The actors listed on this page didn’t graduate from high school. Some went on to earn their GED® diploma, some didn’t even do that.
Now, these are all celebrities that have established a considerable net worth.
So let’s take a look at the net worth of some of America’s best-known and iconic actors and actresses and their net worth.
Where applicable, the numbers are adjusted for inflation.
1. Tom Cruise, born on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York, is one of the best-paid actors in the world. Cruise has received many accolades for his acting work, including 3 Golden Globe Awards (for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, and Magnolia), and 3 nominations for Academy Awards.
Tom Cruise left high school prematurely to pursue a career as an actor in New York. He became an instant superstar after the release of the film Risky Business in 1983, and his performance in the 1986 action drama movie Top Gun established his status as a superstar even further. The net worth of Tom Cruise is estimated at some $6.9900 Million.
2. Robert De Niro, born on August 17, 1943, in New York City, quit high school prematurely to pursue a career as an actor. Robert is known for his roles under the direction of Martin Scorsese and he received numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, two Academy Awards, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award.
De Niro also received the Kennedy Center Honor Award in 2009 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 from Barack Obama. Robert De Niro starred in classic films such as The Godfather II, Casino, and Goodfellas. Robert De Niro’s net worth is an estimated $500 Million.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger, born on July 30, 1947, in Thal, Austria, quit high school early to become a professional bodybuilder. As of 2021, The Austrian-born actor is also an investor, producer, businessman, author, activist, philanthropist, politician. Schwarzenegger is famous for his 2 terms as Governor of California and his marriage to Maria Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family.
His breakthrough came with the release of the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian followed in 1984 by The Terminator and a number of Terminator sequels. He also received acclaim for his roles in successful action films such as the 1985 film Commando, the 1987 productions The Running Man and Predator, Total Recall in 1990, and True Lies, released in 1994, just to mention a few. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth is around $400 Million.
4. Keanu Reeves, born on September 2, 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon, is a Canadian actor who didn’t finish high school as he wanted to pursue a career as an actor. His first breakthrough role was in the 1989 science fiction film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), and he gained praise for his hustler role in the 1991 production My Own Private Idaho.
Reeves went on to perform action-hero roles in the 1991 film Point Break and Speed in 1994, and his role in the 1997 horror film The Devil’s Advocate. Reeves’s greatest stardom started in 1999 for his role as Neo in the science fiction trilogy The Matrix. Keanu Reeves’s net worth is estimated at $360 Million.
5. Robert Downey Jr., born on April 4, 1965, in New York City, didn’t complete his high school education but, instead, pursued a career as an actor. He is famed for playing Tony Stark (Iron Man) in 9 different films, and in 2008, he received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the comedy Tropic Thunder.
In 1992, Robert starred as Charlie Chaplin in the film Chaplin for which he was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor. Robert Downey Jr.’s net worth is estimated at $300 Million.
6. Nicole Kidman, born on June 20, 1967, in Honolulu, Hawaii, is an Australian citizen. Nicole Kidman quit high school prematurely to pursue a career as an actress. She won an Oscar for her role as Virginia Woolf in the film The Hours.
After Kidman’s breakthrough in 1989 with the miniseries Bangkok Hilton and the exciting thriller Dead Calm, she debuted in Hollywood alongside Tom Cruise in the film Days of Thunder. Nicole Kidman’s net worth is estimated to be around $250 Million. Kidman is one of the so many famous people that hold a GED rather than a high school diploma.
7. John Travolta, born on February 18, 1954, in Englewood, New Jersey, left his high school to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor. He has had an impressive career and starred in iconic films such as Pulp Fiction (directed by Quentin Tarantino, who also quit high school early), Grease, Urban Cowboy, Face/Off, and Saturday Night Fever. The actor and singer rose to fame in the 1970s as he appeared on the television sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.
Travolta was nominated for an Emmy, twice for an Academy Award, and has won a Golden Globe Award. In 2016, he received a Primetime Emmy Award for his work as a producer of the anthology series American Crime Story (subtitled The People vs. OJ Simpson). John Travolta’s net worth is estimated at around $250 Million.
8. Demi Moore, born on November 11, 1962, in Roswell, New Mexico, quit high school at age 16 to pursue an acting career. She received a number of accolades, including a Screen Actors Guild Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award, and she was nominated for the Critics’ Choice Movie Award.
In the 1990s, Demi Moore became one of the best-paid actresses of all time. It was reported that she was actually the first actress to get over $10 Million (12, to be exact) for her role in Striptease (1996). Her net worth is estimated at $200 Million.
9. Johnny Depp, born on June 9, 1963, in Owensboro, Kentucky, actually quit high school prematurely to pursue a career in the music industry. Johnny Depp’s first appearance as an actor was in the horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Depp received ten Golden Globe Award nominations, won one (for Best Actor) for his acting in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and was nominated 3 times for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Though in earlier days, Johnny Depp’s net worth was around $200 Million, it is now estimated at $150 Million. See also this post about famous musicians that have a GED instead of a high school diploma.
10. Cameron Diaz, born on August 30, 1972, in San Diego, California, is not only an actress but also a model, author, and producer. She appeared in a number of comedies and earned recognition for her roles in dramatic films. Cameron Diaz left Long Beach Polytech High School early after she received her first modeling contract.
