The following article includes allegations of sexual assault.
When “That ’70s Show” first hit TV screens in 1998, it put a quirky comedic lens on the now-retro decade. And, to be honest, it did a freakishly good job of it. “When I walked onto that set, I went, ‘Oh my God…,”‘ Debra Jo Rupp, who played suburban (and oh-so-perfectly era-appropriate) mom Kitty Forman, told Entertainment Weekly back in 2000. She recalled how strange it was to see the eerily accurate set-up, saying, “That washer and dryer? My washer and dryer. The burnt orange-brown fridge? My fridge. The exact same. I almost died.” That kind of attention to detail, as well as the crowd-pleasing stories and fan-favorite performances, is why the show managed to earn a Primetime Emmy Award and a slew of nominations — not to mention other industry honors, like multiple Teen Choice Awards.
At the same time, the show made stars of its sizable cast. Ranging from young actors who were new to the entertainment industry to show business veterans, each core member of the ensemble was key to the comedy’s overall and lasting success. But when “That ’70s Show” wrapped up in 2006, its stars went their various ways. In time, some found even more fame and fortune thanks to lucrative opportunities, while others faced serious professional and personal issues and, in turn, took career-related hits.
Let’s find out which “That ’70s Show” cast members have continued to make massive fortunes, who had to settle for modest funds, and who doesn’t have as much money as you might have thought.
Topher Grace's That '70s Show fortune gives him creative freedom
While “That ’70s Show” ended in 2006, Topher Grace — who played the comedy’s main character, teenager Eric Forman — left his full-time gig on the series a few years before its finale. Although that may have seemed like a risky decision considering the fact that the show made him famous, the actor’s choice and the work that he had done provided him with an opportunity that he obviously couldn’t pass up.
Indeed, being on “That ’70s Show” is what has allowed Grace to now take on the kind of gigs that he wants without having to worry about what they pay. In 2018, he told IndieWire, “For me, five or six years ago, I looked around at my life … and it occurred to me that I was really lucky to have been on a sitcom for a lot of years. I realized then that I didn’t really need a lot more money.” That’s why he told his agent that he didn’t “want to do anything but work with auteurs.” The actor explained, “I didn’t care [about the size of the role or the salary]. It’s what I wanted to do with my life.” With a new purpose and direction in mind, Grace went on to appear in films like 2018’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which was directed by Spike Lee.
So, how much does it take to have that kind of creative freedom? Well, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Grace has $14 million to his name, which is certainly enough to pay the bills.
Laura Prepon is rich, but was sued in a minimum wage lawsuit
Fans of “That ’70s Show” will remember Laura Prepon as the red-headed (and then blonde) girl next door, Donna Pinciotti, per IMDb. “I had no idea what I was doing when I booked ‘That ’70s Show,'” she told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith (via CBS Los Angeles). “The fact that I didn’t know how to act didn’t really matter because Donna was so me. It was a glove that I could slide right into and it fit perfectly. That was really great for m[y] first role.”
While Prepon found success after the show thanks to her role as prison inmate Alex Vause on “Orange Is the New Black,” she also faced a potential financial loss due to a money-related legal situation in 2011. Two former employees of Shin BBQ sued Prepon, along with the other celebrity owners of the Hollywood restaurant, for “failing to pay overtime, failing to pay for rest periods, failing to pay for meal periods, and failing to pay minimum wage, as well as for unfair competition and violating the fair labor standards act,” according to Reuters. While we don’t know the outcome of the lawsuit, it could have cost Prepon and the other stars named in the suit a fair bit of money. Reuters noted that one former employee claimed to have suffered damages that were in the range of $28,015, while the second person’s alleged damages were around $5,812.
Fortunately for the star, Celebrity Net Worth notes that Prepon still has $12 million.
Ashton Kutcher was the highest-paid TV actor thanks to a different show
While Ashton Kutcher found fame thanks to his role as lovable goofball Michael Kelso on “That ’70s Show,” it was his work on “Two and a Half Men” — and the $24 million he brought in over 12 months — that landed him the top spot on Forbes’ highest-paid TV actors list in 2013.
Granted, while acting is all fine and good for padding Kutcher’s bankroll, the way that he’s earning the really big bucks is by investing. In 2010, Kutcher teamed up with his neighbor, Guy Oseary (U2 and Madonna’s manager), to start a venture capital firm called A-Grade Investments. According to Forbes, the firm had over 70 investments by 2016 that included, “Uber, Skype, Airbnb, Spotify, Pinterest, Shazam, [and] Warby Parker — with valuable startups like Zenefits and Flexport still gestating.” In the first six years of the firm’s existence, it managed to turn “their $30 million funds into a cool $250 million.” However, Kutcher explained that his motivation isn’t necessarily money, saying, “If we don’t make a dollar, but we change the world in a meaningful way because we solve real problems and we support great people and do our best to help, the returns are going to be the exhaust of that.”
