By The Numbers: Women Making Bank

Elizabeth Taylor in 'Cleopatra,' 1963 (Eclipse Magazine)

Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Cleopatra,’ 1963 (Eclipse Magazine)

Earlier this week, Ellen Pompeo became the highest-paid TV actress currently on TV, making $20M a year. How’d she do it? She asked for it. Also, she knew her worth.

Who else has made bank while breaking the glass ceiling? Let’s take a look!

First Female Millionaire:

Madam C.J. Walker built a beauty empire and had a net worth of $600K at the time of her death. Adjusted for inflation, that’s that’s $8,757,479.29 in November 2017 money.

First Female Billionaire:

Lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart became a billionaire in 2000, the year after her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia went public.

First Black Female Billionaire:

Be honest: you thought this would be Oprah, didn’t you? So did I…until I actually googled it. No, this honor goes to Sheila Johnson. Johnson co-founded BET with her ex-husband Bob Johnson and went on to work in hospitality and real estate, and own minority stakes in three sports teams. Johnson first made the “Forbes” Billionaire List in 2000.

First Film Actress to be Paid $1M for a Role:

This would be the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor, who played the titular role in “Cleopatra” in 1963.

Highest-Paid Actress of 2017:

Emma Stone made the “Forbes” 2017 list of highest paid actors and actresses at $26M. However, she’s the highest-ranking actress at #15.



#ThrowbackThursday: Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra,” 1963

Elizabeth Taylor as 'Cleopatra,' 1963 (First To Know)

Elizabeth Taylor as ‘Cleopatra,’ 1963 (First To Know)

In her heyday, Elizabeth Taylor was a lot of things: raven-haired beauty, husband-stealing vixen, condemned by the Vatican. Oh yeah, she was also an actress. A very good one.

It’s well known that Taylor played the title role in 1963’s “Cleopatra.” But one important aspect of the production is less well-known than it should be: Taylor earned $1M for her role. She was the first actress to be paid that amount for her work.

Due to production delays, that $1M would eventually become $7M. In 2015 currency, that’s $54.2M.