Brad Pitt’s Iconic Early Career Movie Role Paid Him $6,000

Brad Pitt is one of the world’s biggest stars, an actor who first rose to fame in the nineties and who has been able to maintain his success over the decades since. Pitt earned renown early on for his abilities in a variety of dramatic films — critics and audience members alike had to recognize that his talent reigned supreme. These days, Pitt brings in the big bucks in Hollywood, but he will likely never forget his time as a struggling actor and the breakthrough role that only paid a paltry sum. 

How did Brad Pitt get started as an actor?

Brad Pitt, winner Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' poses in the press room during the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Brad Pitt | Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for Turner

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Pitt had a modest start in life. He was born in Oklahoma in 1963, to parents William Alvin Pitt and Jane Etta Pitt.

When Pitt was a baby, his family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he spent the remainder of his formative years. Pitt was athletic in school and played several sports. He also displayed a talent for creative and dramatic arts and performed in a number of school plays and musicals.

In 1982, Pitt began attending the University of Missouri, where he majored in journalism, according to IMDb. However, as his studies intensified, Pitt found that he was more drawn to an acting career than the world of journalism.

In short order, only a few weeks prior to his college graduation, Pitt moved to California, determined to carve out a career as an actor. 

Brad Pitt’s breakout role only paid $6,000

Pitt did not experience early success in LA. In fact, he had to work many odd jobs in order to make ends meet, all while attending acting classes.

By the late ’80s, Pitt had landed a few roles in television shows and movies, but nothing that had really managed to catapult him to the success that he craved. In 1990, Pitt appeared in the drama series Glory Days, which earned him a bit of attention. But it wasn’t until 1991 that he really managed to score his breakout role.

That year, Pitt was cast in the buddy comedy Thelma & Louise, which starred Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. As a handsome drifter, Pitt made a big impression, and the film is widely considered to be his breakout performance in Hollywood.

Although the movie would become a cult classic, Pitt didn’t exactly make big bucks from his role. In fact, according to Insider, Pitt was only paid $6,000 for his work in the movie. 

Brad Pitt went on to become a megastar

Fortunately for Pitt, he went on to make much bigger money than what he was paid for Thelma & Louise. In fact, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Pitt’s net worth is $300 million, which is combined with his income from his movie roles, his investments into various business ventures, and his work as a high-profile film producer.

Although Pitt has gone through some turbulent times in his personal life, including a recent divorce from Angelina Jolie, audiences still love him, and even in his fifties, he is a major presence in Hollywood.

As one of the wealthiest stars in the entertainment business, Pitt makes more than enough to sustain himself and his family. Still, it wasn’t that long ago that he was struggling to land movie roles — and only making a few thousand for the ones he did manage to score.