There are sitcoms that people love, and then there are sitcoms that people can’t live without. We all know someone who spends hours every day re-watching episodes of The Office or Parks and Recreation. Shows like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory have revolutionized the sitcom genre, and producers like Chuck Lorre, dubbed the “King of Sitcoms,” have garnered obscene net worths close to 10 figures (a billion dollars, for anyone who’s counting zeroes).
But some of our favorite TV sitcoms were tragically cut short— ended because of controversies off-set, or dying ratings, or simply because they wanted to go out on top. We’re always secretly hoping for reunions and renewals of our favorite sitcoms, such as those obtained by Will & Grace and Roseanne (though we all know how that one ended up), but for now, we’ll just watch reruns of our favorites.
Here are 20 canceled sitcom stars who are surprisingly rich— actors who you might not have expected to be worth so much, compared to their higher-profile co-stars.
20 Rashida Jones (Parks And Recreation) - $25 Million
Rashida Jones achieved critical acclaim as Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation, and as Karen Filippelli on The Office. Having two important roles in two of the most popular comedies in recent memory is a big claim, and gave her quite a healthy bank account. Her 2018 documentary, Quincy, about her legendary musician father, Quincy Jones, won the Grammy Award for Best Music Film in 2019. Parks & Rec was almost canceled after the first season, but isn’t NBC glad they kept it alive!
19 Ty Burell (Modern Family) - $26 Million
Ty Burrell might not seem like the richest actor coming from the soon to conclude Modern Family, but he’s one of them. He rose to prominence on Broadway before becoming Phil Dunphy, the lovable but dim-witted patriarch of the family on the show. He won two Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, in 2011 and 2014. He’s also appeared in films such as Black Hawk Down, The Incredible Hulk, and more.
18 Tony Danza (Taxi) - $40 Million
Taxi was a beloved sitcom that aired from 1978 to 1982, which won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. It focused on the everyday lives of taxi drivers in New York City, and their abusive dispatcher. It shot actors like Tony Danza to worldwide fame, and helped garner him more than $40 million in the bank. Danza is also known for his People’s Choice Award-winning sitcom, The Tony Danza Show.
17 Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - $45 Million
Eric Stonestreet is best known for his role as Cameron Tucker on the sitcom Modern Family. He was so funny as the flamboyant Cam that he’s won two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Stonestreet rose to prominence on CSI, and has appeared in a number of films, but he made most of his bank on Modern Family. He’s recently become a part-owner of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. He earned $13.5 million in 2019 alone, making him one of the top 10 highest-paid actors of the year.
16 Tina Fey (30 Rock) - $45 Million
Superstar comedian Tina Fey rose to fame on Saturday Night Live, alongside legends such as Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, David Spade, and many more. She created the critically acclaimed comedy series, 30 Rock, and starred as Liz Lemon. The show loosely follows her experiences at SNL, and is named after the place where SNL is broadcast from: 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Along with shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and films like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, she’s managed to make quite a name and living for herself.
15 Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) - $45 Million
You might be scratching your head, wondering how someone like Simon Helberg has as much money in the bank as Tina Fey, but that just shows the popularity of The Big Bang Theory. He played Howard Wolowitz on the sitcom. In 2017, he was the third highest-paid actor on television, making $26 million) after getting $1 million per episode alongside his core cast members (Jim Parsons was #1). He then took a $100,000-per-episode pay cut, alongside his cast members, to give co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch higher salaries.
14 Rhea Perlman (Cheers) - $50 Million
Rhea Perlman has been in the business since 1972, so she’s had a long time to garner such wealth. She’s also been married to Danny DeVito since 1982. She’s best known as the head-waitress Carla Tortelli in the incredibly popular sitcom Cheers, in which she played the character from 1982 to 1993. Over her 11 seasons on the show, she was nominated for an astounding 10 Emmy Awards, and won four of them, and was nominated for a record six Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series.
13 Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) - $55 Million
Another alum from The Big Bang Theory who has amassed incredible wealth for herself is Kaley Cuoco, the beautiful blonde who played Penny. Before making history earning $1 million per episode alongside Jim Parsons and Simon Helberg, she starred in a number of supporting roles in films and TV shows in the 1990s, before landing her breakthrough role as Bridget Hennessey on the ABC sitcom, 8 Simple Rules.
12 Christopher Lloyd (Taxi) - $60 Million
Most people know Christopher Lloyd as Emmett “Doc” Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy, Uncle Fester from The Addams Family, or for his role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (he’s been around the block, having been in the business since 1961). But he gained widespread recognition as Jim Ignatowski in the comedy series Taxi, for which he won two Emmy Awards. He’s also done extensive voice work— all of which has helped him amass a net worth of over $60 million.