From his humble beginnings of “sweeping up cereal dust at a General Mills factory,” according to Hello!, to acting and now investing on a global scale, Kutcher has built up a $200 million fortune, per Celebrity Net Worth. Way to go, Kelso!
Why That '70s Show star Mila Kunis isn't leaving her kids an inheritance
Mila Kunis played spoiled-rich kid Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show,” but her real life is more of a rags to riches story. In 2016, she told “The Kyle and Jackie O Show” (via Us Weekly) that because her family — who immigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. when Kunis was 7 — didn’t have much money, she used to eat “ketchup soup.” She also explained, “I grew up poor. My husband [Ashton Kutcher] and I both did. [We] are very aware of what a dollar is worth. Nothing’s been handed to us.”
After Kunis’ eight-year run on the quirky era comedy, she knew that it would take a lot of hard work to keep up in the industry. “I went and read for everyone, every Joe Schmo, every B-horror movie, every A-list director — anything, just to prove to people that I could do it. I had no shame. I had no ego,” she told Metro. Her work ethic, which has led to plenty of other onscreen roles, has carried over to how she raises her kids. Kunis has explained that she doesn’t intend to leave her kids an inheritance, and instead chooses to instill in them the importance of making it on their own. “It’s a matter of teaching them from a very early age that, you know, ‘Mommy and Daddy may have a dollar, but you’re poor,'” she joked, per Parents.
Kunis’ own drive has definitely paid off as she’s earned an impressive $75 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Wilmer Valderrama faced two pricey lawsuits
Wilmer Valderrama is another star who did well on “That ’70s Show” and went on to land other notable television roles. Although the actor will always be remembered as foreign-exchange student Fez, in 2016, he landed the role of Special Agent Nick Torres on “NCIS” — which, according to Hello!, had him earning an impressive “salary of $100,000 per episode.”
However, peppered in with Valderrama’s successes have been some potentially pricey lawsuits. In 2012, E! reported that the star was being sued by his neighbor for “loud and disturbing noises.” Some of the complaints, which apparently went back to 2007, ranged from alleged “partying, vehicle traffic, and barking dogs,” as well as “work being done on a guest house in Valderrama’s backyard [that] resulted in [the plaintiffs] own yard and garage being flooded.” That same year, Valderrama was sued by two drivers who worked for him. While producing his web series, “King of the Floor,” the actor allegedly hired the chauffeurs who were apparently “told they’d be paid $25 an hour for the job — which lasted upwards of 18 hours over the course of 2 days — but they wound up with a pittance,” according to TMZ. The drivers sued the star for $89,515 for “allegedly violating labor laws.”
Legal issues notwithstanding, Valderrama has made himself a nice little nest egg, so he can afford to pay off any lawsuit-related costs. Indeed, according to Celebrity Net Worth, he now has $20 million.
Danny Masterson from That '70s Show was fired by Netflix
Following Danny Masterson’s time on “That ’70s Show” as the damn-the-man troubled teen Steven Hyde, the actor has faced serious accusations that have affected his career. In 2017, Masterson was accused of rape by three women, who alleged the incidents happened in the early 2000s. At the time, Masterson was acting in the Netflix series “The Ranch,” which co-starred Ashton Kutcher. After the allegations came out, Netflix announced (via USA Today) that those behind the scenes had decided to write Masterson off of the series.
Since being let go, Masterson — who was also dropped by his agency — has not had any credited work, according to his IMDb, except for a role in “Killing Winston” that is marked as “completed,” but also stars Richard Dreyfuss, who was accused of sexual harassment — so it might not see the light of day.
Masterson was officially charged and arrested on three counts of rape in 2020, per People, and posted $3.3 million bail. By 2021, Masterson’s rape case was moving forward as he had entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, according to Deadline. The outlet also noted that if the actor is “charged on assaulting the three women, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.” As of this writing, the case is still ongoing.
There is no doubt that his past has surely hurt his finances and damaged his earning potential, however, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Masterson still has $8 million.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
You can pay Debra Jo Rupp for a Cameo message
Debra Jo Rupp had been acting steadily for years before she landed her most recognizable role as Kitty Forman (the mother we all wish he had) on “That ’70s Show,” and she has continued to work following the end of the series. The star’s acting credits go all the way back to 1987 and include gigs on popular shows like “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Office,” among others. Now, before you start racking your brain and Googling “was Kitty Forman on ‘The Office!?!'” it wasn’t the fanatically popular series starring Steve Carell. Heck, it wasn’t even the original British series created by Ricky Gervais. Instead, she popped up on a 1995 show that centered around “a secretarial pool at the executive office of a package design company in New York City” and only lasted six episodes, according to IMDb.
Even before those small-screen roles, Rupp started out on the theatre stage, telling KCTV5 News, “I spent 17 years in New York City and I spent 17 years in Los Angeles, and New York City was all theatre.” However, these days, in addition to her stint on the Marvel show, “WandaVision,” she also makes money on Cameo — but doesn’t keep it all to herself. Instead, Rupp uses the earnings to give back to restaurants in her New England community so that she can help “them survive during this [COVID-19 pandemic] crisis.”
