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Why we keep hearing about once-famous TV actors in financial trouble

Just because actors superstar in reruns doesn’t mean they’re cashing big tests.

Two actors from vintage presentations had been in the headlines in fresh days as a result of their respective cash woes. Geoffrey Owens, who performed Bill Cosby’s son-in-law in “The Cosby Show,” was photographed bagging groceries at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s, and Dawn Wells, who performed Mary Ann in “Gilligan’s Island,” requested her fans for monetary assistance as a result of scientific bills and funding losses.

Fans and critics took to social media in either one of these instances wondering how this might occur, making an allowance for they starred on primary sitcoms. But just because actors appear in reruns or are still as regards to the hearts of fans world wide doesn’t mean they’re rolling in residuals. Television actors get these royalty tests on every occasion the presentations they gave the impression in are proven on TV. Not all actors are entitled to these paychecks and, even when they do get a reduce, it doesn’t always quantity to a lot.

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Wells was as soon as rumored to be the only ‘Gilligan’s Island’ castaway to get royalty tests, however she has since mentioned that’s now not true. In an interview with Forbes mag in 2016, the actress mentioned it was a misconception that the solid contributors must all be wealthy. “We didn’t in reality get a dime,” she mentioned. The show’s author and producer, Sherwood Schwartz, who died in 2011, made up to $90 million on the reruns, she added.

However, Schwartz’s daughter Hope Juber disputes that estimate and says the $90 million estimate an city fantasy. “While he, and my family have been no doubt comfortable, that more or less wild estimate is ridiculous and sudden,” she wrote in an electronic mail to MarketWatch. She mentioned her father made his personal deal with the studio similar to the solid contributors, however now not for that more or less cash. “If there may be $90 million, it must be buried in a chest on the island someplace because we’ve by no means noticed it,” she added.

Similarly, high-profile actors who are entitled to residuals in more recent presentations most probably gained’t get as much as many fans might suppose. Rapper Drake, who performed a basketball player in the mid-2000s teen television show “Degrassi,” posted a picture of his residuals paycheck on Instagram FB, +0.70% remaining year. It was $eight.25. Mayim Bialik, who stars in “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS CBS, -1.53% however gained a net pay of one cent for her visitor appearance in “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” in line with a put up on her Instagram account.

Residuals are in response to how a lot time the actor spent on production and the place it’s proven, in line with the Screen Actors Guild. When TV presentations are syndicated, actors can expect their paychecks 4 months after air date. For basic cable, it’s most often quarterly. Of course, now not all actors make such small exchange. The six primary cast contributors of “Friends” have been still reportedly making round $20 million a year in residuals, and Charlie Sheen, who starred in “Two and a Half Men,” makes approximately $613,000 every month from residuals.

Owens, who has since quit his job at Trader Joe’s, mentioned the loss of “The Cosby Show” residuals was a factor in taking a task on the grocery retailer. Reruns of the 1980s sitcom stopped in 2014 after Bill Cosby was accused of sexual attack. (Cosby was found accountable on 3 counts of sexual attack previous this year.) His former co-star Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who performed Cosby’s son Theo, mentioned pulling the show from syndication was “literally taking cash out of my pocket.”

The undesirable attention Owens were given after the Trader Joe’s photograph went viral grew to become out to be a blessing in conceal. Many actors and celebrities took to Twitter TWTR, +0.16%  to protect the actor, and producer Tyler Perry presented the former “Cosby” superstar a task. Owens was cast in Perry’s sequence “The Haves and the Have Nots,” which proclaims on the OWN network. He will appear in different episodes and, in years to come, he can most probably look forward to residuals from that.

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Alessandra Malito is a non-public finance reporter primarily based in New York. You can follow her on Twitter @malito_ali.

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