We’ve seen them starring in our favourite films and TV shows, and child actors can pocket a pretty penny thanks to a rare combination of talent and cuteness. For these 20 child actors, Hollywood success has resulted in paycheques most people can only dream about — and all before they’re able to obtain a driver’s license.
20. Gary Coleman
Net worth: $75,000$100,000 per episode
Gary Coleman was one of television’s most beloved stars before he turned 11 thanks to his role as Arnold “Watchootalkinbout” Jackson on hit NBC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, earning one of TV’s biggest salaries while most kids his age had paper routes. After the show ended, the acting roles grew sparse as Coleman grew older. He soon discovered his parents had spent the millions he earned, leading him to sue them and ultimately declare bankruptcy. Despite being one of the biggest TV stars of the 1980s, Coleman’s net worth was estimated at just $75,000 when he passed away 2010 at age 42.
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19. ‘Stranger Things’ Kids
Net worth: $2-$4 million$150,000-$350,000 per episode
Following news that Netflix has renewed supernatural hit Stranger Things for a fourth season, a report in USA Today states that Millie Bobby Brown (who plays Eleven) earns a hefty $350,000 per episode, with the other child stars on the show earning between $150,000-$250,000. The success of the show has led to other projects for the young actors; Brown, for example, had a role in Godzilla: King of the Monsters while Canada’s own Finn Wolfhard is one of the stars of blockbuster It Chapter Two, adding additional income.
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18. Atticus Shaffer
Net worth: $4 million$12,000 per episode
Best known for playing youngest Heck child, Brick, on ABC sitcom The Middle, actor Atticus Shaffer starred in all nine seasons, ultimately earning $12K per episode until the series ended in 2018. Now aged 20, Shaffer also does a lot of work as a voice actor in film and TV.
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17. Tyler James Williams
Net worth: $5 million$250,000 per episode
Cast as a young Chris Rock in the comedian’s quasi-autobiographical sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, child actor Tyler James Williams became the youngest person ever, at age 14, to win an NAACP Image Award. By the end of the show’s four-season run, he was reportedly earning a salary of a quarter-million per episode. Now 22, subsequent acting gigs have included roles on such series as Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, The Walking Dead and Whiskey Cavalier.
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16. Keke Palmer
Net worth: $7.5 million$20,000 per episode
Keke Palmer was already a successful child actor when she was cast as the 15-year-old vice president of a corporation in the Nickelodeon sitcom True Jackson, VP, which ran from 2008 until 2011. Her salary of $20,000 per episode made her the fifth-highest paid child actor at the time.
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15. Miranda Cosgrove
Net worth: $10 million$180,000 per episode
Nickelodeon comedy iCarly was a massive hit with the tween set, resulting in star Miranda Cosgrove raking in a hefty salary of $180,000 per episode during the series’ run from 2007 until 2012.
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14. ‘Modern Family’ Kids
Net worth: $12-$14 million$100,000 per episode
The massive success of Modern Family led the ensemble cast to receive big raises as the show continued, with the sitcom’s child actors receiving big salary bumps — from a reported $20K per episode to more than $100K.
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13. Macaulay Culkin
Net worth: $15 million
One of Hollywood’s biggest stars before the age of 10 thanks to the success of Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin earned the somewhat modest salary of $100,000 for the classic holiday hit. However, the film’s success drove his asking price up significantly; he earned a cool $1 million for his role in My Girl and an even heftier $4.5 million for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. And while his later movies didn’t achieve the success of his earlier films, Culkin’s paycheques went through the roof for Getting Even With Dad and Richie Rich, for which he earned $8 million apiece.
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12. Angus T. Jones
Net worth: $15 million$300,000 per episode
Before his spectacular public flameout, Charlie Sheen was pulling in a staggering $1.8 million per episode for Two and a Half Men, TV’s highest-paid star on what was then television’s most popular sitcom. Thanks to the Hollywood trickle-down effect, the show’s titular “half man” Angus T. Jones likewise saw his salary rise, earning a not-too-shabby $300K/episode.
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11. Dylan and Cole Sprouse
Net worth: $16 million$15,000 per episode
Stars of Disney Channel hit The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, twin brothers Dylan and Cole Sprouse were living a pretty sweet life themselves, each bringing in $20K per episode during the sitcom’s three hit seasons.
