Just because an actor retires from the big screen or the stage, doesn’t mean their bank account has to take a hit. In fact, many retired actors find new and creative ways to make money!

So how do retired actors make money?

In this article, we will explore 5 different income sources that retired actors often use. We will also discuss how you can get started in each of these fields.

So, whether you’re just starting out in your acting career or are thinking about retirement, read on for some great tips!

How Do Retired Actors Make Money?

Unlike actors who are still working but have no work, retired actors have experience under their belt. They often have contacts and connections that they can use to their advantage. They often have skills (other than acting) that they have acquired over a long career.

Leveraging these skills, experiences, and connections, here are 5 income sources that retired actors often pursue:

  1. Acting Coaching and Teaching
  2. Voice Over Work
  3. Commercials
  4. Writing and Directing
  5. Product Endorsements

Let’s look at each of these more closely.

#1. Acting Coaching and Teaching

Though their days of being in the limelight may be behind them, many retired actors find ways to give back to the craft that they love by coaching and teaching. Acting coaches can help up-and-comers hone their skills, while those with a passion for teaching can find work at universities and other institutions.

In this way, even after retirement, these performers can stay connected to the industry that they love. The great thing about both coaching and teaching is that it’s flexible; you can pick your hours and your location, which means that it’s easier to balance all aspects of life.

#2. Voice Over Work

One way that many retired actors make money is through voice-over work. This can involve recording audio books, being the voice of a character in an animated film or video game, or even doing commercial work.

Certain types of voice-over work can be fantastic for retiree actors because they can do their job from anywhere, making it perfect for those who want to live a nomadic lifestyle.

They don’t need to have an office space, and they’ll only need their own equipment if they plan on working with commercials or recording other people’s voices at some point.

Many actors even when they are between gigs, earn money as voice artists.

#3. Commercials

Many retirees find that they can make some extra money by appearing in commercials. This can be a great way to supplement their income and stay active in their retirement. Plus, it can be a lot of fun! For example, John Travolta has made more than $100 million from his various endorsement deals.

All brands need is exposure, and they know that even retired actors can offer a lot of those, especially now that they can easily get to a fan base on social media. So, retired actors and celebrities in other fields still bag a lot of endorsement deals worth millions of dollars.

#4. Writing and Directing

Many actors make the transition to writing and directing once they’ve retired from acting. This can be a great way to stay involved in the industry and continue to earn an income.

Numerous former actors have found success in this field, including Alan J. Pakula, Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, Nora Ephron, John Singleton, Ron Howard, and Quentin Tarantino.

Directing has also proven to be lucrative for some celebrities with George Clooney making $6 million for his role as director of The Monuments Men.

As actor-turned-director Robert Redford put it: I couldn’t afford to direct. Upcoming talents in the industry will always appreciate the experience retired actors can bring to the directing scene as well as the writing department. 

#5. Product Endorsements

One way that retired actors can make money is through product endorsements. By using their celebrity status to promote a product, they can earn a decent paycheck.

Product endorsements can be a great way for retired actors to stay in the public eye and when you’re often in the public eye, endorsement deals aren’t always difficult to come by.

When it comes to former actors who have been successful in this field, there are many examples such as Betty White (commercials), Joan Rivers (commercials), Tony Bennett (commercials), and Michael Jordan (Gatorade).

Product endorsement contracts usually only last for one year so these opportunities don’t last forever. They will also depend on how much an actor is willing to give up control of their image.


Even after actors retire, they still retain many income generation opportunities open to them. Many retired actors turn to teaching and coaching acting.

Some others offer their voice talent to different projects and become voice-over artists. Well-known actors also do commercials while those who want to remain in the film business may try their skills at writing and directing.

And finally, famous actors are often recruited (even before they retire) to endorse products.