15 Actors Who Quit Or Were Fired Over A Denied Raise

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So many great characters have been killed off because the actor asked for a raise.

Advocating for yourself at work is important, and that includes your salary.


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Unfortunately, some people experience retaliation when they ask for a raise. Others take the denial as a sign that it’s time to move on.

It also extends to Hollywood. Actors — in both big roles and small ones — have had their requests for a pay bump denied.


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Sometimes, they’ve even lost their job over it. Other times, however, it’s the actor’s choice to leave a project when they feel their worth isn’t being recognized.

Here are 15 actors who quit or were fired after asking for more money:

1.

Terrence Howard — who had a three-picture deal with Marvel — played Rhodey/War Machine in Iron Man. However, during sequel negotiations, he was only offered 12.5% of the salary he’d initially been promised.


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On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, he said, “It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man…took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”


Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

He continued, “I called my friend — that I helped get the first job — and he didn’t call me back for three months.”

So, Howard left the project, and Don Cheadle took over the role.


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2.

Following the success of The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Hilary Duff was in negotiations with Disney for a sequel.


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Initially, Disney promised her a $500,000 bonus once the first movie made $50 million. However, Susan Duff wanted her daughter to receive the bonus immediately.


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Susan told Entertainment Weekly, “Disney thought they’d be able to bully us into accepting whatever offer they wanted to make, and they couldn’t.”

So, Disney chose to withdraw the entire offer for a sequel, costing Hilary the $4 million salary she would’ve had as well as the bonus.


Gregg Deguire / WireImage / Via Getty

Susan said, “Disney kept leaking stuff and using undisclosed sources. And because we didn’t say anything, it sounded like it was true. I thought it would run its course, but they kept coming at us. In my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine adults beating up on a 15-year-old kid in the papers like they have.”

3.

Valerie Harper starred as Valerie Hogan on the Lorimar Productions sitcom Valerie for two seasons.


Mario Casilli / TV Guide / ©Lorimar / courtesy Everett Collection

As the show’s ratings increased, she requested a pay raise to $100,000 per episode as well as 35% of the adjusted gross profits. Lorimar turned her down, so she stopped showing up for work.


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This tactic had been successful for her before. Prior to the second season of Rhoda, she got CBS to boost her weekly pay from $10,000 to $17,500 by refusing to work otherwise.

She returned to set when they compromised at $65,000 an episode and 12.5% of the profits. However, a week later, they fired her.


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Lorimar also sued her for breach of contract for $70 million. She countersued both Lorimar and NBC for damages, requesting $180 million.

She told People, “This is the worst thing that ever happened to me. I feel robbed and ripped off. There’s the feeling that Valerie Harper is this greedy, clutching actress. That’s a bald-faced lie.”

Her charges against NBC were dropped, but she was awarded $1.4 million in damages from Lorimar after the jury ruled she’d been wrongfully fired. She was also awarded 12.5% of the show’s profits.

The show was renamed Valerie’s Family and continued into the third season without her. Her character was killed off, and Sandy Duncan joined the cast as Sandy Hogan, Valerie’s sister-in-law.


Bonnie Schiffman / TV Guide /© NBC /Courtesy Everett Collection

For the next season, the show was renamed The Hogan Family.

4.

Grace Park played Officer Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons.


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Her salary was reportedly 10-15% lower than what her costars Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin received, so before the eighth season, she sought pay equity.


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However, when she and CBS were unable to reach an agreement, she decided to leave the show.


Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

5.

Park’s Hawaii Five-0 costar Daniel Dae Kim — who played Detective Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly for seven seasons — also sought equal pay with Caan and O’Loughlin, who also reportedly receive a percentage of the show’s profits.


Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

He, too, declined to return for the eighth season when his request for pay equity wasn’t met.


Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

In a Facebook post, he said, “Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.”

6.

Hugo Weaving played Johann Schmidt/Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also signed a three-picture deal with the promise that “the money would grow each time.”


Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo asked him to reprise the role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. However, the money they offered him was “much less than [he] got for the very first one, and this was for two films.”


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He told Time Out, “They said, ‘It’s just a voice job, it’s not a big deal.’ I actually found negotiating with them through my agent impossible. And I didn’t really wanna do it that much. But I would have done it.”

In the movies, Red Skull was recreated through CGI. Ross Marquand voiced him after filming, so they used stand-ins on set.

7.

Suzanne Somers played Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company for five seasons.


ABC courtesy Everett Collection

In 1980, she asked for her salary to be raised from $30,000 an episode to $150,000 so her pay would match what costar John Ritter made. However, ABC only offered a $5,000 raise.


ABC courtesy Everett Collection

She missed filming for the next season’s third and fourth episodes, but it was reportedly due to an old back injury.

