Highest-grossing actors over the age of 50

February 6, 2021
Christopher Polk // Getty Images

Highest-grossing actors over the age of 50

In many cases, the passage of years can add value and influence. And that doesn’t just go for fine wines or artisan cheese—many Hollywood stars just keep doing better as time goes on. With more films, more awards, and more experience, their value in the industry goes up. Of course, there are those rare cases in which age appears to stop progressing (see: Paul Rudd), but most humans are not quite that lucky.

Each of the actors on this list continued to achieve acclaim and financial success well after celebrating the big 5-0. For them, age truly is just a number. They have defied the odds and not only managed to remain in an industry that places significance on youth, but they have also managed to continue to prosper well into midlife and beyond. Stacker used data from the-numbers.com to rank these 50 actors according to their total domestic box office earnings, in order from lowest to highest. Voice actors were considered as well, and there are several on the list. It’s true that most people will never pull in the kind of cash these actors do, regardless of age. But we can still respect their success and continuing work ethic—and perhaps fantasize about what we would do with that kind of money.

Read on to find out which of your favorite over-50 stars are among the top earners in Hollywood—yes, Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Cruise may seem obvious, but some others may surprise you. There is an actor who has voiced the same animated character since 1969. Another actor has passed his legacy and his talent on to his kids, many of whom have successful acting careers themselves. Still, another talented theatrically trained star became famous for playing an android in one of the highest-grossing film franchises in history. Can you guess who’s who in this list of Hollywood’s elite?

You may also like: Fan campaigns that saved TV shows from cancellation

1 / 50
Earl Gibson III // Getty Images

#50. William Hurt

- Domestic box office: $3.35 billion
- Average box office: $54 million
- Movies: 62

Educated at the Juilliard School, William Hurt’s acting career began on stage in the 1970s. Hurt starred in five Best Picture Oscar-nominees including “The Big Chill,” “Children of a Lesser God,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Broadcast News,” and “The Accidental Tourist.” Nominated for a Best Actor Oscar three years in a row—1986, 1987, and 1988—the actor won the award in 1986 for “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

2 / 50
VALERIE MACON // Getty Images

#49. John Goodman

- Domestic box office: $3.38 billion
- Average box office: $41.7 million
- Movies: 81

John Goodman is best known for his role as affable husband and father, Dan Conner. The character was ranked 13th in TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.” Goodman is also known for his many roles in the Coen Brothers’ films, including “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “The Big Lebowski.” He is a well-respected, prolific voice actor as well.

3 / 50
Leon Bennett // Getty Images

#48. Helena Bonham Carter

- Domestic box office: $3.38 billion
- Average box office: $70.5 million
- Movies: 48

Helena Bonham Carter achieved success in both television and film, and is known not only for her acting skills but for her distinguished family tree. With recent roles in the Netflix series “The Crown” and the original Netflix film “Enola Holmes,” Bonham Carter continues to remain active in the industry. She has appeared in several Tim Burton films, and the two were partners for 13 years and have two children together.

4 / 50
Robin L Marshall // Getty Images

#47. Laurence Fishburne

- Domestic box office: $3.40 billion
- Average box office: $50 million
- Movies: 68

In 1973, at the age of 12, Laurence Fishburne won a role on the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Fishburne appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film “Apocalypse Now” when he was 14 and went on to work with the acclaimed director in several films.

5 / 50
CARL COURT // Getty Images

#46. Robbie Coltrane

- Domestic box office: $3.41 billion
- Average box office: $92.2 million
- Movies: 37

Best known by many Americans for his role as the loveable giant Rubeus Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” films, Robbie Coltrane’s early days in the industry were spent making people laugh. The Scottish actor was also a well-known stand-up comedian in Britain. Coltrane also starred in two “James Bond” films as Russian mafia lord Valentin Zukovsky and had success on several British television shows in the 1980s.

