Why Was Sharon Stone Paying Leonardo DiCaprio Back In 1995?

Why Was Sharon Stone Paying Leonardo DiCaprio Back In 1995?
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Even the most popular actors didn’t have it all easy.


  • The Quick and the Dead (1995) by Sam Raimi was one of the first roles of Leonardo DiCaprio 's career.
  • At the time, the actor had already been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but it didn't convince the studios of his value.
  • The actress and executive producer of the film had to pay Leonardo DiCaprio's salary out of her own pocket to secure his involvement.

One thing is for sure about the acting profession: it is not for the weak-willed.

To be an actor, you have to dedicate your life, your free time, and your own money to a craft that may never pay off. With so much competition and so little chance of recognition, actors never have it easy in the beginning of their careers.

This is true not only for today's actors, but also for those who started out in the 90s. Some might even say that the rules of Hollywood were even stricter back then, and the people who made decisions had less heart and more strategy behind what they did.

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It's hard to blame the producers for wanting to create something not only of great cinematic value, but also profitable. After all, a big box office would provide better financing for future projects. But it's frightening to think how much wonderful talent we, the viewers, almost lost because of the unfair rules.

Leonardo DiCaprio Wasn’t Paid For The Quick and the Dead

It's hard to imagine someone of DiCaprio's caliber not getting paid now, unless it's his own decision to join some kind of low-budget independent production. Otherwise, there is no director or producer in Hollywood who would even suggest such a thing. A little less than three decades ago, however, the situation was drastically different.

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Back in 1995, when Sam Raimi's Western The Quick and the Dead starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio was released, it was Stone who had to pay the rising star's salary out of her own pocket, simply because the studio refused to do so.

The actress recalled the events of that production in her recently released memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice:

“This kid named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who nailed the audition, in my opinion: he was the only one who came in and cried, begging his father to love him as he died in the scene. The studio said if I wanted him so much, I could pay him out of my own salary. So I did,” she wrote.

This is not the first time that a Hollywood star has had to give up a portion of her earnings to ensure that her co-stars have the same working conditions, or at least those that are appropriate to their roles. Looking back on such stories, one can only admire the actress and understand SAG-AFTRA's demands for respecting actors' rights.

Fortunately, in 2023, Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't need an introduction, and he doesn't need anyone's paycheck cut to make ends meet. If you want to see the actor's latest work, you can get a ticket for Martin Scorsese 's Killers of the Flower Moon today.

Source: The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone