Oprah Winfrey’s Fee For The Color Purple Was Surprisingly Low

Oprah Winfrey’s Fee For The Color Purple Was Surprisingly Low
Image credit: Legion-Media, Warner Bros.

The actress calls this fee as the best she has ever received.


  • Although Oprah Winfrey is now one of the most successful people in the industry, one of her first paychecks was only $35,000 for The Color Purple.
  • Spielberg and Winfrey are ready to repeat their success with The Color Purple by co-producing the musical remake.

In the fall of 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show began airing in the US, featuring stars and people with extraordinary stories. The show became a cult favorite, and its hostess was destined to become a TV legend, a close friend to millions of viewers, and the first black female billionaire in history.

Now, Oprah Winfrey can easily afford to indulge her whims – giving up money for the benefit of colleagues and those in need. However, a year before her now iconic show hit screens, in 1985, Steven Spielberg 's film The Color Purple was released, and Oprah played one of the roles.

What Was Oprah Winfrey's Salary For Her Role in The Color Purple?

Knowing what an influential star Winfrey is today, the fee for this role seems surprisingly low – only $35,000.

We live in a reality where big stars like Oprah can make tens of millions of dollars for a few minutes in a movie. At the time of the filming of The Color Purple, however, Oprah was just beginning her acting career and played a supporting role.

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The actress and TV host never complained about such a relatively low salary – Oprah was just gaining popularity at the time. On the contrary, Winfrey said that those $35,000 were the best she ever received:

“I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to me – a person who wanted nothing more in my life than to be in The Color Purple. […] They were only offering $35,000 to be in this film, and it is the best $35,000 I ever earned.”

Spielberg created something very distinct from his usual flicks. It describes the struggles faced by a black woman living in the American South in the first part of the 20th century. In conflict with her father and family, she tries to protect herself and her identity.

As Winfrey explained in one of her interviews, The Сolor Purple is a story of perseverance, survival, and self-discovery.

Spielberg was able to find warmth and hope in Alice Walker 's hopeless, despairing book, but also was able to capture the terrible experiences of life in the rural South at the beginning of the last century.

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The director's work and the brilliant performances of the cast were rewarded with 11 Oscar nominations, though it won none.

The Color Purple Musical Remake's On Its Way

Now Spielberg, Winfrey and composer Quincy Jones are ready to repeat the success of their 1985 hit, but this time based on the successful 2005 Broadway musical. And this time, Oprah will be behind the scenes, serving as a co-producer on the new project.

The upcoming movie will offer a fresh interpretation of the well-known story of Celie's experiences as a black woman. The upcoming musical was written by Marcus Gardley, who previously worked on Maid and Foundation.

The new project will be released on December 25.

Are you waiting for the new adaptation of The Color Purple?

Source: Essense