You may also like: Greatest villains of 20th-century cinema

6 / 50
Dia Dipasupil // Getty Images

#45. Marisa Tomei

- Domestic box office: $3.41 billion
- Average box office: $59.9 million
- Movies: 57

While Marisa Tomei acted in a soap opera and made her film debut in 1984’s “Flamingo Kid,” her breakthrough role came as Joe Pesci’s foul-mouthed, much-younger girlfriend in the 1992 film “My Cousin Vinny.” The actress was awarded an Oscar for her efforts.

7 / 50
Kevin Winter // Getty Images

#44. Robert De Niro

- Domestic box office: $3.46 billion
- Average box office: $35.3 million
- Movies: 98

Robert De Niro has done it all: He’s played imposing fathers, psychotic ex-cons, and even a 70-year-old intern. His work has earned him seven Best Actor nominations at the Academy Awards (two of which he won), and at age 74, the Hollywood legend has shown no signs of slowing down.

You may also like: Best Robert De Niro movies

8 / 50
FREDERIC J. BROWN // Getty Images

#43. Stellan Skarsgård

- Domestic box office: $3.47 billion
- Average box office: $62 million
- Movies: 56

The actor’s start came as a teen on the Swedish television series “Bombi Bitt och jag,” playing the titular character. Skarsgård has had a steady career ever since, and has acted in everything from award-winning TV series including “Chernobyl” to popular films such as Marvel's “Avengers.” Several of the eight Skarsgård offspring have followed in their father’s footsteps and become successful actors including Alexander and Bill Skarsgård.

9 / 50
Michael Kovac // Getty Images

#42. Mark Hamill

- Domestic box office: $3.53 billion
- Average box office: $130.8 million
- Movies: 27

In his multi-decade acting career, Mark Hamill is best known for a single role: Luke Skywalker. His work as the famous Jedi was put on hold for three decades until he reappeared again in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Hamill has admitted he was “really scared” to reprise the role, but overcame his fear and is continuing to act in the Star Wars universe.

10 / 50
Matt Winkelmeyer // Getty Images

#41. Bonnie Hunt

- Domestic box office: $3.57 billion
- Average box office: $127.6 million
- Movies: 28

Bonnie Hunt’s voice has appeared in several animated Pixar films. She has worked as a writer, director, actor, and comedian and appeared in movies like “Jerry Maguire,” “Jumanji,” and “The Green Mile.” Before forming a Chicago comedy troupe in 1984, she was an oncology nurse.

You may also like: NPR Tiny Desk concerts to enjoy during containment

11 / 50
Pixar Animation Studios

#40. Sherry Lynn

- Domestic box office: $3.60 billion
- Average box office: $143.9 million
- Movies: 25

Successful and prolific voice actress Sherry Lynn’s voice has appeared in many Pixar films. Lynn is the voice of the mom in “Toy Story,” mom's disgust and mom's joy in “Inside Out,” and the alligator in the short film “Partysaurus Rex.”

12 / 50
Jason LaVeris// Getty Images

#39. Owen Wilson

- Domestic box office: $3.67 billion
- Average box office: $65.5 million
- Movies: 56

Owen Wilson and director Wes Anderson met at the University of Texas, Austin, in 1989 as sophomores, and they created a short film that launched both their careers. He and Anderson also co-wrote several films together. A member of the “Frat Pack,” Wilson received an Oscar nomination for “The Royal Tenenbaums,” though it was for writing, not acting.

13 / 50
Mike Coppola // Getty Images

#38. Frank Oz

- Domestic box office: $3.67 billion
- Average box office: $131.1 million
- Movies: 28

Puppeteer and voice actor Frank Oz contributed to “Sesame Street” and “The Muppets,” voicing Fozzie Bear, The Cookie Monster, Grover, and Miss Piggy. He also was the puppeteer for and the original voice of Yoda. Oz is also an accomplished film director.

14 / 50
Super Festivals // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Bill Farmer

- Domestic box office: $3.70 billion
- Average box office: $160.9 million
- Movies: 23

Bill Farmer has been the voice of Goofy since 1987. His voice has also appeared in “Space Jam,” “The Iron Giant,” and “Horton Hears a Who!.”

