She’s the leading star of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and also a hero to women all over the world. Ellen Pompeo has become well known as the star of the long-running series Grey’s Anatomy, and during her time in entertainment, has earned numerous accolades for her realistic, relatable acting style.
Thanks to Grey’s Anatomy, she’s also become one of the wealthiest women in entertainment.
How did Pompeo’s career start?
Ellen Pompeo was born in 1969, to a large, Italian-Irish family. Pompeo’s introduction to acting was interesting – she started dating a fashion photographer, and had various odd jobs, including as a bartender, before she was approached by a casting director.
As a result of that meeting, Pompeo started getting jobs in commercials, including ads for Citibank and hair care line L’Oreal.
Pompeo also scored a couple of film and television roles, including small parts in Law & Order, Strangers with Candy, and Friends. Her first big break was in 2002 when she was cast opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie Moonlight Mile. Critics took notice of Pompeo’s appealing personality and dramatic ability, and her work in Moonlight Mile led to roles in big films like Old School, Catch Me If You Can, and Daredevil.
In spite of her consistent work in films, Pompeo was soon to discover her biggest role yet, and as it turns out, it would be on television.
What was her salary on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ at first?
In 2005, Ellen Pompeo was cast on the brand-new medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy. She played the title character, Meredith Grey, an intern at a Seattle hospital. The show broke a lot of barriers in terms of the diversity of the cast, and even though there were many actors on the show, Pompeo’s character became an immediate audience favorite. Critics also loved Pompeo, praising her talent and her realistic portrayal of a surgical intern who was hard at work completing her physician’s training.
Over the years, Pompeo would remain one of the only truly consistent presences on the show, with other stars coming and going on a regular basis. Pompeo has also been the subject of many article headlines in regards to the amount of money she’s made on Grey’s Anatomy.
In 2005, when Pompeo was first cast on the show, she reportedly made around $200,000 per episode. In the years since then, that amount has dramatically increased.
How much money does Pompeo make now?
In 2015, when Pompeo’s longtime co-star Patrick Dempsey decided to leave the show, she took the opportunity to negotiate an unprecedented deal for herself. Pompeo, who had long been a champion of equality for women in the workplace, stood firm in her convictions that as the star of the show, she deserved a higher salary. She was able to broker a deal that put her earnings per episode at around $575,000.
These days, Pompeo is officially the highest paid woman on television. For her work on Grey’s Anatomy, Pompeo earns around $20 million per year. While her salary made a lot of headlines, for Pompeo, it was simply about asking for what she knew she was worth. In a recent interview, she revealed that she required a higher salary for her to feel incentivized to continue the show.
After 14 years as the lead actor, audiences have grown accustomed to seeing Pompeo on the small screen, and Grey’s Anatomy likely wouldn’t have achieved the extraordinary level of success that it has without her performance.
No matter how long Grey’s Anatomy will ultimately run on television, it’s certain that Ellen Pompeo has made her mark on television history.