Felicity Huffman first started treading the boards in 1982. Since then, she’s worked extensively across TV, film, and stage, earning herself a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the kind of fortune that’s likely to make even the best of us a little green around the gills. Huffman is sitting pretty on a net worth of $20 million. And if you thought that was impressive, wait till you learn what Celebrity Net Worth estimates her worth as… a staggering $45 million! Which of the two is right, who knows (well, we’re guessing Huffman herself has a fair idea, but so far, she’s keeping mum on the subject). Regardless of which source you believe, one thing’s obvious. The actress has done well. But how exactly did she get to become of Hollywood’s wealthiest actors? Stay tuned, you’re about to find out.
The Early Years
After completing her studies at the New York University, Circle in the Square Theatre School, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England, Huffman began her professional career on the stage. In 1988, she made her Broadway debut in David Mamet's play Speed the Plow. She and the Mamet clearly struck up a good relationship, as that same year, she earned her first film role in his feature film Things Change.
Over the next ten years, she continued to build up her portfolio on stage, as well as appearing in small roles in the likes of The X-Files, Early Edition, Chicago Hope and Law & Order. 1998 proved something of a defining year, with Huffman earning a slew of awards (including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress) for her performance as Dana Whitaker in the series Sports Night. But it would take a couple more years (plus the birth of her daughter) before she hit the big time.
The Desperate Housewives Era
In 2004, Huffman landed the career-defining role of Lynette Scavo in Desperate Housewives. The series, which ran for eight seasons, made stars of Huffman and her co-stars Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, and Eva Longoria. Despite rumors of rivalry and rifts, the onset troubles did little to harm the show’s success: Desperate Housewives was one of the biggest shows of its day, and Huffman one of its most critically acclaimed stars.
As well as making her a household name, Desperate Housewives earned Huffman a string of awards, including an Emmy Award (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) and two 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards (Best Actress - Comedy Series and part of Best Ensemble - Comedy Series). It also did wonders for her bank balance: at the peak of the show’s success, Huffman and her fellow co-stars were drawing the mighty salary of $275,000 per episode.
But it wasn’t just Desperate Housewives that helped make the early 2000s such a golden age for Huffman. In 2005, she was cast in the lead role in Transamerica, starring as a pre-operative transgender woman who discovered that she’d fathered a son in her youth. The film won critical acclaim and box office success, as well as several more awards for Huffman to add to her growing collection, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and an Oscar nomination Best Actress (Academy Awards).
Life After Housewives
When Desperate Housewives ended in 2012, Huffman voiced her fears about ever being seen as anything other than Lynette Scavo. She needn’t have worried. Over the past decade, she’s picked up no shortage of roles, with one of her most significant being in American Crime. The series, which Huffman also produced, went down a storm, as did Huffman’s performance as Barb. So moved was Robert Bianco of USA Today by her work, he felt compelled to write that the show reconfirmed Huffman as “one of the best actresses we have. Barb is a tough, divorced mother who is fighting to bring her son's murderer to justice. Except Barb's battles haven’t just made her stronger; they've made her hate all the people she's had to fight. Which is why Huffman's gut-wrenching performance is so startling. A bundle of fury, Huffman makes us invest in a woman who believes her bigotry doesn’t just make her right, but noble."
She’s also featured in ten episodes of Get Shorty, along with the films Trust Me (2013), Rudderless (2014), Big Game (2014), Cake (2014), Stealing Cars (2015), Krystal (2017), Otherhood (2019), and Tammy's Always Dying (2019).
The 2019 College Admissions Bribery Scandal
On March 12, 2019, Huffman hit the headlines when news of her arrest in connection with a nationwide college bribery scandal began circulating. Huffman stood accused of bribing a tutor to alter her daughter's SAT scores to allow her admittance into Georgetown University. After being released on bail after showing the FBI that she owned $20 million in real estate and had $4 million in liquid assets, she was eventually sentenced to 14 days imprisonment, one year of supervised release, a $30,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She did her time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, although was fortunate enough not to have to serve her full sentence when it transpired her original release date was set for a weekend.
She may be an ex-con, but unlike most former felons, prison clearly hasn’t dented Huffman’s finances one iota. While we’ve not seen her on our screens since last year, her legacy of work (not to mention that $275,000 per episode deal with Housewives) means we’re unlikely to see her turning up at a local food bank anytime soon… especially in light of the fact that her husband, Shameless star William. H. Macy, is sitting on the identical net worth of $45 million. Or $20 million, depending on where you look…
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee