What is Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ net worth and salary?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an American actress who has a net worth of $250 million. Julia Louis-Dreyfus first became world-famous for playing the role of Elaine Benes on the long-running television sitcom “Seinfeld.” She played the role of Elaine on Seinfeld for nine seasons between 1989 and 1998. She has had several follow-up hits, most importantly the beloved HBO series “Veep,” which ran from 2012 to 2019 and earned Julia multiple Emmy awards.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was actually a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1982 to 1985. Her time on SNL showcased her comedic range and set the stage for her future successes. Most importantly, during her time on SNL, she befriended one of the show’s writers, Larry David. In 1989 Larry and Jerry Seinfeld cast Julia as Elaine Benes on the iconic sitcom “Seinfeld,” which catapulted her to widespread fame. Her portrayal of Elaine, a character known for her quirky dance moves and sharp wit, was critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences. This role earned her several awards and established her as a leading comedic actress.
Following “Seinfeld,” Louis-Dreyfus continued to build her career with the sitcom “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” where she played the title role. Her performance in this series further demonstrated her talent for comedy, earning her additional accolades, including an Emmy Award.
Perhaps one of her most significant roles came with the HBO political satire series “Veep,” in which she starred as Selina Meyer, a fictional Vice President, and later President of the United States. Her portrayal of Meyer was widely praised for its sharp satirical edge and depth, showcasing Louis-Dreyfus’s ability to handle both comedy and drama. Her work on “Veep” earned her multiple Emmy Awards, setting a record for the most Emmy wins by a lead actress in a comedy series.
Is Julia Louis-Dreyfus a Billionaire?
There has been a rumor over the years that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a billionaire, not from her acting work but from her family wealth. Julia’s father, Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, was indeed a billionaire at the time of his death in 2016.
Julia was born on January 13, 1961 in New York City to Gerard Louis-Dreyfus and an American mother named Judith. Her parents divorced when she was one. Julia was largely raised by her mother, at first in New York and later Washington D.C. after her mother married the dean of George Washington University.
Julia’s great-great-grandfather, Leopold Louis-Dreyfus, founded the Louis Dreyfus Group in 1851. The Louis Dreyfus Group made a fortune in commodities trading and shipping. Today, the re-named Louis Dreyfus Company is a global conglomerate that has interests in finance, shipping, agriculture, hedge funds, telecommunications, real estate and more. The Louis Dreyfus Company is responsible for an estimated 10% of the world’s agriculture and is the world’s largest trader of cotton, sugar and rice. The conglomerate is made up of more than 100 companies with offices all over the world, 22,000 employees an annual revenues exceeding $120 BILLION.
Julia’s father Gerard was a chairman of one of the Louis Dreyfus Company’s largest divisions, Louis Dreyfus Energy Services which specialized in crude oil trading, natural gas and infrastructure. At this time of his death in 2016, Gerard’s net worth was $4 billion.
Technically, at this exact moment, Julia is not a billionaire. First off, her father left behind a widow, Phyllis B. Louis-Dreyfus, who controls the majority of his estate now. If Gerard did earmark his fortune for his children upon Phyllis’ death, Julia will still have to split her inheritance with two half-siblings.
When combined with her current net worth, future royalties, and real estate, it’s very likely that Julia will be worth well over $1 billion at some point in her life. When Rolling Stone asked about Julia’s future inheritance, she denied reports of her 10-figure net worth but acknowledged that her father’s business was indeed worth billions.
Julia’s relatives still control the family business. Her father’s cousin Robert Louis-Dreyfus was the chairman and CEO of Adidas from 1994 to 2004 and then took the reigns at the Louis Dreyfus Group. Upon Robert’s death in 2009, his widow Margarita Louis-Dreyfus inherited his estate and took control of the Louis Dreyfus Group. Immediately after his death, Margarita’s net worth was close to $10 billion. Today she is worth $4 billion. So Margarita and Julia are second cousins, once removed, by marriage.
For the first several seasons of “Seinfeld,” supporting cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, and Jason Alexander earned a nominal amount of money for their work on the show. They successfully negotiated raises before season 5 in 1993 that had them each earning $150,000 per episode, roughly $3.8 million per season. In May 1997, the supporting cast members held out for a massive raise, hoping for $1 million per episode. The network countered with $200,000, then $400,000. They ended up receiving $600,000 per episode for the show’s final season, which worked out to around $15 million apiece. That’s the same as earning around $24 million today. In total, before inflation, the supporting cast members earned approximately $45 million in base salary from “Seinfeld.”
Seinfeld Syndication Earnings
Contrary to popular belief, Julia, Michael, and Jason do not make significant amounts of money from “Seinfeld’s” syndication deals which have totaled nearly $4 billion as of this writing. In order to make money from syndication sales, one needs to have equity ownership percentage points on the show. The supporting cast did not ever receive backend points on the show. They do receive royalties from when the show airs, but these payments equate to hundreds of thousands per year at most, not millions as many assume. By contrast, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld each earned $250 million in 1998 alone from syndication sales. Even a full decade later, Larry and Jerry were earning at least $50 million per year from syndication points. While they were denied backend points in 1997, they were able to negotiate profit-sharing points on the DVD sales which resulted in a moderate windfall back when people bought DVDs.
