Some stars still make a decent salary from their early roles. Others (like Drake for ‘Degrassi’) not so much.
Starring in “A Christmas Story” has been the gift that keeps on giving.
Zack Ward, who played bully Scut Farkus, told Page Six he’s still getting paid for the 1983 holiday classic. “It’s basically about $1,800 every two years … and it comes in in Canadian money because we shot in Canada,” said Ward, who puts the royalties into an emergency fund for his mom.
And the 46-year-old still dabbles in acting around L.A., starring in the most recent season of “American Horror Story” and the Keanu Reeves show “Swedish Dicks” while also working with All Sports Market and Global Sports Financial Exchange.
“It’s incredible to be a part of something [like ‘A Christmas Story’] that is lightning in a bottle like that,” he added, noting fans also buy him beer and give him hugs.
He’s not the only actor still profiting from a childhood project. Last March, Drake received a check for $8.25, allegedly “Degrassi money,” which he shared on Instagram.
The Canadian actor-turned rapper that Forbes listed as the world’s fifth-wealthiest hip hop artist, with a net worth of $90 million, played basketball star Jimmy Brooks in the drama series “Degrassi: The Next Generation” from 2001 to 2007. Our favorite TV shows may be temporary, but their profits are forever.
It might seem crazy that Drake still gets paid — even if it’s less than $10 a check — from something he did a decade ago, but many actors still receive residual payments for really old roles. And some of them make even less than Drake does now for “Degrassi.”
Mayim Bialik, “Doogie Howser, M.D.”
Doctors make it rain. Actors on doctor shows, not so much. Mayim Bialik, known for playing starring roles in “Blossom” and “The Big Bang Theory,” made a guest appearance on “Doogie Howser, M.D.” alongside a young Neil Patrick Harris, in September, 1990. And almost 27 years later, she’s still getting royalty checks for the episode. The sum? A whopping one cent.
Stephen Hibbert, “Pulp Fiction”
Stephen Hibbert of “National Treasure” and “Austin Powers” found his breakout role in the least glamorous of places: that of a bondage slave in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” Hibbert told Vulture that 10 years after the movie’s release, he still gets royalty checks for around $3. “I get to buy a latte on ‘Pulp Fiction!’” he boasted.
Others, of course, make bank for royalties — even for shows and films long off the air.
The Cast of “Friends”
NBC’s beloved sitcom ended in 2004, but there’s no end in sight for its revenue. As of February 2015, Warner Bros. still makes $1 billion each year on the episode, which means Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and company are each each still raking in $20 million annually for their breakout roles. “I get a little something and I go ‘Hey, that’s nice!’” Matthew Perry modestly told ET about his residual checks.
Bob Gunton, “The Shawshank Redemption”
In 2004, 10 years after “The Shawshank Redemption’s” release, Bob Gunton was still receiving “close to six figures” annually for his iconic portrayal of the warden. He makes significantly less now, but told the Wall Street Journal “My daughter, years from now, will still be getting checks.”
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”
Charlie Sheen was fired from his role in “Two and a Half Men” in 2011, but Warner Bros. couldn’t cut the cash flow. He makes $613,000 each month from residual payments, according to DailyMail. This, of course, didn’t stop the highest-paid TV actor at the time from demanding a 50% increase in his salary.
This story was originally published on July 24, 2017, and has been updated with Zach Ward.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved