There is no denying that The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows to ever hit television screens. Thanks to twisting storylines, epic action, and creepy zombie-like creatures, the series has earned critical acclaim, its fair share of industry awards, and countless fans. Granted, one of the other aspects of the show that makes it so watchable is the stellar acting from its rather sizable and incredibly talented cast.
As Insider noted, “The Walking Dead cast may be covered in blood, dirt, and guts while fending off zombie herds in the apocalypse,” but that’s apparently exactly what fans want to see from the stars of the show. On top of that, Insider pointed out that “in real life they clean up pretty well,” which may be because the cast members are doing pretty darn well for themselves.
Frankly, some of these actors have the kind of enviable fortunes that most people would be thrilled to have. And yet there are others who have a decent amount of money in the bank, but quite possibly a lot less than you expected. Read on to find out who is who and exactly how much the stars of The Walking Dead are worth.
The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira creates her 'own opportunities'
Danai Gurira’s performance as the katana-carrying Michonne on The Walking Dead is a cut above the rest. But before she was slicing up zombies, Gurira got her start on the stage in a two-woman play called In the Continuum, which she starred in and co-wrote while earning rave reviews. As she told Rolling Stone, “I believe in creating my own opportunities.”
Since then, Gurira has had roles in The Visitor, Mother of George, and, of course, played Okoye, leader of the Wakanda King’s army, in Marvel’s Black Panther. The film became “the third highest-grossing film domestically of all time,” according to Time, and earned over $700 million domestically, as well as over $1.3 billion worldwide. Beyond that, Gurira has worked on the HBO miniseries Americanah, with Entertainment Weekly noting that “the Tony-nominated playwright … not only work[ed] on the script for the series, she [would] also be acting as the showrunner for the project.”
As if Gurira’s acting gigs haven’t kept her busy enough, she has also created Love Our Girls, a website which Gurira says helps to “giv[e] a voice to women and girls across the world,” and is the co-founder of Almasi Arts Alliance. When talking about what’s on the horizon, Gurira told the Los Angeles Times, “I have a lot of things I want to get to. It’s about what’s sitting most prominently on my heart at that time.” Following her heart is what’s earned Gurira $4 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Lauren Cohan's TWD cast member urged AMC to 'pay the woman'
When Lauren Cohan’s character, Maggie Greene, turned up on the second season of The Walking Dead, the farm girl-turned-Hilltop boss quickly became a fan favorite for her take-control kind of attitude. Granted, Cohan has also earned fans thanks to roles in Young Alexander the Great, Casanova, Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj, Mile 22, and Whiskey Cavalier.
In 2018, during contract negotiations with AMC regarding her future with TWD, The Hollywood Reporter claimed “that Cohan [was] actively looking for her next job and not trying to use the pilot casting process to force AMC’s hand as the actress’ camp remain[ed] frustrated by AMC’s lowball offers.” It came to a point where fellow cast member Khary Payton, who plays King Ezekiel on TWD, took to Instagram to post: “Pay the woman.” Cohan cleared up the situation with Andy Cohen on Radio Andy, saying, “In a time of parity in the industry and in my show, it wasn’t actually that I was asking more, it’s just my contract finished, so that’s pretty standard renegotiation.”
When talking about her future endeavors, Cohan told Cohen, “It’s … time for me to explore comedy and happier fare.” Although acting seems to be the main source of income for Cohan, she has been a part of many TWD panels at conventions like the San Diego Comic-Con in order to boost her fortune to $4 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.
Christian Serratos went from a vampire movie to a zombie show
While some Disney stars become pop singers, Christian Serratos went on to play the role of former soldier Rosita Espinosa on The Walking Dead. After starting her career with roles on the Nickelodeon show Zoey 101, as well as Disney’s Hannah Montana and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, she also spent time on the series, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and the popular Twilight Saga films. In Twilight, Serratos played Angela Weber, the spectacle-wearing teenager who was friends with the main moody vampire-lover, Bella. According to Forbes, the franchise included “five movies in four years with a combined budget of $373 million which earned a total of $3.341 billion worldwide.”
Beyond that, Serratos took on the role of the iconic Selena Quintanilla, who Oprah Magazine noted “remains not only one of the most beloved,” but was also “one of the most successful Mexican-American artists to date.” In Selena: The Series, which was released in 2020, Serratos both acted in the show while also acting as a producer.
When it comes to roles that will present a challenge — and surely significant paychecks — such as telling the Selena story, Serratos told the Los Angeles Times, “There was that moment where I thought: ‘Do I want this pressure?'” Apparently, the answer was yes, and it definitely seems to have paid off. How much exactly? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Serratos has a cool $2 million.
Josh McDermitt says The Walking Dead cast can't even grasp how big it is
Josh McDermitt plays the mullet-clad smartypants, Eugene Porter, on The Walking Dead. But before he joined the realm of the undead, he actually worked primarily in comedy, making appearances on Make a Hot Girl Laugh and Retired at 35, while also becoming a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing. In an interview with Vibe, McDermitt recalled his early struggles and how he “didn’t work for eighteen months,” until he told his agent “to start sending [him] out for stuff on the dramatic side.” He added, “[TWD] was literally the first thing I went out for.”