15 / 50
Dave J Hogan // Getty Images

#36. Simon Pegg

- Domestic box office: $3.75 billion
- Average box office: $93.8 million
- Movies: 40

While Simon Pegg’s breakthrough in film came in 2004 when he played titular character Shaun in “Shaun of the Dead,” his career began as a stand-up comic in London. Pegg co-wrote the zombie rom-com with director Edgar Wright.

You may also like: Can you answer these real 'Jeopardy!' questions about TV shows?

16 / 50
Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

#35. Michael Caine

- Domestic box office: $3.76 billion
- Average box office: $45.8 million
- Movies: 82

London-born Michael Caine was originally known as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, but he changed his name for his career. Caine got his start in theater, though he eventually transitioned to film. Some of his most memorable films include “Alfie,” “Educating Rita,” and “The Cider House Rules.”

17 / 50
Rich Fury // Getty Images

#34. Bruce Willis

- Domestic box office: $3.76 billion
- Average box office: $40 million
- Movies: 94

Bruce Willis has portrayed John McClane in the “Die Hard” franchise since 1988, but Willis’ talents are not limited to action sequences. He has received praise for roles like Butch Coolidge in “Pulp Fiction” and Malcolm Crowe in “The Sixth Sense.”

18 / 50
Mat Hayward // Getty Images

#33. Jess Harnell

- Domestic box office: $3.77 billion
- Average box office: $179.4 million
- Movies: 21

Hard-working voice actor Jess Harnell has voiced characters on many animated series including “The Pink Panther,” “The Tick,” and “The Simpsons.” Harnell has also been an announcer on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.“

19 / 50
Emma McIntyre // Getty Images

#32. Eddie Murphy

- Domestic box office: $3.81 billion
- Average box office: $84.6 million
- Movies: 45

From a waffle-loving Donkey in “Shrek” to an obese academic in “The Nutty Professor,” Eddie Murphy’s characters are usually wacky and over-the-top. But that’s not always the case—Murphy’s serious side can be seen in films like “Dreamgirls,” and he’s reportedly interested in taking on more dramatic roles.

20 / 50
Target Presse Agentur Gmbh // Getty Images

#31. Ian McKellen

- Domestic box office: $3.82 billion
- Average box office: $91 million
- Movies: 42

Ian McKellen was officially knighted in 1991, although he has since confessed he almost turned the offer down. His career has run the gamut of genres, from blockbuster franchises like “X-Men” and “The Lord of the Rings” to the film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Cats.” However, McKellen’s true passion seems to live on the stage, and his commitment to the theatre is so great that an injury didn’t stop him from giving his “King Lear” audience a little something.

You may also like: Controversial songs from the year you were born

21 / 50
Warner Bros.

#30. Jack Angel

- Domestic box office: $3.83 billion
- Average box office: $141.9 million
- Movies: 27

Known for his radio work and many voice acting roles, Jack Angel has been working in the industry since the 1970s. He worked on the 2001 Steven Spielberg film “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” voicing the character Teddy.

22 / 50
Greg Doherty // Getty Images

#29. Vin Diesel

- Domestic box office: $3.84 billion
- Average box office: $116.4 million
- Movies: 33

When he’s not busy feuding with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel is making movies that make big bucks. He’s the voice of Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and plays Dominic Toretto in multiple “Fast & Furious” chapters. The latter role will be reprised very soon: The ninth and 10th sequels of the franchise have been announced.

23 / 50
Roy Rochlin // Getty Images

#28. J.K. Simmons

- Domestic box office: $3.85 billion
- Average box office: $48.8 million
- Movies: 79

The actor originally planned to become a singer, but fate intervened. He wound up on Broadway and eventually made his way to television and film. Simmons is known for his frequent work with film directors Sam Raimi and Jason Reitman.

24 / 50
Michael Hickey // Getty Images

#27. Matt Damon

- Domestic box office: $3.89 billion
- Average box office: $56.4 million
- Movies: 69

Playing opposite Julia Roberts in his first film, “Mystic Pizza,” Matt Damon was only 18. His big break would come several years later in 1997 with “Good Will Hunting,” which would garner Damon and his friend Ben Affleck the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. He and Affleck share a screenwriting credit once again for the 2021 film “The Last Duel,” directed by Ridley Scott.

