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How David Caruso Achieved a Net Worth of $35 Million

David Caruso

Retired actor David Caruso has amassed a fortune over the course of his career and now has an estimated net worth of $35 million. Best known for playing  Lieutenant Horatio Caine in the CSI franchise, we are going to take a look back at his career to learn how he earned that much money.

Caruso’s early life

Caruso came from a broken home. His father, a print editor, walked out on his mother, a librarian, whole Caruso was still young. He later said that as a child he was forced to do many of the things that a father did himself.

His mother sent him to Catholic schools in Queens, a borough in New York City. He is of Irish and Italian descent. Both countries are overwhelmingly Catholic, so it is not terribly surprising that he was raised Catholic as well. Even today, the vast majority of Italians, 78 percent, identify as Catholic according to a 2018 Pew Research Center poll.

An early job leads to an interest in acting

When he was young, Caruso worked in a cinema as an usher. He and his friends would sit in on movies while they were not working, sometimes as many as 80 a week. When they would get home, Caruso and his friends would act out what they had seen on screen.

This sparked an interest in acting for the young man and he would end up having a very successful career in the industry.

Caruso struggles as a young actor

There are those who are an overnight success in Hollywood, but Caruso was not one of them. He began his career in 1980, but it took a whole for him to gain traction in the industry and even longer until he was a star.

For most of the 1980s, Caruso played supporting roles on TV shows and in movies. He was often cast as a police officer, or in a project with strong police themes. Because of this, some believe he was typecast into police roles early on.

Caruso's big break: NYPD Blue

In the early 1990s, Caruso landed his first major role. Starting in 1993, he played Detective John Kelly on NYPD Blue. This hit show ran from 1993 to 2005. 

Caruso won a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of Kelly, one of the central characters on the show. Given the success he had in the first season of the show, he asked for a raise.

During that first season, he made $42,500 for every episode in which he appeared. He wanted to earn $100,000 per episode, however. He also wanted a 38-foot trailer, an office suite on the lot, and a private security team to protect him at the network's expense.

Those who controlled the purse strings did not think he deserved that much, however, and turned him down. When the raise was denied to him, he left after four episodes in the second season. 

Post NYPD Blues slump

There are those who believe leaving the show was a major mistake for Caruso. He could have stayed on the show for much longer, potentially for all 12 seasons, and earn a paycheck for each of them. He also might have won more awards, further increasing his earning potential. 

Instead, Caruso's career suffered after he left the show. TV Guide even called it one of the biggest blunders in television history.

Caruso was in two different films in 1995, the thrillers Kiss of Death and Jade. Both were panned by critics and did poorly at the box office.

Kiss of Death only earned $14.9 million despite costing $40 million to produce. Jade brought in less than $10 million in ticket sales but cost $50 million to produce. This was not a high point in his career.

CSI: Miami and Caruso's acting comeback

In 2002, Caruso debuted as Lieutenant Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami. This time, he saw a winning show and stuck with it. Caruso played Caine for ten years, from 2002 to 2012.

It's believed that it was during this decade of starring on a hit show that Caruso earned most of his fortune. His salary varied, however, and peaked at $375,000 an episode. During his highest earning season, he made $8 million.

In all, the series had 232 episodes. He was the only actor to appear in each and every one of them. Of course, he also made less for many of these episodes, or his net worth would have been even higher. 

The show was canceled in 2012 when the ratings started to decline and the cost to produce each episode was climbing. Still, this was a good run for both the show and for Caruso personally. 

Caruso's earnings from other projects

The data on Caruso's salary for other projects is scarce. Still, it is a safe bet to say that he never made as much as he did on CSI: Miami. These were his peak earning years and he clearly made the most of them.

New retirement ventures for Caruso

After CSI: Miami wrapped up, Caruso decided to retire from acting. He instead became involved in the world and the business of art.

Carusp is now the co-owner of a clothing store in South Miami, named Steam on Sunset. He has spend additional time in his retirement as the founder of and 

Future plans for Caruso

What will the future bring for Caruso? Will he return to acting? Does he still have plans to increase his net worth even further?

We will have to wait and see to find the answers to these questions. Caruso had a wonderful career and deserves all the credit he earned for his time on the television and movie screens.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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