Although Hollywood witnessed some pretty unusual people rising to fame, nothing compares to the Belgian actor and retired martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme. Evidently rising to fame during the late 80s and early 90s, Van Damme was all over the place, appearing in popular action films, attending awards ceremonies, and even featuring in entertainment shows.
Being a bonafide superstar with multiple honors throughout his career, Jean-Claude Van Damme was also a good friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thus, appearing in movies and making a reputation out of his martial arts skills, Van Damme soon started charging twenty-four times more in just 3 years, than what he was initially being paid.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Journey To International Fame
Appearing in Hollywood with the ambition to be an actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme desperately looked for his big break during his initial years. Before becoming a major action star, Van Damme clearly sought out his martial arts abilities that helped him stand out in the industry. Thus, eventually, the actor was cast as the main villain in Predator, although he didn’t appear on the big screen as he was evidently fired.
Failing to perform his martial arts in the suit designed for him, Jean-Claude Van Damme couldn’t impress the director and was thus fired. Being in a vulnerable situation after losing his first big break, Van Damme mentioned, “I was living on the street, sleeping in cars and garages, sometimes I stole food.” desperate to have another opportunity, the actor stated, “I didn’t have good money. I took three thousand and I came to America. I was so starving for movies.”
Eventually, Jean-Claude Van Damme got his first big break, through Bloodsport (1988). Appearing in front of Menahem Golan, who co-owned Cannon Films, Van Damme kicked above his head to impress him and let his martial arts speak for him. Evidently impressed with his skills, Golan handed his card and left. Although the actor got the card, he still had to struggle and beg before he was given the $25K opportunity in Bloodsport. However, ever since then, Van Damme never had to look back, as he slowly made his way up the ladder and gained international fame.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Salary Hike In 3 Years
When Jean-Claude Van Damme was given the role in Bloodsport (1988), by Canon Films’ co-owner, he received a salary of $25k. However, with the 1988 movie turning him into a renowned star, Van Damme charged $75k for his next few movies like Black Eagle, Kickboxer, and Death Warrant. Constantly coming up with great movies after years of struggle, the actor realized his worth in the industry.
Befriending powerful people and superstars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme became a household name in the late 80s and early 90s. Increasing his salary thrice within one year of being in the industry, Van Damme started demanding more. Thus, after initially starting with $25k, the actor sought twenty-four times more salary in just 3 years.
Navigating his career into the early 90s, Jean-Claude Van Damme made $600k for his 1991 movie Double Impact. Raising his salary bar constantly, the actor ended up charging $1.5M for Universal Soldier in 1992. Finally entering his target of making millions like his co-stars, Van Damme began charging $3.5M for Hard Target and ended up seeking his career-high salary of $8M for Street Fighter. The actor thus bagged a net worth of $40M during his run from 1991 to 1995.
Source: Celebrity Net Worth