Jeff Daniels is no stranger to the film industry. He has been in numerous television shows and films, and even as he edges closer to 70 years, he is not ready to slow down on his acting career. His dedication to his craft has enabled Jeff Daniels’ net worth to grow to $45 million, quite an impressive amount for someone who almost quit because he was not getting enough money from his work. It has been an uphill climb, and here is the actor’s journey to achieving wealth.
Becoming an Actor
Daniels grew up in Chelsea, Michigan, a small town with a population of around 4,500. The town is so small that in 2007, it only had one high school, one hospital, three elementary schools, a few churches, and a train depot. Still, Daniels’ parents, Marjorie and Robert made it their home – Robert operated the Chelsea Lumber Company. Daniels revealed his parents were determined to instill a work ethic, and he holds it dear to this day. Daniels recalled that one day when he refused to mow the lawn, Marjorie gave him a verbal beating for over an hour. Of course, the actor did not understand then how important such lessons would be later in his career. As a child, Daniels never planned on becoming an actor. However, in sixth grade, his teacher Miss DiAnn L’Roy helped to steer him in the right direction. According to Guide Posts, one day she wanted the class to do improvisations, and Daniels had to pretend he was a politician giving a speech while his pants were falling. The actor went to the front of the class and started tugging on his belt while making a speech. He recalled that it must have been funny because the entire class laughed, and the teacher remarked how great he was. He did not think much about the performance, but Miss L’Roy had already discovered the talent in her student. Therefore, when he was a sophomore, she told him to audition for the “South Pacific” play because she needed sailors. Daniels had just come from basketball practice so he went in with his disheveled look. The task was to do a silly dance and he gave it his all, which impressed Miss L’Roy so much that she had him doing it three more times. Daniels nailed his first audition for a play, and it became the start of his acting career. Miss L’Roy cast Daniels in play after play: “The Music Man,” “The Fiddler on The Roof,” “Oliver,” “Oklahoma!” and many more. He credits his English teacher for opening his eyes to new things because, with each character, the actor was expected to try something different. Thus, Daniels would read psychology books to know more about the characters. He also listened to records to learn accents and did whatever was needed to play the roles perfectly.
Going from Stage to Film and TV
The acting bug had already bit him when he joined Central Michigan University. However, as The Washington Post informs us, he did not focus on his studies and chose to “major in beer.” Therefore, when he got the opportunity to go to New York, Daniels took it. At 21, he became an apprentice at Circle Repertory Theater. Life was not as easy as he had thought. There were so many actors interested in the same job, and for six months, Daniels was desperate for a job. The situation got so bad that he wanted to go back home, but his mother told him to find a way to stay.
Thankfully, the persistence began paying off when he got cast in a few Broadway shows that paid him $150 weekly. He disclosed that he got numerous television offers but turned them down, preferring to remain in film and plays. Los Angeles is the ideal place for a budding actor, so moving to Michigan did not help Daniels' career. Still, he had managed to get several “serious” film roles but wanted to be a comedian even when most people thought a movie like “Dumb & Dumber” would ruin his career. According to Variety, the studio wanted to replace. “Dumb & Dumber” is one of the most iconic movies in Daniels’ career because it paved the way for him to do more big comedy movies. He earned $50,000 while Carrey was paid $7 million. Luckily, Daniels was determined to land quality gigs on television and asked James Gandolfini for advice. The late seasoned actor told Daniels to get a good writer. Consequently, Daniels was cast in “Newsroom,” which earned him a Primetime Award for Outstanding Lead Actor. Daniels says the three-minute speech he delivered on the show about why America is no longer the greatest country in the world helped save his career.
Not Planning to Retire Soon
He was not getting paid much despite being in great films; no wonder in 2016, the actor said that although he would love to sit on his porch and play the guitar, he could not afford to because financially, he was not yet in that place. Besides, Daniels has a gift that he wants to share with the world and Jim Carrey advised him that it would be wrong to keep it to himself. The actor began being appreciated for his work when he earned $150,000 per episode for “Newsroom.” He has since been cast in more productions. Daniels also banks on his songwriting career. He bought his first guitar in 1976, reasoning that music would keep him sane when the acting jobs were not flowing. He began performing publicly twenty years ago to support his theater company, The Purple Rose, founded in 1991. For an actor and songwriter bent on not retiring any time soon, Daniels' net worth of $45 million is bound to grow.
Written by Allen Lee
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