There is a countless number of people in the world who are blind, unable to see the wonders and colors of the world before them. Thankfully, there is a spectacular organization which has taken the disability seriously and found a way to restore sight with a simple surgery.
The nonprofit organization, Himalayan Cataract Project, has been performing cataract surgeries throughout Asia and Africa since the 1990s. Two ophthalmologists were inspired to pursue the initiative after they saw firsthand how debilitating blindness is.
Cataracts can be cured by inserting miniature plastic lenses that properly focus the light into the patient’s eye. Apparently, half the people who suffer from blindness can have their sight restored with this simple procedure. Unfortunately, there is a lack of eye doctors in certain countries like Ethiopia and Nepal.
When the pair of physicians visited Nepal 30 years ago, the cheapest cataract lens cost a whopping $250. As the team started manufacturing the lenses locally, the price dropped to $25 per lens.
“Blindness is one of the neglected problems of global health but it’s also one of the few big problems that we can win,” said the co-founder of the organization. “From the first time I saw the miracle of cataract surgery on a totally blind patient, I realized that there is nothing else I can think of in the realm of medicine that is as cost-effective that we can do to really change lives instantaneously.”
The project has widely extended and currently operates in Ghana, Bhutan, India, Ethiopia, and a number of other countries. The clinic on average performs 200 cataract surgeries a day, each of which takes 4-20 minutes from start to end. After a 24-hour recovery period, patients can apply for a driver’s license vision test.
“The joy just comes through,” says Tabin. “The patches come off and it takes them a couple seconds to realize that they’re seeing … and then there’s this unbelievable smile.”
This Is How Much They Made From Commercials Alone
Have you ever wondered how much an actor could make from commercials alone? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average these roles make more per hour than any other type of actor. Here are 25 people who have made a huge amount of money acting only in commercials.
Laurel Coppock is best known as the bubbly and ambitious employee named Jan in the series of Toyota commercials. While she may have gained her fame from these advertisements, Coppock gained much of her wealth from acting and making guest appearances on multiple shows including Arrested Development, Modern Family, and The Office among plenty more. You might have even spotted her in the 2011 rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love. Today, at 42 years old, Coppock’s net worth is an estimated $1 million.
Vanessa Lynn Branch
Vanessa Lynn Branch is an English-born American actress and model. In the United States, though, Branch is actually best known as the Orbit Gum girl for the company’s series of TV commercials. Each ad features someone who has a “dirty mouth” of some sort. At the end of the commercial, Branch holds up a package of Orbit and recites one of the company slogans — “Fabulous! For a good, clean feeling. No matter what!” — before flashing her pearly whites at the camera. With these appearances and the various other projects Branch keeps herself busy with, her net worth is around $500,000.
T.J. Jagodowski, now 48-years-old, is an actor and improv performer. Jagodowski is most recognizable from one of the “Two Guys” on the long-running series of improvised Sonic Drive-In commercials. The iO Theater teacher and performer started making these commercial appearances in 2004. Not only has he made a fortune worth $600,000 according to CelebrityNetWorth.com, but he has also been named one of the “best improvers in Chicago” by the Chicago Improv Festival.
Diane Amos — actress, stand-up comedian, and the beloved Pine-Sol lady! Aside from her roles in films including Patch Adams, Amos experienced a taste of television when she competed on The Wheel of Fortune. It wasn’t until 1993 that she appeared in print and TV ads for Pine-Sol, the fragrant household cleaner. According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Amos allegedly made $250,000 from the commercials. During an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Amos said she takes pride in the fact that she is “one of the few national black spokespeople in the country.” And “that’s the power of Pine-Sol, baby!”
Peter Grosz — the other one of the “Two Guys” on the long-running series of improvised Sonic Drive-In commercials. Aside from the fast-food chain commercials, you may recognize Grosz from his television and film work some of which include the HBO comedy series Veep and Late Night with Stephen Colbert. With an estimated net worth of $600,000, Grosz spends most of his time behind-the-scenes as a writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has also written 189 episodes for The Colbert Report.
Melanie Paxson is an American actress known for roles including Jaclyn in Cupid, Sara Brennan in Happy Family, and as Julie in Notes from the Underbelly. Paxson was also in the 2015 Disney Channel TV Original Movie, Descendants, and its 2017 sequel, Descendants 2. Aside from her television and film work, the 47-year-old has appeared in various TV commercials since the early 2000’s. Starting to ring a bell? Paxson, commonly recognized for her voice, has been the hamburger-loving spokesperson for Red Robin since the mid-2000s. She has reportedly earned $50,249 for her part in the Red Robin commercials.
Isaiah Mustafa, better known as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” from the viral Old Spice commercials. An actor and former American football wide receiver, Mustafa gained sudden fame for the Old Spice advertising campaign in 2010. In 2015, Mustafa played alongside Terry Crews in the “Make a Smellmitment” commercial series, an advertising campaign created by Wieden+Kennedy for Old Spice in the United States. Since signing with the male grooming brand, Mustafa has made a whopping $5 million in no time.
Dennis Haysbert is an American actor that has made appearances on various TV and film projects. But he’s perhaps better known for his deep and powerfully booming voice not to mention his presence in the long-running national commercials for Allstate. Haysbert has been an official spokesperson for Allstate Insurance Company since 2004. His commercials typically end with “That’s Allstate’s stand. Are you in good hands?” Thanks to his past roles and the long-running national commercials, Haysbert is sitting comfortably on around $14 million.
A member of Saturday Night Live since 2013, Beck Bennett was first recognized for the AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” commercial campaign where he interviewed children. Prior to gaining fame, Bennett did comedy and improv acting in college. Aside from his SNL gig, Bennett is one of the co-founders of the comedy sketch group, Good Neighbor. In 2011, he created a fake news show called Fresh Perspectives. The 35-year-old has also done some film work including Acting Like Adults and The Party Is Over.
Tim Leigh Williams, now 53-years-old, is an American actor. He has been in films including Valkyrie, Ninja Assassin, and Labyrinth of Lies. Williams has also played a few different roles on German television and film. With that being said, most people recognize him for his appearances in the commercial advertisements for Trivago, a website that compares hotel prices all around the world. Considering that all Williams has to do is stand in front of a green screen as images and graphics float by, his paycheck ain’t too shabby. The actor is reportedly worth $5 million.
Do you remember the nights when you couldn’t fall asleep so you’d turn the TV on at four in the morning to help you fall back asleep? There was usually nothing on except for those infomercials so, “The ShamWow Guy” or “The Slap Chop Guy” would lull you back to sleep. That guy is named Offer Shlomi, better known as Vince Offer or Vince Shlomi, and he’s an Israeli-American infomercial pitchman. Thanks to these television commercials, Vince is reportedly worth $2 million.
Colin Ferguson is a Canadian-American actor, director, and producer. In January 2014, Ferguson became the newest “Maytag Man” where he plays the role of the appliance in the latest Maytag ad campaign. Before he starred in advertisements for this home and commercial appliance brand, Ferguson was an improvisation comic. He has also been cast in many different TV series and films. He was the lead in Eureka, a Syfy original series, which ran for five seasons. Ferguson is reportedly worth $8 million.
Charles Esten, known professionally as Chip Esten, has had a long career in the entertainment industry. Perhaps Esten is best known for his portrayal as country singer Deacon Claybourne on the musical drama TV series, Nashville. Before that, Esten was a regular on the improvisation show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? between 1999–2005. What you may have not known, though, is that Esten also plays a white-bearded man named Carl Hardee Sr. in a series of advertisements for the Hardee’s-Carl’s Jr. fast-food restaurants. As of 2019, Esten is reportedly worth a cool $5 million.