When McDermitt talked to Icon vs. Icon about TWD and its impact on the world, he explained, “We think we understand the magnitude of it and then we really don’t. It is such a huge show and has such a huge fan base that is rabid and crazy.”
That’s why it’s not surprising that McDermitt’s income is mainly generated from acting. But if gigs dry up, he could always fall back on being a hot air balloon pilot. He explained to Vibe, “A lot of people think it’s fake but that’s a real thing. A lot of families have like a boat or ATVs or whatever, we’re a weird family. We had a hot air balloon.” With a net worth of $4 million, he can probably afford to keep his head out of the clouds.
Seth Gilliam would make 'a lot more money' if his TWD character was nicer
Seth Gilliam plays the role of Father Gabriel Stokes on The Walking Dead, but you might also recognize him from his stints on shows like Oz, The Wire, and Teen Wolf. Beyond that, he’s had a successful career in the theatre, with credits that include The Maids, Girl Gone, and King Lear.
According to the University of Houston, “Gilliam’s first love is the stage, and the works of Shakespeare factor significantly into his resume.” In fact, back “in 1990, his first professional role just after graduating from State University of New York at Purchase was playing Prince Edward in Richard III (opposite Denzel Washington as the title character).” Um, no big deal. No stranger to the big screen, either, Gilliam had parts in productions such as The People v. Larry Frank, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, and The Great New Wonderful.
While Gilliam clearly makes his money through his various acting roles, he’s also been known to be on panels for comic conventions. However, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he noted, “As far as conventions go, I would be making a lot more money out of them if I was a lovable character. But I get some great conversations out of it. I could talk about acting all day long, so for me, it’s alright.” Loveable character or not, Gilliam has earned $1.5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Steven Yeun has stayed busy since leaving The Walking Dead
Steven Yeun is known for his role as Glenn Rhee on The Walking Dead, and in 2016, Forbes made an estimated “guess” that he was taking in “$60,000 an episode.” While that isn’t the kind of payday that anyone is likely eager to leave behind, he has been able to stay busy after his TWD role came to a swinging end in Season 7. Since then, he’s had parts in Okja, Sorry to Bother You, and Mayhem, and voice work on 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, Final Space, Wizards, and Tuca & Bertie.
Yeun also earned acclaim for his work as Jacob in 2020’s Minari, with Insider noting that he nabbed a best actor nomination at the 2021 SAG Awards. He told Complex, “I’m happy that I, personally, am not boxed into a stereotypical understanding of the things that I can be.”
According to Deadline, the star “signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios” in 2020, noting that “under the pact, Yeun will work with the studio to develop and produce television series targeted for premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.” The actor-producer explained, “I feel very fortunate and privileged in these times to be given an opportunity to tell more stories.” With more work on the horizon and more stories to tell, it looks like Yeun will have no trouble adding to his fortune, which already sits at $4 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
TWD's Sonequa Martin-Green is making both history and money
Sonequa Martin-Green plays Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead, a character that made her first appearance in Season 3. But that was not the role Martin-Green originally auditioned for, as she was originally up for the part of Michonne, which went to co-star Danai Gurira. Martin-Green told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s very rare and I’m still quite dumbfounded about it but Glen [former showrunner] and I hit it off and I still appreciate him. He wanted to work with me and wrote Sasha for me. I did not come back in to audition, he said it was my role.”
Prior to dodging and destroying the undead, Martin-Green has had roles on shows like Gossip Girl, NYC 22, Once Upon a Time, and The Good Wife. Beyond that, while she left TWD in 2018, she joined the Star Trek universe, thanks to her starring role as Commander Michael Burnham on Star Trek: Discovery. According to Shondaland, when Martin-Green “took on the role … she made history as the first Black lead at the helm of one of the biggest franchises this side of the galaxy.”
Martin-Green’s success continues to reach the stars with an estimated net worth of $2 million.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan used to barely be able to pay his rent
You may recognize Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Walking Dead‘s Negan, the brutal leader of the Saviors. However, he’s also appeared on Watchmen, P.S. I Love You, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, and The Good Wife.
When Morgan isn’t banking on acting, he’s trying to add to his wealth with sweets. That’s because the star, his wife and One Tree Hill alum, Hilarie Burton, and fellow actor Paul Rudd pitched in together to help Samuel’s Sweet Shop survive in Rhinebeck, NY. The new co-owners “stepped in to save the shop from closing” after the original owner, Ira Gutner, died in 2014, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Morgan explained, “We just didn’t want it to turn into a smoothie stand or something.”
