“My grandfather lent me $15,000 and I had no citizenship”: Stephen Amell’s Origin Story is the Polar Opposite of Arrow’s Oliver Queen

Unlike the character he played for eight seasons, Stephen Amell did not receive everything on a platter and worked hard for his success as an actor.

stephen amell as arrow’s oliver queen


  • Stephen Amell played the role of Oliver Queen / Green Arrow, for almost a decade, becoming a household name in the process.
  • In an interview, Amell talked about his humble background revealing he borrowed money from his grandfather to pursue acting in Los Angeles.
  • Amell was also paid lesser than his co-stars for earlier seasons of Arrow, contrasting the wealthy background of the character he his synonymous with.
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Stephen Amell led the cast of Arrow for nine seasons, becoming the face of The CW’s Arrowverse, which lasted for almost a decade. Amell is known for playing the role of Oliver Queen, playboy billionaire by day and vigilante by night. However, Amell’s own life trajectory is nothing like that of the character he embodied for eight seasons.

Stephen Amell as Green Arrow
Stephen Amell starred as Oliver Queen / Green Arrow for eight seasons of Arrow.

During an interview, Amell opened up about his early struggles to make it as an actor and had to fight hard to make a name for himself. As a result, Amell’s origin story is in stark contrast to that of the character that made him a household name. Here is what Stephen Amell has said about his initial struggles in Hollywood and how they contrast Oliver Queen’s story.

Stephen Amell Talks Early Struggles Before Landing Arrow Role

Stephen Amell debuted as Oliver Queen / Green Arrow in Arrow in 2012 and continued playing the character until the show ended in 2020. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Amell was asked if he was frightened about his longest-running acting job coming to an end.

Arrow Stephen Amell Oliver Queen 3
Stephen Amell confessed that he initially struggled to make it as an actor in Hollywood.

In response, Amell stated that while he was frightened, he felt less fearful compared to the time when he first moved to LA to pursue an acting career. He stated:

“But then I remember that I was able to move to L.A. in 2010 because my grandfather lent me $15,000 and I had no citizenship, I had nothing.”

Amell made the above statement, shedding light on his humble beginnings. The actor is a Canadian native, and moved to Los Angeles, in 2010, after appearing in recurring roles on several shows since early 2004. Moreover, Amell did not have any family connections in Hollywood, making it difficult for him to pursue an acting career.

Stephen Amell and Oliver Queen Are Polar Opposites When It Comes to Amassing Their Wealth

Despite Amell’s early struggles, his fortunes changed when he landed the role of Oliver Queen / Green Arrow. Through his role in Arrow, which lasted eight seasons, and brought around other career opportunities, Amell has amassed a reported net worth of roughly $7 Million. However, unlike the character he played, Amell had to work hard to make his fortune.

Arrow Stephen Amell Oliver Queen
Stephen Amell’s career struggles contrast that of Oliver Queen’s wealthy background.

During an appearance on the podcast Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum, Amell revealed that his initial deal for playing the lead role in Arrow earned him a significantly lesser salary compared to some of his co-stars, especially during the earlier seasons of the show.

“Up until the end of the second season, I was the fourth- or fifth-highest-paid cast member”

Amell made the above statement, adding that since it was his first lead role and he did not have a quote, he made less money than some of his co-stars. However, as the series progressed, Amell became a household name. Amell became synonymous with the role of the Emerald Archer and received a significant bump up in his paycheck.

In contrast, Oliver Queen is born a billionaire, the son of a wealthy businessman from Star City. On the other hand, Amell comes from a humble background and worked several odd jobs, including one as a spin instructor, before making it big as an actor.


Amell is set to lead the cast of Suits L.A, a spin-off of the popular USA Network series Suits. He also most recently reprised the role of Green Arrow for the final season of The Flash, which aired in 2023, and starred in Code 8: Part II on Netflix.

Arrow is streaming on Max and Netflix.

Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 644

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.