in Hollywood. However, the world would have missed his talent had he just gone ahead and pursued his first love, the oceans. He nearly enrolled for the course of a marine biologist but ended up acting in front of the camera. As a youngster, he had political leanings having participated in the Black Power movement after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. His mother packed him off to Los Angeles where he got roles in TV serials. His first film was ‘Together for Days’. He played prominent roles in ‘Do the Right Thing’ and ‘Goodfellas’. He became addicted to cocaine and heroin. Luckily he went to rehab and came out of it. He has acted in many films subsequently such as Jurassic park, Star Wars, Snakes on a Plane, Django Unchained, and many others. With a net worth of $200 million, he is No 4 in this list.
3. Will Smith: $250 million
Will Smith with a net worth of $250 million comes at No 3 in this list. Literally a household name everywhere in the world, everyone knows Will Smith. Here was a brainy actor with very high SAT scores that would have got him admission in Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, he chose rap music and acting over his academic credentials. He was an excellent rapper at that time having won the Grammy in the 80s. Subsequently, he moved to the film industry where he did memorable roles in films like Bad Boys and Independence Day. Some of his famous films include Wild Wild West, Hancock, Men In Black, and many others. His son Jaden is also a star in his own right.
2. Bill Cosby: $400 million
We have the redoubtable Bill Cosby at No 2 in the list with a net worth of $400 million. We had Will Smith earlier with high academic credentials. Now, we have an educationist in our midst with Bill Cosby. He is a versatile personality capable of donning several hats at the same time. He is an activist, writer, producer, as well as a comedian. Everyone remembers his show, The Bill Cosby Show. He has other shows such as ‘I Spy’ and ‘The Cosby Mysteries’ to his credit. His sexual escapades notwithstanding, Bill Cosby has made a name for himself in Hollywood. He is the No 2 in this list with a net worth in the rarefied range of $400 million.
1. Tyler Perry: $600 million
People who follow Hollywood and black actors in particular would not be surprised at all to find Tyler Perry at the No 1 spot. He is a multifaceted personality. A director, producer, and writer, he is a star actor as well. He had a difficult childhood with his father abusing him physically most of the time. His mother was his biggest support who used to take him to church to obtain solace. This might be the reason you see his films placing great emphasis on female characters, especially mothers and sisters. He owes his entry into the writing field to Oprah Winfrey. He was inspired by one of her shows to start writing plays. He has written numerous successful plays since then. Some of his notable films include Madea’s Family Reunion, Star Trek (2009), Teenage Mutant Turtles, and so on. With a net worth of $600 million, Tyler Perry is the undisputed No 1.
The eleven actors listed above have earned their fortune not because they are black or colored but because of the pure talent. Hence, the black actor tag does not suit them well. They would have shone even otherwise. These actors have been a source of inspiration to hundreds of other actors all over the globe.