In an interview with Moves, Morgan recalled his time before he landed some of his bigger roles — or owned a candy store — saying he would tell himself, “I can barely pay my rent, and I don’t know what the f**k I’ve gotten into. I’ve got no education, and I’ve put all my eggs in this one stupid basket.” Fortunately for him, things turned around and he now has $10 million to his name, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
TWD's Chandler Riggs makes money from more than just acting
Chandler Riggs plays the role of young Carl Grimes on The Walking Dead. However, that’s not the only acting he’s done. His other roles include work in Get Low, Only, Inherit the Viper, and on A Million Little Things. He hasn’t appeared on TWD since 2018, but when thinking about future acting gigs, Riggs told Geek Tyrant in 2020, “I’m a big fan of heavy, dramatic, and emotional things. But it’s also fun doing lighter things here and there. But really, I’d like to break into any genre I can and just try it all out.”
He may also want to consider what each role pays. That’s because he’s used to making a lot. In fact, Riggs “likely [made] around $30,000 per episode” of TWD, according to Comicbook. Riggs, who has been acting since he was seven years old, also earns extra cash as an EDM musician who goes by the name Eclipse. According to EDM.com, he “is an accomplished EDM producer,” who’s “releas[ed] music on Steve Aoki’s famed Dim Mak Records imprint.” No big deal.
When he’s not acting or spinning beats, Riggs has a YouTube channel, where fans and gamers can watch the former TWD star play his favorite video games, like Grand Theft Auto and The Last of Us. For all of his endeavors at such a young age, Riggs has managed to rack up an impressive net worth of $8 million.
Andrew Lincoln made a fortune from The Walking Dead
British actor Andrew Lincoln — whose acting gigs include work in Teachers, Love Actually, Afterlife, and Strike Back — plays the lead role of Officer Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. In 2016, ScreenRant reported that he was making a “cool $90,000 per episode.” He’s also been a part of a number of “top” conventions, where, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s not uncommon for a star to earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 on top of their guarantee (more if they spend extra time signing).” However, Lincoln doesn’t necessarily take his pay home, as THR also noted that he’s known to “donate his proceeds to charity.”
When talking about his TWD character to Forbes, Lincoln explained, “As an actor, it’s a wonderful opportunity to play somebody who starts at one place and in every season ends in another place. He reinvents himself. And re-evaluates everything.” That’s perhaps why he was willing to return for a Walking Dead movie after leaving the show in 2018. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple told Entertainment Weekly, “It is really important for the audience to know that we are going to be continuing to tell the story of Rick Grimes in these AMC Studios original films.”
With more TWD-related opportunities out there, Lincoln will surely add to his existing fortune that sits at $16 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Melissa McBride went from casting director to millionaire
Melissa McBride has played the cold and calculated Carol Peletier on The Walking Dead since Season 1, and is one of the “the longest-running cast members,” according to Comicbook. In 2018, The Hollywood Reporter noted that McBride signed a deal with AMC, “which is said to include a sizable pay bump, [and would] see the actress score an estimated $20 million over three years.” After The Walking Dead Season 11 finale, McBride’s character would live on with a Daryl and Carol stand-alone show with Norman Reedus. And to really bank off of the success of TWD, McBride has been known to ride the fan expo circuit, with appearances at the New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic-Con.
Before TWD, McBride had early acting credits that included work on Matlock, In the Heat of the Night, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Dawson’s Creek. She’s also been in films like The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, The Mist, and The Reconstruction of William Zero. On top of that, the actor used to work as a casting director. When talking about the experience, McBride told Geek Chic Elite, “I like to be in hyperfocus mode and casting was that for me at the time, just the pace of it. I got to experience a lot of what I enjoy while casting.”
That focus and hard work have helped McBride amass a $3 million fortune, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus used to live 'off $12 a month'
Known as The Walking Dead‘s hog-riding-crossbow-slinging tough guy, Daryl Dixon, Norman Reedus actually has a diverse resume that helps keep his pockets full. He’s had roles in Blade II, Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, and Mimic, while also popping up in music videos for Sleater-Kinney, Lady Gaga, and Björk. Reedus was also given the opportunity to host a motorcycle travel show, Ride with Norman Reedus. As for TWD, his character would live on after the series’ end in 2021 with a stand-alone spinoff series.
In 2018, Reedus locked in with the TWD universe and was set to reportedly “make $350,000 per episode on top of additional guarantees and advances in a deal that sources say could be worth anywhere from $50 million to $90 million,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. There have also been opportunities for lucrative convention appearances, such as the San Diego Comic-Con, where “sought-after stars includ[ing] Reedus [can] easily … command a $200,000 guarantee and pocket $500,000 per weekend,” per THR. On top of that, he’s released four photography books: Sun’s Coming Up Like a Big Bald Head, Thanks for all the Niceness, Norman Reedus Postcard Series: Vol. 1, and Portraits from the Woods.
While Reedus might be successful nowadays, he recalled his early struggles to CNBC, saying, “I’ve lived off $12 a month for probably a good portion of my life.” Those days are far behind him now, as Celebrity Net Worth reports that he has a whopping $25 million.
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