63-year-old actor Bryan Cranston is now worth an astronomical fortune… $30 million, to be precise. Anyone who’s familiar with the massive success of Breaking Bad probably isn’t too surprised at the news. Those who’re unaware of its cult status, on the other hand, are probably a little bemused as to how an actor who didn’t get his big break until the age of 38 has managed to pull in such a massive fortune.
A Slow Start
Cranston began performing in amateur productions as a youth, but discouraged by his parents (who weren’t too keen on their son becoming an “entertainer”), he held back from pursuing acting professionally until several years later. His early jobs were, not to put too fine a point on it, “interesting”, and he spent several years after graduating working as everything from a “minister for hire” to a truck loader to a camera operator for a video dating company. By the time he reached his 30s, he’d clearly decided that risking the wrath of his parents was probably a better option than taking any more fly by night jobs. By the late 1980s, he began popping up regularly in TV commercials and in minor roles on shows such as Amazon Women on the Moon and The Big Turnaround. Although the pay at that stage was barely worth writing home about (his voice-over work on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers between 1993-94 earned him a paltry $50 a day), things started to change when he landed the career-changing role of Dr. Tim Whatley, Jerry’s dentist, on Seinfeld, a role he played from 1994 -1997.
The Rise to Fame
2 years after landing the part of Dr. Tim Whatley, Cranston took his career one step further when he featured in Tom Hanks’ directorial debut, That Thing You Do. A little of Hanks’ stardust must have rubbed off on the younger actor, as soon, casting directors were lining up to score him for their own features. After spending the next few years appearing in the likes of The X-files, Babylon 5, Strategic Command, The King of Queens, From the Earth to the Moon, and Saving Private Ryan (not to mention making a name for himself in theater productions of The God of Hell, Chapter Two, The Taming of the Shrew, A Doll’s House, Barefoot in the Park, Eastern Standard, Wrestlers, and The Steven Weed Show), Cranston was offered the leading role of Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. Cranston starred on the show throughout its entire 6-year run; by the end of it, he’d not only managed to score household name status and three Primetime Emmy Award nominations, but he’d also made headway behind the lens by directing several episodes of the hit comedy.
Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad
After Malcolm in the Middle ended in 2006, Cranston spent several years capitalizing on his newly earned stardom by taking roles in such popular features as The Flash, How I Met Your Mother, Fallen, and the cult film, Little Miss Sunshine. It was 2 years after leaving Malcolm in the Middle, however, that Cranston’s career went stratospheric with the role of Walter White in Breaking Bad. The impact of the series can’t be overstated, and even now, several years after its end, it’s still considered one of the most seminal shows of the 21st century. At the heart of its success was Cranston’s performance as White, a performance that managed to land him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for every one of the show’s first three seasons, a nomination in the fourth season, and a further award for the 5th.
According to The Richest, Cranston managed to pull in around $125 thousand for each episode of Breaking Bad. While this in itself would have been enough to support a very comfortable lifestyle, Cranston decided to up the ante (and his income) by combing his TV career with a successful one in film and theatre. Among his credits from the period include roles in John Carter, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Rock of Ages, Godzilla, Robot Chicken, Total Recall and Argo, and a year in residence as Lyndon B. Johnson in the American Repertory Theater and Broadway productions of All the Way.
Post Breaking Bad
Some actors live and die by a show. No matter how bright their star during its run, the end of the series spells the end of their career. Fortunately, Cranston has managed to avoid landing up in this unlucky camp, going from strength to strength since Breaking Bad ended in 2013. As a director, he’s scored work on Modern Family, The Office, and Sneaky Peak. As a voice-over artist on video games, he’s entertained us on Madagascar 3: The Video Game, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, The Simpsons: Tapped Out, and Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements. On stage, he’s charmed us as Howard Beale in Network, and on TV and film, he’s kept us enthralled in everything from Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (2017) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (2017) to The Infiltrator (2016), Wakefield (2016), Last Flag Flying (2017), Isle of Dogs (2018), and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019).
Award Success Equals a Healthy Fortune
The result of Cranston’s impressive work ethic speaks for itself. At the time of writing, Cranston is the proud owner of 2 Golden Globe Awards, 6 Primetime Emmy Awards, 5 Screen Actors Guild Awards, 2 Tony Awards, 1 Annie Award, 2 Critic’s Choice Awards, 1 Drama Desk Award, 1 Hollywood Film Award, 1 Laurence Olivier Award, 5 Satellite Awards, 2 Saturn Awards, 1 Television Critics Association Award, 1 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Award, and more nominations than most of us have had hot dinners. With such an impressive trophy cabinet, it’s little wonder his bank balance is in such great shape.