The Richest Downton Abbey Star Might Surprise You

Fans around the globe fell in love with British period drama "Downton Abbey" when it premiered in 2010. Town & Country said it best when they reported "that for so many Americans, Downton — set in a time and place when daily routines and duties were entirely different from today's plugged-in lives — was very much an escape." Following the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their sweeping English estate, the PBS show won over audiences and helped catapult the careers of many of its stars.

While some of the cast, like veteran actress Dame Maggie Smith, already had wildly successful acting careers in films like the "Harry Potter" series, newcomers such as Dan Stevens, who played Matthew, got their big breaks from the show. Indeed, many of the "Downton Abbey" cast members have gone on to star in blockbuster films and TV shows, like, for example, Lily James, who starred in Disney's "Cinderella." Long after the series has ended, the elegant world of "Downton Abbey" continues to fascinate audiences. After six seasons, fans still couldn't get enough, and two "Downton Abbey" movies were released, further boosting the careers of its stars. 

We're taking a look at the impressive fortunes of some of the "Downton Abbey" cast members and how they've earned it — and the wealthiest "Downton" actors might just surprise you.

Joanne Froggatt racked up awards for her Downton Abbey role

Joanne Froggatt is best remembered as Anna Bates, the loyal lady's maid of Lady Mary on "Downton Abbey" and wife to the house's valet, Mr. Bates. While American fans of the show likely weren't familiar with the actress before her "Downton" days, she has an impressive 54 acting credits to her name and had starred in a number of British TV shows since the late 1990s, such as the hugely popular soap opera "Coronation Street" and the BBC's "Robin Hood" (via IMDb). She went on to win a Golden Globe for her role as Anna, along with three Screen Actors Guild Awards for the "Downton Abbey" ensemble, and was also nominated for three Primetime Emmys over the years for her performance on "Downton Abbey."

Although audiences probably envision Froggatt in the maid outfit worn by Anna Bates, the actress has shown her acting chops in some very different roles than the period drama. After "Downton Abbey" wrapped in 2015, Froggatt has played the lead in everything from the BBC psychological thriller "Liar" to the TV mini-series "The Commons," and she's even  provided the voice of Wendy on "Bob the Builder," according to IMDb. We're sure that her estimated net worth of $2 million (per Celebrity Net Worth) will skyrocket with her popularity. The actress also runs a production company that she took over after divorcing her then-husband, James Cannon, according to the Express.

Jessica Brown Findlay broke fans' hearts as Lady Sybil

Although she was only part of the show for three seasons, Jessica Brown Findlay had a huge impact on "Downton Abbey" audiences as the Crawleys' feisty youngest daughter, Lady Sybil. Her devastating departure from the show left "Downton" fans in tears and raised many questions why she wasn't returning. In a Radio Times interview (via Marie Claire), Findlay admitted she didn't want to get too comfortable in the role. "My contract was ending and I was unsure about signing away another year," she said. "Leaving terrified me, and that's what made me want to do it." 

Luckily, Findlay's bid to force herself out of her comfort zone worked, and she landed several plum roles on stage and screen, including the part of Ophelia opposite Andrew Scott in a London production of "Hamlet," which was also made into a TV movie, per The Guardian. Findlay also joined the cast of TV's "Harlots" and "Brave New World," as well as the movie "The Banishing," per the publication. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Findlay is worth $3 million. With her star on the rise, she'll surely continue to cash in on roles.

Michelle Dockery became a Netflix star after playing Lady Mary

As the eldest Crawley daughter, Lady Mary, Michelle Dockery became a fan favorite on "Downton Abbey." Whether starring on the TV series or the popular "Downton Abbey" films, her sibling rivalries and dramatic love stories made the show all the better. In an interview with E! News, Dockery spoke of her sadness about the show ending in 2015. "I'll certainly miss the character," she said. "I've loved playing her and being a part of something so special."

After "Downton Abbey" wrapped, Dockery's career continued on a high note, and she's gone on to land a number of roles. She's appeared on the TV series "Good Behavior," and the mini-series "Godless" and "Defending Jacob," and she also did voice work for the Disney animated series "Amphibia" (via IMDb). Dockery will also star in an exciting Netflix series called "Anatomy of a Scandal," based on the bestselling 2017 book of the same name by Sarah Vaughn (via Hello!). The role is a rather big departure from Lady Mary, as Dockery plays a criminal prosecutor working a rape case, according to the magazine.

Due to playing Lady Mary on "Downton Abbey" and her many other successful roles, it's no surprise that Dockery has an estimated net worth of $4 million — according to Celebrity Net Worth – a number that is sure to increase in the coming years.

Dan Stevens hit the silver screen after his Downton days

"Downton Abbey" audiences might never get over Dan Stevens' dramatic and shocking departure from the show on Season 3, but Stevens wanted to do things his way, according to Us Weekly. Stevens told The Australian he was worried about only being cast in similar roles if he stayed on the show for too long (per Digital Spy). As such, the British actor is quick to deny that "Downton Abbey" was his big break – The Guardian ​​noted in an August 2021 interview that "you wouldn't necessarily conclude that he wasn't proud of Downton, rather that he finds it burdensome to dance in his own spotlight and thinks he deserves a statute of limitations."

