From Orlando Bloom to Martin Freeman to Elijah Wood – Here are the 13 richest cast members of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit – At no 2, with a net worth of $60 million is Ian McKellen who played the fan-favorite Gandalf.

From Andy Serkis and Elijah Woods, to Cate Blanchett and Luke Evans – whether or not you’d heard of these actors before Lord of the Rings doesn’t matter, they all went on to even greater stardom afterwards. Photos: Reuters, @AF_ElijahWood/Twitter, Getty Images

Fantasy fans can once again travel back to Middle Earth and revisit their favourite characters in the new Amazon spin-off The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

According to Vanity Fair, Amazon shelled out a whopping US$1 billion for a five season deal signed in 2017 for the television rights. The new drama is set thousands of years before Tolkien’s groundbreaking trilogy.

It’s been 21 years since the first LOTR film series was released and 10 years since The Hobbit and, needless to say, the films’ spellbinding cast members have been propelled to major global fame and earned themselves hefty pay cheques for their involvement in the franchise, too.

In conjunction with the new show’s release, we thought to take a look at the OG casts’ net worths, ranked from the most modest (still an impressive US$5 million), to the richest, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Lee Pace in a scene from his latest film, which also stars Pete Davidson, Bodies Bodies Bodies. Photo: A24 via AP

The American actor (yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking Pace is British) recently announced that he had married boyfriend Matthew Foley and would “love to have kids”, according to People magazine.

Pace starred as Thranduil the Elven king in The Hobbit trilogy and has reportedly amassed a US$5 million net worth. Pace has also appeared in a handful of other successful movie franchises including Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Aside from acting, stylish British actor Luke Evans models for Versace and sings. Photo: Getty Images for Mr Porter

12. Luke Evans – US$9 million
The hunky British actor has appeared in almost 50 productions to date, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Fast and Furious 6 to the The Hobbit as Bard the Bowman. He’s also part of the cast of Disney’s upcoming live action remake of Pinocchio with Tom Hanks.

The 43 year old has also dabbled in music, even releasing an album titled “At Last” in 2019 and starred in a Versace eyewear campaign that same year. Evans has a reported net worth of US$9 million.

Actor Dominic Monaghan’s LOTR bromance caused much speculation among fans. Photo: Handout

11. Dominic Monaghan – US$12 million
Who can forget Monaghan as Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, and his famous bromance with Peregrin “Pippin” Took, which became a well-documented fan favourite?

After LOTR, he starred in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and appeared in the critically acclaimed TV show Lost (2004). He even featured in the music video for Eminem and Rihanna’s Love the Way You Lie opposite Megan Fox, and a podcast with his former castmate Billy Boyd (who played Pippin) called The Friendship Onion.

Actor and director Andy Serkis astonished audiences with his portrayal of Gollum via CGI. Photo: Reuters

10. Andy Serkis – US$18 million
“My precious” … Serkis broke the mould when he performed as Gollum in the LOTR trilogy through CGI motion-capture technology. The British actor reprised the role in The Hobbit film series, too, and reportedly took home US$1 million for the role.

As one of the highest-earning actors of all time, it’s no surprise that Serkis has a reported net worth of US$18 million thanks to his roles in LOTR, Planet of the Apes, the new Star Wars sequels as well as Marvel’s Ulysses Klaue, who we first met in the Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

He has also directed a number of films – including Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) – and is set to direct the animated adaptation of Orwell’s Animal Farm next.

Also read -  A million-dollar sneaker collection, custom supercars and more - 5 things that will blow your mind about this seriously rich kid from Dubai

Martin Freeman played Bilbo Baggins thanks to director Peter Jackson rearranging the filming schedule for him. Photo: Handout

9. Martin Freeman – US$20 million
Another British actor who has appeared in both Marvel films and the LOTR series is Martin Freeman. Originally known for playing Tim in the UK version of The Office, and then for having a storyline in Love Actually, Freeman’s global breakout role was playing doctor John Watson in the Sherlock series opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.

According to the UK’s Metro newspaper, Freeman almost lost out on the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit due to his filming commitments with Sherlock. Fortunately, director Jackson rearranged the film shoot to accommodate him doing both projects.

Elijah Wood started out in a Paula Abdul music video and went on to earn a fortune thanks to his role in Lord of the Rings as Frodo Baggins. Photo: @AF_ElijahWood/Twitter

8. Elijah Wood – US$20 million
If Daniel Radcliffe had Harry Potter then Elijah Wood had LOTR to propel him to stratospheric stardom.

The American actor was only 20 when he played the role of Frodo Baggins in 2001 and now the actor’s 21 years on the big screen have earned him an impressive net worth of US$20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

But few know that Wood’s very first on-screen appearance was in Paula Abdul’s 1989 Forever Your Girl music video. Perhaps it was this early exposure to the music scene that influenced him to set up his own record label, Simian Records, back in 2005. He is also a DJ and film producer.