25 / 50
Kevin Winter// Getty Images

#26. Will Smith

- Domestic box office: $3.92 billion
- Average box office: $103 million
- Movies: 38

Will Smith has come a long way since his early days in the industry as a rapper and sitcom star. Smith ranked eighth on Forbe's highest-paid actors of 2020 list, with an estimated $44.5 million. He has proven his worth not only as a comedic actor but as a dramatic one as well, with two Best Actor Oscar nominations.

You may also like: 100 best movies of all time to explore while social distancing

26 / 50
Emma McIntyre // Getty Images

#25. Mark Ruffalo

- Domestic box office: $3.97 billion
- Average box office: $84.4 million
- Movies: 47

How many actors are capable of playing both a romantic lead and a giant, angry, green superhero? There’s no hard data on that, but Mark Ruffalo would certainly qualify. Ruffalo has acted in films like “13 Going on 30” and “Spotlight,” and is a central member of the “Avengers” crew. 

27 / 50
Frazer Harrison // Getty Images

#24. Woody Harrelson

- Domestic box office: $4.01 billion
- Average box office: $51.4 million
- Movies: 78

The popular 1980s sitcom “Cheers” placed Woody Harrelson in front of a large audience who fell in love with his character, the slow-witted but endearing bartender Woody Boyd. He went on to act in several memorable films like “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Natural Born Killers,” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” He is also a very vocal marijuana activist.

28 / 50
Tristan Fewings // Getty Images

#23. Johnny Depp

- Domestic box office: $4.03 billion
- Average box office: $59.3 million
- Movies: 68

Johnny Depp has a knack for playing wild-haired leading men, from the dreadlocked Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” to the aptly named Edward Scissorhands. Even Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street rocks an impressive silver streak. Some of Depp's earlier and well-known films include “Edward Scissorhands” and “What's Eating Gilbert Grape.”

29 / 50
Pascal Le Segretain // Getty Images

#22. Hugo Weaving

- Domestic box office: $4.10 billion
- Average box office: $105 million
- Movies: 39

Known for his role as Elrond in “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy and his role as Agent Smith in “The Matrix,” Hugo Weaving is also an accomplished voice actor. He was the voice of Megatron in several “Transformer” films and Noah the Elder in both “Happy Feet” and “Happy Feet Two.”

30 / 50
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis // Getty Images

#21. Cate Blanchett

- Domestic box office: $4.10 billion
- Average box office: $73.2 million
- Movies: 56

This Australian actress graduated from Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art and began her career with the Sydney Theatre Company. Her breakthrough role came with her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1998 film “Elizebeth” for which she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama and was also nominated for an Academy Award. Blanchett made her Broadway debut in “The Present” in 2017.

You may also like: Mistakes from the 100 worst movies of all time

31 / 50
VALERY HACHE // Getty Images

#20. Willem Dafoe

- Domestic box office: $4.10 billion
- Average box office: $43.2 million
- Movies: 95

This versatile actor has worked with some of the greatest directors in the industry, including Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, and Martin Scorsese. Willem Dafoe played a heroic musher in “Togo,” a death god in “Death Note,” an elite assassin in “John Wick,” and the son of God in “The Last Temptation of Christ” in a career that spans four decades.

32 / 50
Christopher Polk // Getty Images

#19. Paul Rudd

- Domestic box office: $4.12 billion
- Average box office: $72.3 million
- Movies: 57

An everyman if there ever was one, Paul Rudd rose to fame in 1995 when he played Alicia Silverstone’s love interest in the Amy Heckerling film “Clueless.” He is also well known for his role as Phoebe Buffay’s love interest and third husband, Mike Hannigan, in “Friends.” Rudd has played superhero Ant-Man in many films.