Clearly, Stevens' gamble leaving the show paid off, with him stepping into the role of The Beast in Disney's hugely popular live-action "Beauty and the Beast" movie opposite Emma Watson. He's also enjoyed roles in the FX series "Legion" and a range of other films and TV shows, including the animated series "The Prince," where he lent his voice (via IMDb). Thanks to his continued success, Stevens, like his former co-star Michelle Dockery, has an estimated net worth of $4 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. With the actor adding more and more major projects to his resume, such as the TV series "Gaslit" with Julia Roberts, per The Guardian, we won't be seeing the last of Stevens anytime soon.

Jim Carter scored big playing Mr. Carson

When most people picture Jim Carter, they immediately think of Mr. Carson, the iconic role he played as the butler of "Downton Abbey." The accomplished British actor, who was nominated for an Emmy four times for the role, has graced our screens for decades, whether in period films like "Shakespeare in Love" or modern stories like "Transformers: The Last Knight" (via IMDb). With so many standout roles (and more than 140 acting credits), it's no wonder that Carter has a net worth of $4 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Although he has some exciting projects in the works, such as 2023's "Wonka," fans haven't seen the last of Mr. Carson. Discussing the "Downton Abbey" sequel, he shared that his wife, Imelda Staunton (who also played Professor Umbridge in the "Harry Potter" movies) will join the cast of the second movie (via Hello!). It also turns out that acting runs in the family, as Carter and Staunton's daughter, Bessie Carter, plays Prudence Featherington on Netflix's hit period drama "Bridgerton," per Hello! 

Elizabeth McGovern made serious money with her role as Cora Crawley

As the lady of the house on "Downton Abbey," Elizabeth McGovern won over audiences with her portrayal of American heiress Cora Crawley. But, before she stepped into the period drama, McGovern had a successful career acting in films like "Ordinary People" and "The Handmaid's Tale" and was even nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for her role in "Ragtime" (via IMDb). Thanks to her "Downton Abbey" fame and other roles, McGovern has made herself quite a nice living. According to Celebrity Net Worth, her estimated net worth comes in at $4 million.

After playing Cora on the series, plus the two "Downton Abbey" movies, McGovern had the special opportunity to see her husband, Simon Curtis, direct the second film, per Hello! magazine. Speaking of the 2022 "Downton Abbey" sequel, she told Good Morning Britain, "It's great, it's fun. You'll laugh and you'll cry" (via Hello!).

Samantha Bond is a TV regular and a real-life Bond girl

Just call her Bond, Samantha Bond. In "Downton Abbey," Bond played Lady Rosamund Painswick, but what many fans of the show probably don't know is that the actress starred in everything from 007 films to Shakespearean plays before her time on the PBS drama (via the Daily Mail). She famously starred as Miss Moneypenny opposite Pierce Brosnan in the late 1990s Bond films, even though Bond told the newspaper she had never watched a James Bond movie until she was cast in the role. 

On the opposite spectrum of the acting world, Bond was part of the Royal Shakespeare Company in her younger years. In fact, Bond's "Downton Abbey" co-star, Lily James, enlisted the actress' help when James was preparing for the role of Juliet in a West End production of "Romeo and Juliet," per the Evening Standard. Thanks to this impressive acting resume, Bond has racked up an estimated net worth of $5 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

As for her time on "Downton Abbey," Bond told the Daily Mail that she spent a "special summer" filming the last season of the show and confessed there was a difference between the upstairs and downstairs cast members. "They're much naughtier downstairs," she said. "We're quite well-behaved, but it gets quite riotous down there."

Brendan Coyle became known worldwide as Mr. Bates

As the valet of "Downton Abbey," Mr. Bates, played by Brendan Coyle, experienced many ups and downs, but Coyle's career has definitely continued from strength to strength. The Emmy and BAFTA-nominated actor has an estimated net worth of $6 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Coyle is no stranger to a period drama, having appeared in the TV mini-series "North & South," as well as the 19th century British series "Lark Rise to Candleford," before joining the cast of "Downton Abbey." Since his "Downton" days, Coyle has appeared in other period pieces, such as the 2018 film "Mary Queen of Scots," as well as contemporary movies like "Me Before You" (via IMDb). Although he's appeared in numerous films and TV shows, Coyle told the Irish Independent that his first love was stage acting and that a cousin introduced him to the world of theater. Although he called his teenage plan to become an actor "kind of a freak decision," Coyle's leap of faith has clearly paid off.

Matthew Goode made an impression as Lady Mary's husband

Matthew Goode was already a well-known actor before appearing on "Downton Abbey" as Lady Mary's love interest, Henry Talbot. He had starred in movies such as "The Imitation Game," "Chasing Liberty," "Leap Year," "Stoker," and "Imagine Me & You" (via IMDb). The British actor even landed a couple of lead TV roles when "Downton Abbey" wrapped, playing the part of vampire Matthew Clairmont in the hit series "A Discovery of Witches" (via Radio Times) as well as a member of the royal family.

