Do you want to know 10 celebrities who turned down millions of dollars? Celebrities are human beings just like us. They, therefore, are prone to making mistakes when it comes to making money. That’s because they cannot foresee how money making opportunities will turn out.

Remember that every venture is a risk. But as these 10 celebs look back at the roles they turned down; they surely regret not taking them. That’s because other actors who decided to take these positions ended up making millions of dollars.

Examples of legendary celebrities who have turned down millions of dollars include Will Smith, in the Movie, The Matrix, John Travolta in Forest Gump and Hugh Jackman in Casino Royale.

However, they have the consolation that they have made millions of dollars in other movies and ventures. In this guide, we look at 10 celebs that turned down millions of dollars in detail. They Are:

1. Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle Visits "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

Dave Chappell turned down a $50 million Comedy Central offer in 2002. That’s for his comedy sketch, The Dave Chappell show’s 3rd season program. Instead of that, he moved to Africa. In a James Lipton interview, he explained that he turned down this fantastic offer to mourn his father who passed away at the time of the offer.

Another reason was his disagreements with Comedy Central executives. Despite public criticism for rejecting the offer, Chappell, aged 31 at the time, stood his ground. His net worth today is $10 million.

2. Dana Delany


Dana Delany politely rejected an offer from Darren Star, producer and a good friend of hers. That’s for a 1997 project in which she was to act in a lead role about Candace Bushnell’s novel. That’s beside that she wasn’t required to do auditions. That was in the series Sex and New York City.

The reason is that she had done too many projects that had sex as their theme. Sara Jessica Parker took up that role. Dana’s current worth is $8 million; compare that to Sara’s $90 million worth. Keep in mind that at that time Sara Jessica Parker was little known, and it’s this role that brought her to fame.

3. Pamela Anderson


20-Century Fox’s initial first choice for the role, Agent Sully in X-files was Pamela Anderson. That’s according to a revelation by Gillian Anderson, who ended up taking that role. That’s because the role required a leggier, taller and plenty of curves character. Pamela turned down this opportunity, well, at that time she was riding high on Baywatch fame.

Gillian ended up portraying Agent Sully as a moody and cerebral FBI Agent. Gillian is now worth $25 million. Compare that with Pamela’s $5million worth. Remember at that time Gillian was only a little-known actress, which made producers hesitate to cast her.

4. Sandra Bernhard

28th Annual Night Of A Thousand Gowns

It’s 1997, Sex and the City again, Sandra Bernhard is the first choice to act as Miranda Hobbes in this popular TV series. She declined, citing having to work alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and low pay. She also didn’t like the scripts, calling it a disaster in an interview with Andy Cohen.

Cynthia Nixon took that role. As a result of the shows immense success, she’s now worth $60 million, compared to Sandra’s $8 million worth. Up to this day, Sandra admits she made a mistake.

5. Sean Connery

Sean Connery

Sean Connery declined an offer to act as Gandolf in the Movie the Lord of the Rings in 2000.In the offer; he was to get $10 million in each film, and 15% of the box office earnings. That’s from the Movie’s three films. The reason is he couldn’t understand the script. It went on to become one of Box Office’s biggest earners.

In total, he was to earn $480 million from this film. Ian Mckellen eventually took this offer, although due to lacking star power as compared to Connery, he wasn’t able to get Sean’s mouth-watering offer. That, however, is no longer a problem to Ian, thanks for his role in the Movie.

6. Paul Shaffer


In 1989, Paul Shaffer was asked by his friend Jerry Seinfeld to do a role as George Costanza. That’s because of his resemblance to Larry David, the actor. He declined, citing that he had to lead the band in David Letterman’s late night show.

With a worth of $30 million for composing the theme song on Letterman’s show, he missed earning $50 million extra, which is Jackson Alexander’s net worth estimate, who happened to take up that role.

7. Shaquille O’Neal


In 1993, Shaquille O’Neal turned down an offer by Howard Shultz, his agent. That was to partner with a coffee company. The reason he said is that black people don’t drink coffee. What he didn’t know was that he was turning down millions from Starbucks $57 billion Empire.

Had he accepted, he would have gained himself a stake in the empire, which could be worth millions of dollars by now. In a recent interview with Graham Bessinger, he says he sees lost millions in every Starbucks location.

8. Hulk Hogan


Hulk Hogan turned down an opportunity to endorse a grill company. This offer got presented to him by his agent in 2000. Guess what he chose to support, the Hulkamania Meatball Maker. Who took up that offer? George Foreman the boxer, also known as Foreman Grill Guy.

That grill made Foreman get millions in dollars, with an estimated worth of$ 250 million. That’s from royalties from the endorsement. Hulk Hogan’s net worth is $8 million currently.

9. Emily Browning


Emily Browning turned down millions of dollars by rejecting an offer to star as Bella Swan. That’s in the Twilight series. That’s before Kristen Stewart took up that role.

The Reason was exhaustion as a result of filming in the Uninvited. That cost her around $60 million. Kristen’s worth is now $70 million, in which the success of Twilight series accounts for 90% of the earnings. Emily Browning net worth is $5 million.

10. Katie Holmes

Opening Night Of "Beauty Culture" At The Annenberg Space For Photography - Red Carpet

Katie Holmes, then 17 years old, declined a lead role in the Movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her reasons were noble; she wanted to finish high school first. That lead role went to Sara Mitchell Geller, who too wasn’t interested, but the director could see a star in her.

Katie’s worth is now $25 million, which is a lot, but she missed out $15 million that Vampire Slayer could have added to her bank account.


Turning down millions of dollars is as easy as overlooking the potential of a startup business. As we have learned from the above celebrities, sometimes all we need in life is to take up that chance.