33 / 50
Jeff Kravitz // Getty Images

#18. Gary Oldman

- Domestic box office: $4.19 billion
- Average box office: $73.6 million
- Movies: 57

Known more as a character actor than a box office star, Gary Oldman has also acted in several blockbuster films. He played Sirius Black in three of the “Harry Potter” films. Oldman also starred in “Sid and Nancy,” “The Dark Knight,” and “True Romance.”

34 / 50
Jesse Grant // Getty Images

#17. Jeremy Renner

- Domestic box office: $4.27 billion
- Average box office: $137.7 million
- Movies: 31

Jeremy Renner played superhero Hawkeye in several Marvel films and will portray the character in the 2021 television series, “Hawkeye.” His acting career began in the mid-1990s, though his breakthrough role came with the 2008 Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker.” The actor won a nomination for his portrayal of Staff Sergeant William James.

35 / 50
Slaven Vlasic // Getty Images

#16. Stanley Tucci

- Domestic box office: $4.39 billion
- Average box office: $51.6 million
- Movies: 85

Stanley Tucci made his Broadway debut in 1982 as a soldier in “The Queen and the Rebels.” He received his first and only Oscar nomination for his role as a child murderer in the 2009 film “The Lovely Bones.” Both a successful television and film actor, Tucci also has several directorial credits to his name, including for the 2017 film, “Final Portrait.”

 

36 / 50
Emmanuel Wong // Getty Images

#15. Tom Cruise

- Domestic box office: $4.45 billion
- Average box office: $92.6 million
- Movies: 48

Likely due to his immense salaries for films like “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” Tom Cruise has reportedly amassed a net worth of more than half a billion dollars over the years. At 56, Cruise still performs his own stunts and stars in films that are both high grossing and critically well received.

37 / 50
Theo Wargo // Getty Images

#14. James Earl Jones

- Domestic box office: $4.47 billion
- Average box office: $79.8 million
- Movies: 56

James Earl Jones provided the iconic voices of Darth Vader in “Star Wars” and Mufasa in “The Lion King,” though his earliest television roles included turns on soap operas. The nonagenarian is best known for films like “The Great White Hope,” “Coming to America,” and “Field of Dreams.”

38 / 50
Amy Sussman // Getty Images

#13. Don Cheadle

- Domestic box office: $4.74 billion
- Average box office: $103 million
- Movies: 46

Younger generations may best know Don Cheadle from his work in the “Avengers” franchise, but his time as James Rhodes/War Machine is preceded by a lengthy film career. Cheadle’s other film credits include “Hotel Rwanda” and “The Guard.”

39 / 50
Frazer Harrison // Getty Images

#12. Anthony Daniels

- Domestic box office: $4.81 billion
- Average box office: $369.7 million
- Movies: 13

Originally a theater actor, Anthony Daniels met George Lucas and was cast as protocol droid C-3PO in “Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope” (the first film in the series). He wore both the droid suit and provided C-3PO’s voice, and has done so in almost all of the episodic films. Though playing the role of the legendary droid has provided both career and financial stability, it was one that Daniels did not originally want.

40 / 50
Carlos Alvarez // Getty Images

#11. Liam Neeson

- Domestic box office: $4.82 billion
- Average box office: $51.8 million
- Movies: 93

Liam Neeson has made a career out of tough-guy action roles in films like “Taken” and “The Commuter,” but his acting abilities go far beyond that genre. Neeson was nominated for his role in “Schindler’s List,” and also portrayed Alfred Kinsey in the 2004 film “Kinsey.” 

You may also like: The strange and beautiful worlds of Tim Burton movies

41 / 50
Kevin Winter // Getty Images

#10. Morgan Freeman

- Domestic box office: $5.12 billion
- Average box office: $58.8 million
- Movies: 87

Have you ever wished that Morgan Freeman could narrate your life? The vocally gifted actor is known for his work in “Se7en,” “Invictus,” and “Million Dollar Baby.” In 2018 Freeman was accused of sexual harassment by at least eight women. He responded to the allegations with an apology, saying it wasn't his intent to make anyone feel uncomfortable or disrespected.