Nicole Randall Johnson
Nicole Randall Johnson is a comedic actress and writer who is widely known as a recurring cast performer on the sketch comedy series MADtv. Johnson joined the cast in 2005 as a performer and went on to become a writer in the show’s eleventh season. In 2013, Johnson was hired to play the other one of the “DriveTime Girls” for the used car retailer and finance company, DriveTime. Thanks to these commercials and a long-standing career in the entertainment industry, Johnson has built up a net worth of $700,000.
Gillian Vigman, a comic actress, is notable for her work on the MADtv sketch comedy series. Aside from recurring television roles on sitcoms like New Girl, Vigman has been in a number of commercials. She is most recognizable for her role as “Jack’s Wife” in a series of commercials for Jack in the Box, a fast-food restaurant company. She has also done commercials for brands including Chase, DirectTV, Swiffer, and Hanes among various others. With her experience in the entertainment industry, Vigman now has a net worth of $500,000
Hallie Eisenberg, sister of actor Jesse Eisenberg, is a former actress who played Erika Tansy in How to Eat Fried Worms. In the 1990s and early 200o’s, though, Eisenberg was mostly recognized for her role as “The Pepsi Girl.” The context of the commercials, combined with Eisenberg’s innocence, made for one of the greatest advertising campaigns on TV. As the star of these national commercials, Eisenberg earned a royalty every time they aired, which happened to be thousands of times. She likely earned as much as $1 million during her time with Pepsi alone.
Patrick Warburton has been in the entertainment industry since the mid-eighties. An actor and voice artist, Warburton is widely recognized for voicing the character of Joe Swanson on Family Guy. He played David Puddy on Seinfeld and Jeb Denton on Less Than Perfect. Aside from various film and television projects, Warburton has also done commercial and advertising work. His voice has been used for many different brand ads. In 2015, Warburton became the star of a series of commercials for National Car Rental, which didn’t really hurt his $30 million net worth.
Wendy Kaufman — the name may not ring a bell but the face certainly will! Kaufman is better known as the Snapple Lady. She began working for the corporation in ’91 after her best friend’s father and one of the three founders of Snapple hired her as the spokesperson. Not only does Kaufman appear in all of their commercials but she was also one of the only employees to ever answer fan mail. Her enthusiastic and lively personality was a huge reason as to why Snapple sales in the ’90s shot up from $23 million to $750 million a year. Today, Kaufman is worth a cool $500,000.
Maria Bamford is not only a comedian and actress but she has also lent her voice to projects including American Dad, Spongebob Squarepants, and even Bojack Horseman among many others. Although she’s kept pretty busy over the years, Bamford gained more recognition playing the hyperactive and enthusiastic Target Lady. Playing this slightly neurotic, overachieving shopper largely contributed to Bamford’s net worth of $300,000. Bamford’s life is the subject of the 2016 Netflix series Lady Dynamite in which the actress herself plays the leading role. Her work has drawn both critical acclaim and controversy as her subject matter ranges from lighter to darker topics such as psychiatric conditions.
Most people recognize Angela Sarafyan for her roles in television shows like Judging Amy, Criminal Minds, and Westworld. She also played Tia in The Twilight’s Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2. Before she became a well-known actress, though, Sarafyan made a name for herself as The Umbrella Girl from Cingular Wireless commercials. Her salary for these ad appearances was $75,000. Today, at 35 years old, the American-Armenian actress is worth a whopping $6 million. Then again, that’s not much of a surprise considering all the work she’s done throughout the years.
Demetri Goritsas may have appeared in an array of major Hollywood blockbusters and cult TV series but there’s no forgetting that he also played the Slim Jim Guy for the jerky snack brand during the ’90s, for which he earned a $100,000 salary. Since these commercials, Goritsas has kept himself busy with various different projects including The Bourne Identity and X-Men First Class. He has also lent his voice as the narrator for the 2015 Nepal Quake: Terror on Everest documentary.
