Will Ferrell made his name—and massive net worth—over the last three decades as one of America’s foremost comedians, a transcendent voice known for his physical humor, commitment to bits and iconic characters. He captivated older generations during his time in the 1990s on Saturday Night Live, then after several critically-acclaimed cameos (like in Zoolander and Austin Powers), officially made the jump to movies with the classic comedy Old School in 2003.
Since then, Ferrell’s appeared in some of the genre’s most groundbreaking films, from Elf and Anchorman to Talladega Nights and Eurovision Song Contest. During this time, he also flexed his voice acting chops, appearing in animated movies like Megamind and The Lego Movie. In his next movie, Strays, an animated comedy about a dog who is abandoned by his owner then vows to exact revenge, he'll yet again be using his signature voice. Strays is slated to arrive in theaters on August 18, 2023.
It’s safe to say that Will Ferrell’s career is legendary (almost as legendary as Ron Burgundy), but let’s take a look at his net worth and how he got started.
How did Will Ferrell become famous?
Will Ferrell was born in Irvine, California in 1967, the son of a teacher and a musician (who, funny enough, played for the Righteous Brothers). When he was 8 years old his parents divorced, and he found solace in making others laugh.
“Growing up in suburbia, in safe, master-planned Irvine, there was no drama so we had to create it in our heads. My main form of entertainment was cracking my friends up and exploring new ways of being funny,” Ferrell said in an interview with the Orange County Register. “I didn't have to have the survival mode instinct like other comics, who grew up in tough neighborhoods. I had the opposite. For me, I grew up in Mayberry, and the humor broke the boredom. And there was a lot to make fun of.”
Will Ferrell’s interest in the arts grew along with his interest in sports, so when he enrolled at USC for college, he chose to study sports broadcasting. He received a degree and found an internship at a local television station, but decided it didn’t suit him. After his mother urged him to pursue a dream, Will Ferrell moved into Los Angeles and joined The Groundlings, an improvisational comedy group.
After minor successes which included small-time movie roles and shows across Los Angeles, Ferrell was invited to audition for Saturday Night Live. He joined the cast in 1995 and became one of the show's most famous cast members.
In 2002, Will Ferrell left Saturday Night Live and began to star in movies. His first big film successes were the mid-life crisis examination of Old School (2003) and Elf (2003), the story of a man raised in the North Pole. And his success only built from there.
Outside of acting, Will Ferrell expanded to executive producing (The Other Guys, Succession and Eastbound & Down) and podcasting (The Ron Burgundy Podcast). He also launched Funny or Die with director Adam McKay in 2007, a website dedicated to comedic online shorts which launched the careers of many famous comedians today.
Will Ferrell also never lost his interest in sports. In 2016, he became a part-owner of the then-new Major League Soccer team, Los Angeles FC, along with other celebrity owners like Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm.
Over the years, Will Ferrell has developed his own style of comedy and become a household name. We may be far from his Saturday Night Live stardom (creator Lorne Michaels once said he was in the top two or three comedians to ever be on the show), but he parlayed his successes into other great endeavors over the course of his 30-year career.
What is Will Ferrell's net worth?
Comedian Will Ferrell’s net worth is estimated to be a hefty $160 million. This comes not just from acting— at one point, he was one of the highest paid actors in the world, making upwards of $20 million per film—but from other endeavors like Funny or Die, sports ownership, sponsorships and real estate.
How much does Will Ferrell make per movie?
Will Ferrell has had a hand in over 80 movies and 55 television shows, spanning all across budgets and styles. Because of that, the amount Will Ferrell makes per movie varies. While he's certainly acted in low-budget films, in the mid-2000s, when he was among Hollywood’s highest-grossing actors, he demanded upwards of $20 million per role (for movies like Kicking & Screaming, Semi-Pro, and Talladega Nights), one of the highest marks ever.
How much did Will Ferrell get paid for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy?
After the success of his major debut as a lead with Old School, Will Ferrell showed his big screen success wasn’t a fluke as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. He reportedly made $7 million for Anchorman, but that would be the last time for almost a decade that his salary would be that low.
How much did Will Ferrell get paid for Elf?
Elf was Will Ferrell’s second box office hit. He reportedly received a whopping salary of $17 million for that film alone, more on par with what his talents would dictate in the mid-2000s. He was allegedly offered $29 million to act in an Elf sequel, but couldn’t get his heart into it, so he turned it down.
Related: 15 Fun Facts About Elf
How much did Will Ferrell get paid for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby?
Will Ferrell captivated a comedic generation with the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a movie about a mentally underdeveloped but charismatic and successful NASCAR star. It’s reported that he made $20 million on this movie, as it came during one of his most successful eras; Will Ferrell dictated this salary for many other movies he did during the same era, such as Semi-Pro, Kicking & Screaming, Bewitched and Land of the Lost.
How much did Will Ferrell get paid for Saturday Night Live?
In 2001, Will Ferrell reportedly became one of Saturday Night Live’s highest-paid cast members, with a season salary of $350,000. Ferrell was on the show for seven seasons from 1995-2002, and so when negotiating his contract for the final years earned quite a nice sum.
How much does Will Ferrell make on sports ownership and executive producing?
Will Ferrell makes money off many other endeavors, including but not limited to his ownership of soccer team Los Angeles FC and his executive production roles in both television and films. At one point, his digital web company Funny or Die was worth $300 million itself. It was also reported in 2023 that Los Angeles FC was worth $1 billion, becoming Major League Soccer’s first billion-dollar team only nine years after it joined the league at a reported valuation of $110 million. Will Ferrell’s real estate holdings also contribute to his net worth, with his Los Angeles property value amounting to somewhere around $20 million.