Diaz received four Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for her role in the 1998 comedy There’s Something About Mary, the following for Spike Jonze’s 1999 surrealist fantasy Being John Malkovich, the 3rd one for her role in the 2001 film Vanilla Sky, and the 4th nomination for Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. Cameron Diaz’s net worth is estimated at $140 Million.
11. Marlon Brando, born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, left his high school prematurely to follow his sister to New York City, where they took acting lessons. Brando’s career spans more than six decades, and he received two Academy Awards for Best Actor.
Marlon Brando is recognized as one of the most influential and greatest actors in the 20th-century film industry. He died at the age of 80 in 2004. At the time he passed away, Marlon Brando’s net worth was an estimated $100 Million, which, when adjusted for inflation, would be around $130 Million today.
12. Al Pacino, born on April 25, 1940, in East Harlem, New York, has had an acting and filmmaking career that spans more than five decades. He has received many nominations and awards, including two Tony Awards, an Academy Award, and two Emmy Awards.
Al Pacino is one of very few performers that received the Triple Crown of Acting. He didn’t get good grades while in high school, and he quit school prematurely to pursue his acting dreams. Al Pacino’s net worth is estimated at $120 Million.
13. Clark Gable, born on February 1, 1901, in Cadiz, Ohio, quit high school at age 16 to work at a factory. The actor, who passed away in 1960, is often named the King of Hollywood as he performed in over 60 movies in multiple genres. Clark Gable’s extensive career lasted almost four decades.
He was among Hollywood’s most consistent box-office starts ever, and he appeared on the Quigley Publishing annual Top-10 Money-Making Stars Index no less than 16 times. The American Film Institute named Gable the 7th-greatest male movie star in classic American cinema films. Adjusted for inflation, Clark Gable’s net worth was an estimated $100 Million at the time.
14. Humphrey Bogart, born on December 25, 1899, in New York City, was thrown out of high school because of his bad behavior at the age of 15. He joined the Navy before finally starting a career as an actor. Bogart (nicknamed Bogey) was (and still is) one of America’s best-known film and stage actors.
Bogart is famous for his roles in so many classical Hollywood films that even today, he is a true cultural icon. The American Film Institute named Humphrey Bogart the greatest male star in the world of classic American cinema films in 1999. Bogart, who died in 1957, received an Academy Award in 1951 for Best Actor in The African Queen. Bogart’s net worth is estimated at $10 Million at the time of his death. Corrected for inflation, that would have been now an estimated $95 Million.
15. Whoopi Goldberg, born on November 13, 1955, in Chelsea, New York, left high school before graduation because she thought it was too hard. Later in her life, she was diagnosed with dyslexia, but in those days, that was undiagnosed.
The highly acclaimed television personality, actress, and comedienne received numerous accolades, including a Grammy, an Emmy, a Tony, and an Academy Award. She also received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in The Color Purple. Whoopi Goldberg’s net worth is estimated at around $6.990 Million. Check out also this page about GED classes for people with learning disabilities.
16. Michael J. Fox, born on June 9, 1961, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, left high school prematurely to start an acting career. As a young actor, he received acclaim for his roles in Teen Wolf, Family Ties, and the trilogy Back to the Future. In the 1990s, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and founded his foundation to help fund more research.
Fox retired as an actor in 2020 due to his deteriorating health. He won many accolades, including 4 Golden Globe Awards, 5 Primetime Emmy Awards, 2 Screen Actors Guild’s Awards, and a Grammy, and in 2002, he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Michael J. Fox’s net worth is an estimated $56 Million.
17. Nicolas Cage, born on January 7, 1964, in Long Beach, California, started his acting career in 1982. His uncle is Francis Ford Coppola, the famous director of the film The Godfather. Cage received nominations for various major cinematic awards, and he won a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award (for Leaving Las Vegas).
Cage quit high school prematurely to join his family in the film-making business. Though at one time, it was much higher, over $100 Million, after he had earned at least $200 Million from acting in movies alone, Nicholas Cage’s net worth is now estimated at around $25 million.
18. Christina Applegate, born on November 25, 1971, in Los Angeles, California, quit high school at the age of 16 to pursue an acting career and soon became a celebrity for her performance as Kelly Bundy on the sitcom Married… with Children.
Applegate went on to establish a successful career in the film and television industry and won a Primetime Emmy Award. She also was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award as well as a Tony Award. Christina Applegate’s net worth is estimated at around $25 Million.
19. Charlie Sheen, born on September 3, 1965, in New York City as Carlos Irwin Estévez, was sent off from his high school just before graduation due to poor attendance and low grades.
Sheen earned a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Charlie Crawford for Best Actor, and he received several Emmy Awards and Golden Globe nominations for his role as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Today, Charlie Sheen’s net worth is an estimated $10 million, but around a decade ago, this figure was significantly higher.
20. Marilyn Monroe, born on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, was besides an actress also a model and singer. She was known for playing comedic and typical “blonde bombshell” roles, and she was a popular sex symbol of the 50s and early 60s, the era of the sexual revolution.
Marilyn Monroe, then called Norma Jean Baker, left high school early at the age of 16. In 1959, she won a Best Actress Golden Golden Globe for her performance in Some Like It Hot. She died at the age of only 36 in 1962. Marilyn Monroe’s net worth, adjusted for inflation, was around $10 Million.