You may recognize Orlando Jones for his time on the sketch comedy series MADtv or for his role on Starz’s American Gods. What you may have not known, though, is that he also gained prominence as the 7-Up spokesperson from 1999 to 2002. Aside from acting and sketch comedy, Jones was also the screenwriter for an NBC comedy called A Different World. Although Jones earned $500,000 for the soft drink ads — which ain’t too shabby — today he has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
Although Valerie Bertinelli’s acting career began at 15 years old when she played Barbara Cooper Royer on the CBS television series One Day at a Time (1975-1984), she has been recognized as a TV personality in recent years. Not only has she hosted different cooking shows but she was also the spokesperson for the Jenny Craig program at one point. While she was paid for these appearances — $1.55 million for losing 47 pounds — Bertinelli considered herself a health and weight-loss activist rather than a hired weight-loss spokesperson.
While he may not be known as a commercial actor, Brad Pitt is certainly a solid actor in his own right. In any event, when Chanel came out with their perfume line — Chanel No. 5 — they chose Pitt to endorse the company, but not for nothing. It was reported that the high-end fashion company paid a massive $7 million to get the A-lister to appear in their commercial. It turns out that Pitt, an award-winning actor, was the first male to be featured in a Chanel No. 5 promotion.
We can’t talk about Brad Pitt without bringing up Angelina Jolie. Like her ex-husband, Jolie is an award-winning Hollywood star so it’s only fitting that Louis Vuitton hired her to advertise one of their bags. If you guys thought that Pitt was paid a lot for his Chanel advertisements, then you’ll be shocked to know that Louis Vuitton paid Jolie $10 million! Although the advertisement caused quite a bit of controversy, the fashion company immediately saw sales increase after plastering Jolie’s face with the brand name.
Before Carly Foulkes became known as the T-Mobile girl, Catherine Zeta-Jones was the face of the cellular service provider. It’s not surprising that the company paid her $20 million considering that sales skyrocketed once Zeta-Jones began endorsing the brand. Although T-Mobile eventually replaced her, the Welsh actress had been such a hit that they even offered for her to return and become the company spokesmodel. From the sounds of it, there’s no denying that this is definitely a success story for both Zeta-Jones and T-Mobile.
There’s no denying that Jay Z is one of the most popular stars in the entertainment industry. With that being said, it makes sense as to why any brand would hire the rapper to endorse their company. Samsung paid Jay Z $20 million to promote their Galaxy phone and it turns out that it was totally worth it. The cell phone company not only saw an immediate increase in online traffic but they also gained tons of social media followers after hiring the rapper.
You didn’t think we’d actually have Jay Z on the list without including Queen B, did you? Beyoncé is easily one of the most beloved and famous celebrities of our time. Not only does she exuberate talent and a fierce attitude but she also has a huge fan base along with an extensive amount of followers. With that being said, we can understand why Pepsi hired the singer for $50 million (yes — you read that right). Unfortunately, though, using the singer as the face of their brand didn’t do the trick and Pepsi sales ultimately decreased by 7%.
Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, is one of the best-selling rappers of our time. He also became one of the highest-paid celebrity endorsers when Reebok paid the performer $80 million to advertise their shoes! The face of their fashionable G Unit sneakers, 50 Cent earned a ton of money just to wear and model a free pair of shoes. Immediately after 50 Cent became the face of the brand, Rebook sales skyrocketed so much so that it was difficult for the company to even keep shoes in stock during the holiday seasons.
An English actor best known for his role as Max Branning in EastEnders, Jake Wood has been in the entertainment industry since the mid-eighties. He also played Rodney Trotter’s assistant in Only Fools and Horses, and Kill Crazy in Red Dwarf. Wood had provided the Cockney accent for the Geico Gecko for 10 years until he was axed because he refused a pay cut. Fans of Wood were not happy when the insurance company replaced the actor with a different voice but at least he’s still sitting on $3 million of cash.
