So many great characters have been killed off because the actor asked for a raise.
Advocating for yourself at work is important, and that includes your salary.
It also extends to Hollywood. Actors — in both big roles and small ones — have had their requests for a pay bump denied.
Here are 15 actors who quit or were fired after asking for more money:
Terrence Howard — who had a three-picture deal with Marvel — played Rhodey/War Machine in Iron Man. However, during sequel negotiations, he was only offered 12.5% of the salary he’d initially been promised.
On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, he said, “It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man…took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”
So, Howard left the project, and Don Cheadle took over the role.
Following the success of The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Hilary Duff was in negotiations with Disney for a sequel.
Initially, Disney promised her a $500,000 bonus once the first movie made $50 million. However, Susan Duff wanted her daughter to receive the bonus immediately.
So, Disney chose to withdraw the entire offer for a sequel, costing Hilary the $4 million salary she would’ve had as well as the bonus.
Valerie Harper starred as Valerie Hogan on the Lorimar Productions sitcom Valerie for two seasons.
As the show’s ratings increased, she requested a pay raise to $100,000 per episode as well as 35% of the adjusted gross profits. Lorimar turned her down, so she stopped showing up for work.
She returned to set when they compromised at $65,000 an episode and 12.5% of the profits. However, a week later, they fired her.
The show was renamed Valerie’s Family and continued into the third season without her. Her character was killed off, and Sandy Duncan joined the cast as Sandy Hogan, Valerie’s sister-in-law.
Grace Park played Officer Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons.
Her salary was reportedly 10-15% lower than what her costars Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin received, so before the eighth season, she sought pay equity.
However, when she and CBS were unable to reach an agreement, she decided to leave the show.
Park’s Hawaii Five-0 costar Daniel Dae Kim — who played Detective Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly for seven seasons — also sought equal pay with Caan and O’Loughlin, who also reportedly receive a percentage of the show’s profits.
He, too, declined to return for the eighth season when his request for pay equity wasn’t met.
Hugo Weaving played Johann Schmidt/Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also signed a three-picture deal with the promise that “the money would grow each time.”
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo asked him to reprise the role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. However, the money they offered him was “much less than [he] got for the very first one, and this was for two films.”
In the movies, Red Skull was recreated through CGI. Ross Marquand voiced him after filming, so they used stand-ins on set.
Suzanne Somers played Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company for five seasons.
In 1980, she asked for her salary to be raised from $30,000 an episode to $150,000 so her pay would match what costar John Ritter made. However, ABC only offered a $5,000 raise.
The day before Somers and her husband/manager Alan Hamel went back to renegotiate, he got a call from a friend with connections at the network: “They’re going to hang a nun in the marketplace, and the nun is Suzanne.”
Somers was fired from the show, and Jenilee Harrison was brought in as Cindy Snow, Chrissy’s cousin.
Lauren Cohan played Maggie Greene on The Walking Dead from 2011-2018.
After her first contract was up, it was time to renegotiation with AMC. She reportedly asked for equal pay with her male costars.
However, the negotiations left her feeling “in some ways surprised,” so she “took that, how baffled [she] was, and thought, ‘Okay, well that’s a sign. This is maybe just not a fit anymore.'”
When she left the show, however, she also left the door open for her character to return. In 2020, she returned, and she’s still there.
Robert Duvall played Tom Hagen in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.
However, he didn’t return for The Godfather Part III because of how much more costar Al Pacino was paid.
“I said I would work easily if they paid Pacino twice what they paid me, that’s fine. But not three or four times, which is what they did,” he told CBS.
In 1996, Will Smith played Captain Steven Hiller in Independence Day.
When director Roland Emmerich started proposing ideas for a sequel in 2011, Smith reportedly requested $50 million for a two-picture deal.
In 2016, Emmerich finally made a sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. However, Smith wasn’t invited back “because he’s too expensive.” Liam Hemsworth played the new lead character.
Maggie Roswell voiced Maude Flanders on The Simpsons from 1990-1999.
She asked Fox to raise her salary from $1,500-$2,000 an episode to $6,000. However, Fox only offered her an extra $150 — which didn’t even cover her flights from her home in Denver to the recording studio in Los Angeles.
So, she quit, and Maude was killed off in the 2,000th episode “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily.”
However, in 2002, Roswell reached a deal with Fox. Since then, she’s been voicing Maude in flashbacks and as a ghost.
Bruce Willis played Mr. Church in The Expendables and The Expendables 2.
He was supposed to reprise the role in The Expendables 3. Reportedly, his initial salary was $3 million for four consecutive days on set in Bulgaria. However, the actor requested $4 million instead.
Director Sylvester Stallone denied his request, so Willis dropped out of the movie. Within 72 hours, Harrison Ford was cast in his place.
Benicio del Toro was director J.J. Abrams’ first choice to play Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.
Del Toro entered into talks with Paramount, but he ultimately passed on the deal because of money.
The role went to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Jonah Hill was in talks to play the Riddler in The Batman.
However, he reportedly asked for a $10 million salary — twice as much as the lead, Robert Pattinson, made.
He and Warner Bros. failed to reach a deal, and the role went to Paul Dano.
And finally, Tobey Maguire played Peter Parker in Spider-Man (2002), but he almost wasn’t in the sequel.
He reportedly wanted to negotiate a higher salary for the sequel. During pre-production, Columbia felt the back problems he reported were actually a negotiation tactic.
So, to keep the ball rolling, they recast him with Jake Gyllenhaal, who was also dating Maguire’s costar/ex-girlfriend Kirsten Dunst at the time.
However, Ron Meyer, the then-Vivendi Universal president and Maguire’s future father-in-law, helped him get the role back.