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10. Abigail Breslin
Net worth: $16 million
Abigail Breslin was already a Hollywood veteran when, at age 10, she received an Oscar nomination for Little Miss Sunshine, boosting her asking price to $2 million for her starring roles in Nim's Island and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. At age 15, Breslin was famously paid $275,000 for one week’s work on the big-screen comedy New Year’s Eve.
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9. Shirley Temple
Net worth: $30 million
One of Hollywood’s most popular stars when she was barely out of diapers, Shirley Temple made Hollywood history when she signed a deal with 20th Century Fox in 1936 to be paid the then-unheard of sum of $50,000 per picture. Adjusted for inflation, this translates to more than $922,000 in 2019 dollars. She was seven.
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8. Demi Lovato
Net worth: $33 million$12,000 per episode
Thanks to appearing in Disney Channel’s hit franchise Camp Rock, Demi Lovato was paid $12,000 per episode for her sitcom Sonny With a Chance during its two-season run. Her asking price rose significantly as her pop stardom grew, subsequently earning a reported $1 million to be a judge on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor at age 19.
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7. Frankie Munoz
Net worth: $40 million$120,000 per episode
Malcolm and the Middle was one of the Fox network’s biggest shows during its seven-season run from 2000-2006, and led star Frankie Munoz to land a big raise, boosting his salary from an initial $30,000 to $120,000 an episode by the time the series ended.
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6. Rupert Grint
Net worth: $50 million
Appearing in one of Hollywood’s biggest-ever film franchises can be very good for the bank account. Just ask Rupert Grint, who began playing Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films when he was just 11. His net worth is currently estimated at $50M, largely from the income he earned from the franchise’s eight blockbuster movies.
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5. Selena Gomez
Net worth: $50 million$30,000 per episode
Acting since age 10, Selena Gomez began her career on wildly popular children’s series Barney and Friends, for which she reportedly earned $3,000 per episode. By the time she was a teenager starring in Disney Channel’s The Wizards of Waverly Place, she was earning $30K per episode — which is peanuts compared to what she’s raking in now as one of pop music’s hottest young stars.
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4. Emma Watson
Net worth: $80 million
According to reports, Emma Watson earned a staggering $60 million for her role as Hermione Granger in eight Harry Potter movies. And while she hasn’t been able to command that kind of payday for her subsequent roles, she’s not doing too badly; in addition to an upfront fee of $3 million for playing Belle in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, Watson also brought in an additional $15M in back-end profits thanks to the film’s success at the box office.
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3. Daniel Radcliffe
Net worth: $110 million
Playing the title role in eight Harry Potter movies left star Daniel Radcliffe financially set for life and then some at an age when most people are wondering what they’re going to do with their lives. As the films’ popularity grew, so too did his salary. In the first film, he was paid just $145,000, which increased to $3 million for the second one. This was doubled to $6 million for the third film, and $11 million for the fourth. By the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, his salary bumped up to $14 million; for the final two films, he was reportedly paid $20 million for each. And while that may sound like a lot, consider that the eight Potter films have brought in a staggering $8.6 billion at the box office.
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2. Miley Cyrus
Net worth: $160 million$15,000 per episode
Arguably the Disney Channel’s most popular show, Hannah Montana made a star out of youngster Miley Cyrus, who was pulling in $15,000 per episode when she was just 11. Extra income came in from the success of her album, Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, which was certified triple platinum and reportedly earned in excess of $10 million. Now that she’s a bona fide pop star, Cyrus’ net worth is currently estimated at being approximately $160 million.
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1. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
Net worth: $400 million$80,000 per episode
Twin sisters Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were just nine months old when they began sharing the role of Michelle Tanner on ABC sitcom Full House, for which they shared a salary of $2,400 per episode. This eventually increased to $25,000 per episode; by the time the show ended its eight-season run, the Olsen twins were being paid $80,000 per episode. In addition, the shrewd siblings launched a successful line of straight-to-video movies and merchandising projects, including a kids’ fashion line, that raked in millions more. These days, the sisters are bona fide fashion moguls, with their haute couture brand The Row generating $50 million in sales each year.
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