Paul Marcarelli — does the name ring a bell? In 2001, stage actor Paul Marcarelli signed a contract with Verizon as the “Can You Hear Me Now?” Test man role. According to CelebrityNetworth.com, he made a whopping $10 million during the 10-year period. He filmed about forty commercials a year and was required to attend different events. Still, there was “a price to pay,” said Marcarelli during a 2011 interview with The Atlantic. “Don’t feel bad for me, but I’m definitely glad that chapter is over…. I still want to make something of value.”
Andrea Rosen is a veteran actor and comedian. She’s not only notable for her work with comedy troupes Stella and Variety Shac, but also for her appearances in numerous television commercials. She is the creator of Take Me to Your Mother, a documentary-style comedy on the Nick Jr. cable network. One of Rosen’s most memorable roles on TV advertising was in the mid-2000’s for the Yoplait commercial series. With that and other commercial work for brands like Bing.com, New York Lottery, Staples Office Supplies, Rosen is now worth $1.5 million.
Jonathan Kimble ‘J.K.’ Simmons — a guy we’ve all grown to know and love. Simmons is a critically-acclaimed actor recognized for roles in films including Whiplash, Juno, La La Land, and Spiderman. Surprisingly enough, though, Simmons has also worked in the field of television commercials. In 1996, in fact, Simmons took over for John Goodman and became the voice of the yellow M&M in the advertisements. Since 2010, Simmons has portrayed Professor Nathanial Burke of the University of Farmers in a series of funny television commercials for Farmers Insurance Group. Simmons is now worth $16 million according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.
Meet Carly Foulkes. In 2010, the 22-year-old took over for Catherine Zeta-Jones as T-Mobile’s spokeswoman. Canadian-born, Foulkes began modeling in Toronto when she was only 13 years old. Before she signed a contract with the popular mobile company, Foulkes did her fair share of print campaigns for brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Artistry Cosmetics, Express, Gilly Hicks, Kohls, Macys, Neiman Marcus, Rugby by Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Foulkes was originally paid $1 million annually. Today, she is allegedly worth $3 million dollars, thanks to her role as T-Mobile Girl.
Charles Stone III
Between 1999 and 2002, Charles Stone III was the face of Anheuser-Busch Budweiser beer. This campaign was quite popular with the term “Whassup?” catching on and becoming a popular pop culture phrase. Aside from acting in the Budweiser commercials, Charles Stone III was also credited as the writer and director of a short film called True. Popularly known as The Whassup Guy, Charles Stone III earned $8 million from the deal. He has gone on to work with entertainment giants like Nick Cannon and the late Bernie Mac.
Paul Frees made his name as The Pillsbury Doughboy, and not only did he make his name, he made $1 million as well. One of the best voice actors of his time, Paul Frees voiced Pillsbury Doughboy, the little white creature in many advertisements. Another interesting fact about Paul Frees is that he acted in a good number of Christmas movies, the most popular include Rudolph & Frosty, Jack Frost, and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.
It is quite common in the advertising industry for a celebrity to appear in a television commercial. However, having two famous pop culture figures in one ad is quite something. Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny appeared together in a Nike commercial in 1992, titled “Air Jordan and Hare Jordan” to promote a new line of shoes. Michael Jordan pocketed $1 million for what turned out to be a single ad.
Lucky Vanous took the television commercial world by storm when he appeared in a Diet Coke commercial. Appearing as a construction worker who took a break to down a can of Diet Coke, it is Vanous’ shirtless scene that made the ad a success. People could not stop talking about it. Lucky Vanous earned $1 million for his part in this ad, while also going on to appear in a number of other television commercials for Coke.
John Gilchrist Jr.
One of the youngest on this list at the time of their advertisement appearance, John Gilchrist Jr. appeared in one of the most famous commercials of all time as a toddler. John Gilchrist Jr. portrayed Little Mikey, a lover of Life Cereal, appearing alongside his brothers. Shot in 1974, the ad earned John Gilchrist Jr. the huge amount of $10 million, which is quite a fortune in today’s valuation.