Game of Thrones star Sean Bean got into hot water recently for decrying on-set intimacy coordinators. Photo: AP

7. Sean Bean – US$20 million
Sean Bean may have become better known in the fantasy realm through his role as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, but the first time he played a prominent character in the genre was of course as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

The British actor has a reported net worth US$20 million and recently caused controversy when he said in an interview with The Times that he wasn’t a fan of having intimacy coordinators on set because they “spoil the spontaneity” of such scenes.

Orlando Bloom – aka Legolas – now lives a low key life with Katy Perry in California. Photo: Getty Images for Louis Vuitton

6. Orlando Bloom – US$40 million
These days, Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom is better known for being Katy Perry’s husband, making it easy to forget that he once ruled the early noughties as Legolas in the LOTR trilogies and then as Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean films opposite Keira Knightley.

Now the actor is worth around US$40 million, and in 2020, he and Perry bought a US$14.2 million mansion in Montecito, according to multiple sources. The gorgeous 1920s estate covers 7,000 sq ft and has six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, a pool, cabana and tennis courts for the power couple to enjoy.

Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May – both the Marvel and LOTR franchises have served the actor well. Photo: Reuters

5. Benedict Cumberbatch – US$40 million
You may not remember seeing Cumberbatch in any of the Lord of the Rings films, but you may remember hearing his distinct voice. The British thespian lent his vocal cords to the dragon Smaug in two of The Hobbit films. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug made US$960 million at the box office worldwide.

Cumberbatch is regarded as one of his generation’s most talented actors, but he is also a generous philanthropist and has used his name to show support for many charities as well as being their benefactors. He has amassed a reported net worth of US$40 million.

Also read -  They gave it all up for love - 12 royals who abdicated their thrones to marry commoners

Viggo Mortensen starred as Tony Lip alongside Mahershala Ali in Academy Award-winning film Green Book. Photo: Universal Studios

4. Viggo Mortensen – US$40 million
The enigmatic Mortensen found mainstream success after playing Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings films. The Danish-American actor then starred in a slew of critically acclaimed films including The Road (2009), A Dangerous Method (2019) and the Oscar-winning film Green Book (2019).

If it weren’t for his son Henry – who is a big fan of Tolkien’s books – the star reportedly wouldn’t have played Aragorn, as he was concerned by the length of time he would be away from his son filming in New Zealand. Henry convinced his father to take the role and even got to appear in the film as the first orc at the Battle of Pelennor Fields, Celebrity Net Worth reported.

Actress Liv Tyler rose to fame in Armageddon and then got the part of Arwen in the LOTR trilogy. Photo: AP

3. Liv Tyler – US$50 million
Scoring the part of ethereal elf Arwen, Liv Tyler returned for her first major role after Armageddon (1998) in the Lord of the Rings films.

Since her elven days, Steven Tyler’s daughter has starred in a range of films and TV shows such as HBO’s The Leftovers (2014) and 9-1-1: Lone Star (2020).

But did you know that Tyler took her prosthetic elf ears home after Lord of the Rings wrapped, only to find them melted on the dashboard of her car due to heat, according to CinemaBlend? Whoops!

Ian McKellen’s Gandalf character in Lord of the Rings became so iconic he was even offered huge sums of money to officiate a wedding. Photo: Shutterstock

2. Ian McKellen – US$60 million
Another big name to join the globally successful trilogies was British heavyweight thespian Ian McKellen, who played fan favourite Gandalf.

The veteran theatre actor has a reported net worth of US$60 million and took home a total of US$14 million from the first two films, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

McKellen could have padded his bank account with another US$1.5 million in 2016, but he opted not to. He reportedly turned down billionaire Napster founder Sean Parker’s request to officiate his wedding dressed as Gandalf. McKellen told British media, “I said, ‘I am sorry, Gandalf doesn’t do weddings.’”

Cate Blanchett is the richest of all the former Lord of the Rings cast, with an impressive US$90 million to her name. Photo: Reuters

1. Cate Blanchett – US$90 million
The Australian beauty ranks first on the list with her well-deserved US$90 million net worth. From Thor to Lord of the Rings to Ocean’s Eight, Blanchett is one of the most versatile actors around and made a fortune from her role choices.

According to Forbes, she earned over US$12.5 million in 2018, and seeing how Blanchett is still one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses, starring in three to four film or television shows per year, her income will only have gone up since then.

Just like Tyler, the 53-year-old actress brought home a pair of her prosthetic ears from set, reportedly at her husband’s request, according to Slash Film. After appearing in The Hobbit film series, too, Blanchett was then gifted a box of prosthetic elf ears by the crew.

She told Daily Telegraph, “They’re not full ears either – they’re little prosthetic tips that fit on the top of your ears to make the point. But they’re cute – and a bit weird.”

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

Tags from the story
Written By
First published in 1903, the South China Morning Post is Hong Kong’s premier English language newspaper, providing news 24/7, in-depth and quick scan reads, informative infographics, critical analysis, community discussions plus access to the most comprehensive news archive in Hong Kong. Over the decades it has built an enviable reputation for authoritative, influential and independent reporting on Hong Kong, China and the rest of Asia.