11 Kelsey Grammar (Frasier) - $60 Million
It’s one thing to star in a hit sitcom, but to then star in another is almost unheard of (just ask Ed O’Neill, who had a similar fate). Kelsey Grammer was first known as the psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers, and he was loved so much that he was given his own sitcom spin-off, Frasier. He’s won five Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, a Tony, and has made over $60 million for his two-decade-long portrayal of Frasier.
10 Ed O’Neill (Modern Family) - $65 Million
Ed O’Neill is a Renaissance man of sorts, in regards to his newfound fame as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family later in life. Before he was the patriarch of that family, he was Al Bundy on Married… with Children, another incredibly popular sitcom. He’s also appeared in the Wayne’s World film series and other films, but the two heavy-hitting sitcoms are what really made him rich beyond belief. He made $14 million in 2019, enough to place him at #7 on the highest-paid actors of 2019 list.
9 Woody Harrelson (Cheers) - $65 Million
Woody Harrelson might be one of the most popular actors in Hollywood these days, starring in films like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The People vs. Harry Flynt, Zombieland, and shows like True Detective, but before all that he was Woody Boyd on Cheers. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for his comedic acting on the show, and had a total of five nominations. Even without his film career, Harrelson would have been fine.
8 John Goodman (Roseanne) - $65 Million
Most people know John Goodman as a film actor, starring in such prominent films as The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Inside Llewyn Davis, and dozens more. But early in his career, he played Dan Conner on the ABC sitcom Roseanne (we won’t talk about Roseanne herself and the way she got the show canceled after its triumphant renewal in 2018). He won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in 1993 for the role, which he played from 1988 to 1997, then again in 2018.
7 Ted Danson (Cheers) - $80 Million
Edward Bridge Danson III, better known as Ted, played the lead character of Sam Malone on Cheers early in his career, which skyrocketed his success. He then played Jack Holden in the Three Men and a Baby films, Dr. John Becker in the sitcom Becker, and D.B. Russell in CSI and CSI: Cyber. He’s starred in other huge productions, like FX’s drama anthology Fargo, HBO’s Bored to Death, & Larry David’s sitcom, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and it’s all helped to gain him a net worth of $80 million.
6 Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - $80 Million
Before she was shunned from the entertainment industry for her ill-conceived comments— and before she got her money-printing show canceled after just a year of renewal— Roseanne Barr was the “it” actress with the self-titled sitcom, Roseanne. It’s crazy to think that she once won 70,000 votes for president in the general election of 2012, now that she’s been practically exiled from the world. But none of her many controversies have stopped her from garnering a wealth of $80 million!
5 Tim Allen (Home Improvement) - $80 Million
Tim Allen is almost better known for his voiceover work— such as Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story series— than he is for his acting roles. But his role as Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvement (1991-1999) is the stuff of legends. He also plays Mike Baxter on the sitcom Last Man Standing, which has been running since 2011. He’s another actor who has two huge sitcoms under his belt, both of which ran for quite some time, and helped make him incredibly rich.
4 Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - $100 Million
The continued success of The Big Bang Theory helped Jim Parsons earn a whopping $26.5 million in 2019, which pushed his fortune to a staggering $100 million. He’s consistently one of the top-earning TV stars year in and year out, all for playing Sheldon Cooper. He’s received four Primetime Emmys after being nominated every year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series from 2009 to 2014. In August 2018, he turned down a $50 million contract for seasons 13 and 14 of the show, which quickly led to the show’s demise in May 2019. He still acts as the narrator for Young Sheldon.
3 Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) - $160 Million
The only person to beat out Jim Parsons this year as top-earning TV star is Sofia Vergara, who earned an incredible $42.5 million for the last season of Modern Family. Vergara became big as a host for several Univisión shows in the late ‘90s, then in films like Chasing Papi and Four Brothers. But playing Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in Modern Family cemented her incredible wealth. She’s been the top-earning actress in American television in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2019.
2 Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld) - $200 Million
It should come as no surprise that a member of arguably the most popular sitcom of all time, Seinfeld, would be on this list. Julia Louis-Dreyfus made her bread as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, over nine seasons, but she began on SNL like many others. Thanks to SNL, Seinfeld, and her sitcom Veep, she’s one of the most awarded actresses in TV history, winning more Emmy Awards and Screen Actors Guilds Awards than any other performer (eight Emmys for acting, three for producing, out of a total of 24 nominations). She was also named one of the most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list, in 2016.
1 Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) - $400 Million
To the younger crowd, Larry David might be known for the curmudgeonly semi-fictionalized version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he really made incredible wealth by co-creating Seinfeld with Jerry Seinfeld, and by being the head writer of the show for the first seven seasons. Formerly a stand-up comedian, he’s now worth more than almost any other actor in the world, at nearly half a billion dollars, and most of that comes from the lucrative syndication deal he and Jerry (who is worth $950 million) inked for themselves.
Sources: celebritynetworth.com, tvshowstars.com