Johnny Depp Once Donated An Entire Film’s Earnings to Co-Star’s Daughter

We often get starstruck by the massive paychecks that actors bring home for their projects, and for good reason. When we see that actors like Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. are bringing in $15 million for a single film, it’s hard not to feel a little flabbergasted. 

Still, stories of charitable celebrities who feel compelled to share their wealth fill us with some hope and respect. These stars not only earn our appreciation but also leave behind a legacy of goodwill that gives their name an even brighter shine. 

Johnny Depp is certainly one of Hollywood’s well-compensated stars, but he’s also made efforts to be charitable and caring with his wealth. In fact, he once donated his earnings for an entire film to a co-star’s daughter. 

Johnny Depp is an A-lister with a long history of success

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These days, Depp is well-known for his impressive filmography that stretches back to 1984 with an appearance in A Nightmare on Elm Street. When he was just 15, Depp knew that he was destined for entertainment, and he left school to try his hand at making a living as a member of the rock band The Kids.

A fateful meeting with Nicolas Cage put Depp’s career on a different path as Cage convinced him to give acting a try. The rest, as they say, is history.

Depp would quickly rise to heartthrob status while simultaneously taking on roles in films like Benny & JoonEdward Scissorhands, and Ed Wood that would help define his career. Thrice nominated for an Academy Award, Depp has been celebrated as a talented actor who brings some of cinema’s most complex and unique characters to life. The portrayal of quirky roles like the Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, and Captain Jack Sparrow have given Depp a reputation that’s almost cartoonish, but he’s repeatedly demonstrated his ability to pull off the serious and heavy alongside the more whimsical. 

All told, the actor has been credited in nearly 100 projects. While the star has recently had some very public financial struggles that have resulted in lawsuits and attention-grabbing headlines, there’s no denying that his lifelong work in acting has been a lucrative endeavor. 

Johnny Depp starred in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’

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Back in 2009, Depp had a part in the fantastical film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The film, which was written and directed by Terry Gilliam, starred Heath Ledger, Andrew Garfield, and Christopher Plummer. The extremely complex plot takes many twists and turns and involves a deal with the devil, and it all takes place on the backdrop of a traveling theater company. 

Unfortunately, this film would be the final performance for Ledger, who was working on the project at the time of his death in 2008. Ledger, who was only 28 years old, died from an apparent accidental drug overdose. Those who worked alongside him on Imaginarium reported erratic behavior, according to Cinema Blend.

In fact, his co-stars were concerned after seeing him take a mix of sleeping pills and other drugs in an attempt to get some rest during a bout of troubling insomnia. Ledger’s mental state had been portrayed as unstable since his time working on The Dark Knight, where his dark and twisted portrayal of the Joker won him critical acclaim even as the work presented personal challenges. 

Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law donated their earnings 

Johnny Depp in a hat and glasses in front of a blurred blue background
Johnny Depp | COOLMedia/Getty Images

Ledger’s untimely and tragic death threw Gilliam’s project into upheaval. Filming was not complete, and Gilliam had to figure out how to finish the film without one of his stars. Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law stepped in to help see the film to completion. 

That act was notable enough, but the trio went one further by opting to donate all of their earnings from the film to Ledger’s young daughter, Matilda. As SheKnows reports, “The fact that Ledger’s daughter will reap the benefit of the salaries of stars of Depp, Law and Farrell, stars known to command a pretty penny, can only enhance the magical effort that was put together to finish this film amid shocking tragedy.”