For the final seasons of “Veep,” Julia was paid $500,000 per episode. With endorsement deals and other income sources, she earned around $8 million per year during her “Veep” years, enough to make her one of the five highest-paid TV actresses in the world.
Born January 13, 1961, in New York City, Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus is the eldest daughter of billionaire financier <strong>Gerard Louis-Dreyfus</strong>. Gerard is the French-born former Chairman of the Louis-Dreyfus Group. He is worth $4 billion. Julia’s great-great-grandfather, Léopold Louis-Dreyfus, founded the Louis-Dreyfus Group, an international commodities and shipping conglomerate, in 1851. Julia’s parents divorced when she was one. Her mother remarried L. Thompson Bowles, Dean of George Washington Medical School, and relocated her to Washington, DC when Julia was four. Julia spent her childhood moving between different states and countries, including Columbia and Tunisia, in connection with her stepfather’s work with Project HOPE. In 1979 she graduated from Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland.
She attended Northwestern University but dropped out before graduating to pursue an acting career. She appeared in Chicago’s improv group The Second City as part of her comedic training. At the age of 21, she landed a spot on the cast of Saturday Night Live after being discovered while performing with The Practical Theatre Company at their Golden 50th Anniversary Jubilee. At that time, Louis-Dreyfus was the youngest female cast member in the history of the show. She stayed with the show from 1982-1985. In her third and final year on SNL, she met Larry David (who would later co-create “Seinfeld”) during his only year on the show. After she left the show, she appeared in several high-profile movies, including Woody Allen’s 1986 “Hannah and Her Sisters.” She appeared alongside Chevy Chase in 1989’s “Christmas Vacation.” Julia also appeared in a couple of television pilots that never made it to fruition.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus became a household name in the early ’90s when she began appearing on NBC’s “Seinfeld” as Elaine Benes. She appeared in almost every single episode, minus three, for nine seasons. She didn’t appear in the pilot because her character wasn’t originally supposed to be in the show. It was only after the pilot that NBC execs felt Seinfeld was too male-centric and requested that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld write a role for a woman. Louis-Dreyfus was met with universal critical acclaim for her performance. She regularly won and was nominated for prestigious awards. In 1996, she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, after being nominated seven times. On May 14th, 1998, Seinfeld’s series finale aired and was one of the most-watched television events in history.
Life after Seinfeld
In the years after “Seinfeld,” Julia experienced what the media nicknamed the “Seinfeld Curse” – cancellations of pilots and short-lived television shows. The Seinfeld Curse was a general speculation that none of the former Seinfeld actors could ever achieve that level of success again. She dismissed the phenomenon as ridiculous, as did Larry David. Julia finally found short-term success with a guest role on “Arrested Development” in 2005.
Things began to look way up for Louis-Dreyfus in 2005 when she was cast in a new CBS sitcom, “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” It was a ratings winner and Louis-Dreyfus won another Emmy for her performance, along with several other nominations. The show was canceled after five seasons, in May 2010.
Next up, Julia played Vice President Selina Meyer in the comedy “Veep,” which ran from 2012 to 2019. The show was wildly successful and was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comedies on HBO. Louis-Dreyfus won six consecutive Emmy awards for her portrayal of the vice president. In 2020, it was announced that Julia had signed a deal with Apple TV+. Under her deal, she will be developing new content and projects for Apple TV, as well as working as an executive producer and actress.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus starred in 2020’s comedy-drama “Downhill” alongside Will Ferrell. The film was released in February and premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She also voiced the elf mother in Pixar’s “Onward” that featured Tom Holland and Chris Pratt.
In 2021, Louis-Dreyfus hit the Marvel universe appearing in the Disney+ series “The Falcon and the WInter Soldier” as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. She reprised the role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in 2022 and is set to appear in the upcoming “Thunderbolts” film in 2024.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been married to comedian Brad Hall since 1987. They met while studying at Northwestern University and today they have two children together, sons Henry and Charlie. Henry Hall is a singer/songwriter who has performed on “The Tonight Show,” and Charlie Hall is a television actor. Julia recently revealed that her first pregnancy, around the time “Seinfeld” premiered, ended in a miscarriage.
Louis-Dreyfus’ maternal half-sister, Lauren Bowles, is also an actress. Julia also has two paternal half-sisters, Phoebe and Emma. Emma passed away in August of 2018. Julia’s cousin, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, is the former CEO of Adidias and the owner of the Olympique de Marseille football club.
In September 2017, Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received her diagnosis just one day after winning an Emmy for her role in “Veep” and announced it via Twitter. In October 2018, during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” she announced she was cancer-free. As far as her political beliefs, she endorsed the presidential campaigns of Al Gore, Barack Obama both times, and Hillary Clinton.