How much do you get for playing the McDonald’s mascot? A stunning $10 million, if you are Willard Scott. A radio personality when he took on the role, Willard Scott’s great performance while filming three spots helped the brand grow into the global giant it is today. Willard Scott’s mascot remains by far the most colorful and energetic McDonald’s mascot.
Global brands like Pepsi only use the best when filming commercials, and hiring the best usually costs quite a sum. This explains why retired supermodel Cindy Crawford got paid $5 million for The Gas Station Pepsi ad. In one of the most recognizable commercials, Cindy Crawford can be seen downing a can of Pepsi in a gas station, looking quite stunning in her trim figure. Crawford famously recreated this in 2018 during the Super Bowl.
Popular actor and comedian Steve Harvey famously made a blunder at Miss Universe 2015 after announcing the wrong candidate as the winner. So, when T-Mobile approached him to appear in a commercial, he made sure to use the blunder to his advantage. What did he do? He blamed it on T-Mobile rivals, Verizon. This appearance, which was a surprise Super Bowl commercial, earned Steve Harvey a few million dollars.
Virgin Mobile employing the fastest man in the world (at the time) Usain Bolt for an ad about fast internet speed was a stroke of genius. Phone users are very particular about speed and using Usain Bolt, a man who knows all about speed, as the face of your brand was a big step in assuring them. Bolt’s fees were undisclosed but he surely made a couple million dollars off the deal.
Katherine Crown is a Canadian-American actress, voice actress, comedian, and writer. Crown is known for voicing Izzy in Total Drama and Fin in Stoked. In 2013, though, Crown was hired to play one of the two goofy “DriveTime Girls” in the ad campaign for the auto financing company. The commercials revolve around a couple of comically eccentric mobile credit approval agents “rescuing” potential car buyers rejected for financing by other auto dealers. These commercials have helped Crown reach a net worth of $1 million.
Morgan Smith-Goodwin might look familiar for her role in Veep but, before that, she starred in TV commercials for a little fast-food chain we all call Wendy’s. That’s right — Morgan is Red, “The Wendy’s Girl,” and is worth a cool $3 million.
Anyone that watches American television knows Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials. The actress that plays the bubbly car insurance representative goes by the name of Stephanie Courtney. She spent her twenties touring as a stage performer. Stephanie’s stage work led to stand-up, which led her to move to sunny California where she turned to commercials as a way to make quick money. She now allegedly makes $800,000 per year and is worth $5 million. She has also done TV work and had small roles in cable shows like Mad Men and The Comeback.
Jonathan Goldsmith, now eighty-one years old, got his start on the New York stage in the sixties. Then he kept himself busy with hundreds of television and film appearances. Eventually, though, he left acting to pursue network marketing but returned to the entertainment industry a short time later. It wasn’t long until he landed the part of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” for the Dos Equis beverage commercials. It may not be Old Hollywood but, according to The Richest, Goldsmith has easily earned $8 million just for that part alone.
Milana Vayntrub is an Uzbekistan-born American actress and comedian. Vayntrub has appeared in a number of short films and web series. She’s also had small roles in TV and film projects including the 2011 film, Life Happens, and the American sitcom, The League. With all of that, though, Vayntrub is best known as the Lily Adams character in a series of AT&T television commercials. That’s right — her bubbly and quirky personality has made us all crack a smile. Vayntrub is allegedly worth $3 million.
Known for his roles in Oz and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Dean Winters has been working in the entertainment industry since the mid-nineties. In 2009, however, Winters was diagnosed with a bacterial infection and pronounced dead in an ambulance. Although his vitals were restored, he had to spend three weeks in intensive care not to mention the various surgeries and amputations he underwent. Luckily, Allstate offered Winters the job at his lowest, ultimately breathing “new life in me and helped restore confidence in myself.” Winters is now allegedly worth $4 million thanks to the Mayhem campaign.