In the race to the top of the Hollywood heap, money and power go hand in hand. Anyone hoping to win, place, or show relies on both to get them across the finish line. Based on various reports, here’s a sampling of Tinseltown’s payday prize-winners and pacesetters.


KELSEY GRAMMER $38 million-plus per year for Frasier (more than $1.6 million per episode; 24-episode season; through 2003- 04)

MIKE MYERS $25 million against 21 percent of the gross for cowriting, producing, and starring in Austin Powers in Goldmember

BRUCE WILLIS $22.5 million for Hart’s War

MICHAEL CRICHTON $40 million two-book deal with HarperCollins

NICOLAS CAGE $20 million for Windtalkers

TOMMY LEE JONES $20 million for Men in Black II

WHITNEY HOUSTON More than $100 million for a new multialbum deal with Arista

MARIAH CAREY More than $100 million for a four-album deal with Virgin

MARTIN LAWRENCE $20 million for National Security; $20 million for a Blue Streak sequel

LEONARDO DICAPRIO $20 million for Gangs of New York

$15-19 MILLION

RAY ROMANO $19 mil-plus per year for Everybody Loves Raymond

BRAD PITT Around $18 million for Spy Game

DAVID CHASE More than $15 million to exec-produce a fifth season of The Sopranos

RICHARD GERE $15 million for Unfaithful; $15 million for The Mothman Prophecies

RUSSELL CROWE $15 million for A Beautiful Mind

DREW CAREY Up to $19.5 mil per year for The Drew Carey Show ($600,000- $750,000 per episode; 26-episode season; through 2003-04)

$10-14 MILLION

MATT DAMON $10 million for The Bourne Identity, but he (along with others in the cast) took a one-third pay cut for Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11

BEN AFFLECK $12.5 million for Gigli, up from $10 million for The Sum of All Fears

VIN DIESEL More than $11 mil for Pitch Black: The Chronicles of Riddick; $10 mil for XXX

JET LI $10 mil-per-film Miramax deal, including a Tibetan-monk action comedy

GWYNETH PALTROW $10 million for View From the Top

BARRY LEVINSON $10 million to direct Bandits


NOAH WYLE Around $9 million per year for ER, through 2003-04

EDWARD NORTON Around $6.5 million for the early Hannibal Lecter tale Red Dragon

PATRICIA HEATON $6 million-plus per year for Everybody Loves Raymond

THE ROCK $5.5 million for The Scorpion King

REESE WITHERSPOON $4-5 million for Sweet Home Alabama

MARY HART More than $5 million annually to host Entertainment Tonight for five more years

COLIN FARRELL $5 million for The Farm


BILL O’REILLY An average of more than $4 million annually to host Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor for six years

ROB LOWE and MARTIN SHEEN Around $2.2 million each per year for The West Wing (around $100,000 per episode; 22-episode season)