In 2019, he told The New York Times about his time playing Princess Margaret's husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, on Netflix's "The Crown," which he described as "a blast." The actor shared his enjoyment at working alongside Vanessa Kirby, who played Margaret, saying when "you've got great words to say and you've got a director like we had, it was just a joy." Thanks to his many TV and film roles, the actor is estimated to have amassed a fortune of $6 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Lily James' career is a Cinderella story

Fans of "Downton Abbey" will remember Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, the sweet great-niece of the Dowager Countess. Rose certainly got her happily ever after on the show, and so did James, making an impressive career for herself in the movie industry. After "Downton Abbey" ended, James has gone on to star in multiple blockbusters, winning over audiences in the title role of Cinderella in Disney's 2015 live action remake of the film and starring in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," "Baby Driver," "The Dig," and "Rebecca." She's also been featured in theater and TV, including the BBC's 2021 mini-series "The Pursuit of Love" and the somewhat surprising role of Pamela Anderson in 2022's mini-series "Pam & Tommy" (via The Guardian).

Thanks to her role on "Downton Abbey" and hit movies like "Cinderella," James is worth around $8 million, per Celebrity Net Worth, a figure that's bound to keep rising. While James told The Guardian she worried at one point about being typecast as an actress who only does period roles, she now feels "immensely grateful" for those opportunities. "It's easy to worry that you're not doing the right thing, or wish you were doing something different," she said.

Hugh Bonneville is one of the highest-earning Downton stars

Hugh Bonneville is beloved by "Downton Abbey" fans as the Earl of Grantham, otherwise known as Robert Crawley or "His Lordship." As the head of the Crawley household, he brought many memorable moments to the show. But Bonneville has had quite an impressive career outside of the stunning halls of Downton, too.

Over the years, the British actor has starred in films like "Paddington" and "Paddington 2," "Notting Hill," and "Mansfield Park," along with a range of TV shows (via the Independent). His long list of roles has contributed to an estimated fortune of $8 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. Of course, the two "Downton Abbey" films have helped Bonneville on his way to becoming one of the richest "Downton" stars. Speaking to the Independent in February 2021 when the fate of the second film was up in the air, he said the cast was hoping lockdowns would ease and that they'd be able to move forward. "Julian's written a gorgeous script, and I think it'd be the perfect return to cinema," he said. Luckily, the movie was completed, and fans got to enjoy His Lordship on the big screen yet again.

Dame Maggie Smith reigns over the Downton Abbey cast in earnings

With her sharp wit and amazing one-liners, Violet Grantham, the Dowager Countess, played by Dame Maggie Smith, was, perhaps, the most memorable "Downton Abbey" character of all. She's known around the world for her role as Violet, as well as Minerva McGonagall in the "Harry Potter" films, but the British actress has wowed audiences since her professional theater debut in 1956 (via IMDb). With her vast resume and countless unforgettable performances, it's no wonder she tops the series regulars in terms of earnings, having an estimated net worth of a staggering $20 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Although Smith has amassed an incredible fortune and fan following over the years, she told London's Evening Standard that she was "deeply grateful for the work in Potter and indeed Downton but it wasn't what you'd call satisfying. I didn't really feel I was acting in those things." The veteran actress told the newspaper that she's a huge fan of theater roles, which have certainly contributed to her wealth over the years. And Smith isn't just TV and film royalty: She was even honored by the queen herself, receiving a damehood in 1990 and the Companion of Honor in 2014 for her contributions to the stage and screen (via Vogue).

Frequent Downton Abbey guest star Shirley MacLaine has an impressive fortune

The richest "Downton Abbey" star might come as a surprise, mostly because she wasn't part of the show for the entire series. But "Downton" guest star Shirley MacLaine by far outranks the rest of the show's cast with a fortune topping out at a whopping $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth

MacLaine brought some old Hollywood glamour to "Downton Abbey" as Cora Crawley's brash American mother, Martha Levinson (via The New York Times). Although she only appeared on a few episodes, the star certainly made an impression on fans. Outside of her stint on "Downton Abbey," Hollywood legend MacLaine has starred in everything, from blockbuster movies like "Steel Magnolias" to Broadway shows, per the newspaper.

Of course, she's had plenty of opportunities to earn her fortune, since MacLaine has been acting since the 1950s, racking up 49 award wins and 70 nominations over the years, including one Best Actress Oscar for "Terms of Endearment" in 1983 (via IMDb). But one thing that's remained constant is her love of the theater, which is what led to her incredible success over the years. In fact, she was discovered by a producer for Paramount Pictures as a teenager in 1954 when she was an understudy in the musical "The Pajama Game" (via Pasatiempo). "I do miss the stage," she told The New York Times in 2013 after having joined the "Downton" cast. "There's nothing like it, nothing."