42 / 50
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin // Getty Images

#9. Harrison Ford

- Domestic box office: $5.25 billion
- Average box office: $99.1 million
- Movies: 53

Harrison Ford is not just an incredibly successful and established actor, he’s also the man behind two of the most memorable film characters of all time: Indiana Jones and Han Solo. Outside of those two mega-franchises, Ford is still a force to be reckoned with, starring in movies like “The Fugitive” and “Witness.” Han Solo’s jacket, which had a pre-sale estimated price of up to $1.33 million, was up for auction in 2018.

43 / 50
Kevin Winter // Getty Images

#8. Tom Hanks

- Domestic box office: $5.30 billion
- Average box office: $84.1 million
- Movies: 63

One of America’s eternal nice guys, Oscar-winner Tom Hanks has won hearts in films like “Big,” “Forrest Gump,” and “Saving Private Ryan.” He is also the voice of the much-loved character Woody in "The Toy Story" film and its sequels. 

44 / 50
Mike Coppola // Getty Images

#7. Andy Serkis

- Domestic box office: $5.68 billion
- Average box office: $167 million
- Movies: 34

Known for his motion-capture performances, Andy Serkis has also voiced many computer-generated characters, including Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” and Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” He is also a successful director and author.

45 / 50
Jeff Spicer // Getty Images

#6. Warwick Davis

- Domestic box office: $5.93 billion
- Average box office: $247.1 million
- Movies: 24

Born with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, which caused dwarfism, British actor Warwick Davis did not let that slow him down. He played the lead Ewok Wicket in the 1983 film “Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi,” and has appeared in several “Harry Potter” films.

You may also like: Exploring minority representation in the biggest box office winners ever

46 / 50
Alberto E. Rodriguez // Getty Images

#5. Robert Downey, Jr.

- Domestic box office: $6.10 billion
- Average box office: $91 million
- Movies: 67

After time in rehab and a hiatus from acting, Robert Downey, Jr. returned with a vengeance—turning a “B-list Marvel character into the most bankable superhero in Hollywood.” The success of “Iron Man” was followed by roles in “Sherlock Holmes” and “Tropic Thunder,” and Downey continues to pull in not-too-shabby paychecks for all his work in the “Avengers” universe.

47 / 50
David Bohrer // Getty Images

#4. Bob Bergen

- Domestic box office: $6.29 billion
- Average box office: $106.6 million
- Movies: 59

With a career that began in the late '70s, Bob Bergen has voiced many popular characters in both television and film. He was the voice of Mogwai/Gremlins in the 1984 film “Gremlins,” Luke Skywalker in several video games, and Porky Pig.

48 / 50
Jason LaVeris // Getty Images

#3. John Ratzenberger

- Domestic box office: $7.09 billion
- Average box office: $141.8 million
- Movies: 50

Probably best known for his portrayal of postal carrier and stool-sitter Cliff Clavin on the popular television series “Cheers,” John Ratzenberger is also a successful voice actor. He is the only actor to have voiced a character in every Pixar animated feature film.

49 / 50
David Livingston // Getty Images

#2. Frank Welker

- Domestic box office: $7.46 billion
- Average box office: $66.6 million
- Movies: 112

Voice actor Frank Welker’s career has spanned five decades, and includes voicing the evil villain Dr. Claw from the animated show “Inspector Gadget.” He also has one of the longest-running voice acting roles in history, as Fred Jones from the “Scooby Doo” franchise since 1969. In 2002, he began voicing lovable canine Scooby as well.

50 / 50
Frazer Harrison // Getty Images

#1. Samuel L. Jackson

- Domestic box office: $11.43 billion
- Average box office: $82.8 million
- Movies: 138

Samuel L. Jackson comes in with one of the highest counts of leading roles, and in turn, one of the highest total box office earnings. The only person to appear in more Quentin Tarantino films than Tarantino himself, Jackson’s other memorable movies include “Iron Man” and “A Time to Kill.”

You may also like: Movie trivia for the top 100 films of all time

Trending Now