The day before Somers and her husband/manager Alan Hamel went back to renegotiate, he got a call from a friend with connections at the network: “They’re going to hang a nun in the marketplace, and the nun is Suzanne.”


Harry Langdon / Getty Images

He told The Hollywood Reporter, “The network was will­ing to do this because earlier that year the women on Laverne & Shirley had gotten what they asked for, and they wanted to put a stop to it. They’d destroy the chemistry on Company to make a point.”

Somers was fired from the show, and Jenilee Harrison was brought in as Cindy Snow, Chrissy’s cousin.


ABC courtesy Everett Collection

Somers said, “Getting fired for asking for a raise wasn’t fair, but I landed on my feet, and I’ve done OK.”

8.

Lauren Cohan played Maggie Greene on The Walking Dead from 2011-2018.

After her first contract was up, it was time to renegotiation with AMC. She reportedly asked for equal pay with her male costars.


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“That’s pretty standard renegotiation,” she told SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live.

However, the negotiations left her feeling “in some ways surprised,” so she “took that, how baffled [she] was, and thought, ‘Okay, well that’s a sign. This is maybe just not a fit anymore.'”


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She told Entertainment Weekly, “To feel like we weren’t lining up in so many ways I just thought, “Okay, well, maybe that means something.”

When she left the show, however, she also left the door open for her character to return. In 2020, she returned, and she’s still there.


AMC / Via youtube.com

She told the Hollywood Reporter, “I knew [Maggie] was going to come back, we just didn’t know exactly when. I mentally always had her in a quadrant of my brain and soul. [Showrunner Angela Kang] and I just kept this conversation alive and flexible.”

9.

Robert Duvall played Tom Hagen in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.


Paramount Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

However, he didn’t return for The Godfather Part III because of how much more costar Al Pacino was paid.


Paramount Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

“I said I would work easily if they paid Pacino twice what they paid me, that’s fine. But not three or four times, which is what they did,” he told CBS.


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To account for his absence, The Godfather Part III revealed that his character died before the events of the movie.

10.

In 1996, Will Smith played Captain Steven Hiller in Independence Day.


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When director Roland Emmerich started proposing ideas for a sequel in 2011, Smith reportedly requested $50 million for a two-picture deal.


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In 2016, Emmerich finally made a sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. However, Smith wasn’t invited back “because he’s too expensive.” Liam Hemsworth played the new lead character.


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“He’d also be too much of a marquee name,” Emmerich told the Independent.

Smith’s character was killed off before the events of Independence Day: Resurgence.

11.

Maggie Roswell voiced Maude Flanders on The Simpsons from 1990-1999.


Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

She asked Fox to raise her salary from $1,500-$2,000 an episode to $6,000. However, Fox only offered her an extra $150 — which didn’t even cover her flights from her home in Denver to the recording studio in Los Angeles.


Cyrus Mccrimmon / Denver Post via Getty Images

She told the Los Angeles Times, “I wasn’t asking for what the other cast members make. I was just trying to recoup all the costs I had in travel. If they’d flown me in, I’d still be working.”

So, she quit, and Maude was killed off in the 2,000th episode “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily.”

However, in 2002, Roswell reached a deal with Fox. Since then, she’s been voicing Maude in flashbacks and as a ghost.

12.

Bruce Willis played Mr. Church in The Expendables and The Expendables 2.


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He was supposed to reprise the role in The Expendables 3. Reportedly, his initial salary was $3 million for four consecutive days on set in Bulgaria. However, the actor requested $4 million instead.


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Director Sylvester Stallone denied his request, so Willis dropped out of the movie. Within 72 hours, Harrison Ford was cast in his place.


Lions Gate / ©Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection

13.

Benicio del Toro was director J.J. Abrams’ first choice to play Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.


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Del Toro entered into talks with Paramount, but he ultimately passed on the deal because of money.


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The role went to Benedict Cumberbatch.


Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

14.

Jonah Hill was in talks to play the Riddler in The Batman.


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However, he reportedly asked for a $10 million salary — twice as much as the lead, Robert Pattinson, made.


Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Via Getty

He and Warner Bros. failed to reach a deal, and the role went to Paul Dano.


Jonathan Olley / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

15.

And finally, Tobey Maguire played Peter Parker in Spider-Man (2002), but he almost wasn’t in the sequel.


Sade Rosenthal / ©Columbia Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

He reportedly wanted to negotiate a higher salary for the sequel. During pre-production, Columbia felt the back problems he reported were actually a negotiation tactic.


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So, to keep the ball rolling, they recast him with Jake Gyllenhaal, who was also dating Maguire’s costar/ex-girlfriend Kirsten Dunst at the time.


Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Via Getty

However, Ron Meyer, the then-Vivendi Universal president and Maguire’s future father-in-law, helped him get the role back.


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He ultimately made $17 million for the sequel. 



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