Frankly, Rupp can afford to be charitable as she has $5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Kurtwood Smith's post-That '70s Show work is 'easy money'
Kurtwood Smith could be seen in many big-time films even before heading the Forman household on “That ’70s Show.” Although his roles in movies like “Rambo III,” “Dead Poets Society,” and “A Time to Kill” were mainly supporting characters, they helped pave the way to what became a lucrative journey. Playing the part of grumpy ol’ Red on “That ’70s Show,” Smith told AV Club, “I made money doing that show. I mean, we’re not talking about ‘Friends’ money or anything like that. But as far as being able to have a successful financial career, anyway, it certainly gave me that.”
After the show’s finale in 2006, a few of its stars went on to appear on “The Ranch” alongside Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, including both Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith. In 2018, Smith tweeted a photo of himself with fellow actors Barry Corbin and Sam Elliott, writing, “Working with these guys … easy money!” Smith has also done a ton of voice work on animated shows like “Squirrel Boy,” “Neighbors From Hell,” and “Regular Show,” which helps him connect to newer audiences. However, his role as the main villain in 1987’s sci-fi action staple “RoboCop” still has a lasting effect on fans. He explained to AV Club, “It’s amazing the amount of recognition that I still get from that.”
It’s also amazing that Smith has managed to earn an impressive $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Don Stark made a small fortune despite disappointment and obstacles
While Don Stark has had his fair share of success in show business, with an acting career that goes back to 1963, he can still remember some of the heartbreak that he experienced along the way. Thinking back to his small stint on 1975’s “Welcome Back, Kotter,” Stark told Fan Fest that he missed out on the main character audition because of the technology at the time, or lack thereof. Back then you didn’t have the ease of smartphone instant notifications, so actors had to rely on answering services or phone tag.
“I was supposed to have a callback … And my agent didn’t get me the message; I got the message at the last minute, showed up, they were already done and so I didn’t get a chance,” he explained. The part went to Robert Hegyes, who starred on the show for 95 episodes, but Stark got a big break much later in his career starring as the hey-kids-I’m-still-hip next-door neighbor Bob Pinsiotti on “That ’70s Show.”
When it came to giving advice to those interested in getting into the industry, Stark explained, “Don’t do it unless you have to. What I mean by that is, there’s no casual way of being in the business [like], ‘Oh, I’m just going to give it a try.’ Unless you’re all in, there’s too much disappointment, too many obstacles you go up against.” Granted, Stark seemed to have pushed through the difficulties and, according to Celebrity Net Worth, now has $5 million.
Josh Meyers created a show with his famous brother
Josh Meyers joined the cast of “That ’70s Show” for the eighth and final season and took on the role of Randy Pearson, who became quick friends with the rest of the gang. He also turned into a love interest for Donna Pinciotti (who was played by Laura Prepon). Meyers was added to the show with the intention of filling the void that Topher Grace left when he moved on to other projects. However, it wasn’t the biggest success, and the series ended not long after the new addition came on board.
Beyond “That ’70s Show,” Meyers has had a steady stream of roles in film and television, including two seasons of work on “MadTV.” He also got to team up with his big brother, Seth Meyers, of “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” fame, for a comedy that was picked up by NBC, according to Deadline. But as of yet, it does not have an air date. It turns out that Josh has actually worked with his brother on a number of projects, including working as a voice actor and writer on Seth’s animated series “The Awesomes,” as well as making appearances on “Late Night.”
Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any sibling rivalry between these two brothers, because, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Josh is worth $2 million — whereas big brother Seth has quite a bit more with $12 million.
Tommy Chong went from jail to selling a million-dollar bong
Tommy Chong was unforgettable in his role as the high-as-heck hippie Leo on “That ’70s Show,” and although the character wasn’t much of a stretch from his usual toasted performances, it helped to bring his brand of comedy to a younger audience. Chong initially found stardom thanks to his stoner film series, “Cheech and Chong,” which, according to The Numbers, has grossed over $160 million worldwide. However, the star’s arguably controversial career choices have led to some serious setbacks, which were followed by an epic comeback.
In 2003, Chong pled guilty to “one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia in exchange for no charges being levied against his wife and son” and was sentenced to nine months in federal prison, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The incarceration seemed to be a minor setback in his life, as he told the outlet, “There’s no punishment in the federal prison. You get a computer. You get a nice comfortable cubicle. You’re in there with nice, intelligent people.” While serving his time, Chong was able to write a book, “The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint,” and since his release from prison, has been smoking sales with his Tommy Chong’s Cannabis brand, as well as his other cannabis-related ventures, like his million-dollar bong.
Indeed, Chong has been flying high since the (actual) ’70s and has been making green along the way, stashing away $20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
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