Mekhi Phifer is an American actor who has an estimated net worth of $600k as of 2023. His wealth comes from his successful acting career.
Mekhi Phifer has built an impressive career in both film and television. He first rose to fame for portraying Future in the 1995 urban drama 8 Mile.
He has since starred in numerous high-profile films such as Dawn of the Dead, Honeydripper, and Divergent. Also, he is best known on television for his long-running role as Dr. Greg Pratt on the medical drama ER.
Mekhi Phifer Net Worth
As of 2023, Mekhi Phifer has an estimated net worth of $600k. A significant portion of his wealth comes from his salaries and backend compensation from acting in films and television shows.
At the peak of his career in the 2000s, Phifer earned as much as $2 million per season playing Dr. Greg Pratt on the medical drama ER. He appeared in over 135 episodes and likely earned $100,000 per episode from the show during its run.
Phifer also earned sizable paydays for many of his film roles. He made $1-5 million for movies like O, Paid in Full, Honeydripper, and Dawn of the Dead. Multi-film franchises also contributed to his wealth, including Divergent, where he was paid $1.5 million for the first film.
However, Mekhi Phifer faced a significant financial challenge at 39. He was in a massive debt of $1.3 million and only $67,000 in assets. Most of this debt was due to $1.2 million in back taxes. Additionally, he owed $4,500 in back child support for his two sons, Omikaye and Mekhi, Jr.
Early Life and Education
Mekhi Phifer was born on December 29, 1974, in Harlem, New York City. His mother, Rhoda Phifer, raised him alongside his brother as a single parent after their father left the family when Mekhi was just a child.
Phifer’s interest in acting started at a young age when he enrolled in theatre classes at his junior high school. He then attended the High School of Performing Arts before earning a full scholarship to study theatre at Carnegie Mellon University.
However, Phifer left the university after just one year to pursue an acting career in Hollywood.
Career Breakthrough and Rise to Fame
Mekhi Phifer’s first significant acting credit was playing the role of Strike in the 1992 film Juice alongside rapper Tupac Shakur. This started a string of roles in urban films over the next few years, such as Clockers and Soul Food.
His big break came in 1995 when he portrayed the talented but troubled rapper Future in 8 Mile. The film was a huge box office success, grossing over $240 million worldwide.
Critics praised Phifer’s emotional performance in the film, which required him to draw from complex life events. The role cemented him as a rising talent in Hollywood and opened doors to more prominent roles in the future.
Television and Movie Success
Phifer landed several major acting roles in the early 2000s. In 2002, he was cast as Dr. Greg Pratt in the long-running medical drama ER. As one of the show’s protagonists, Phifer appeared in over 130 episodes until 2008. The steady work from the show earned him nearly $2 million per season during his 6 years on ER.
On the movie front, Phifer starred in commercial successes like O (2001), Honeydripper (2007), and Paid in Full (2002). He also appeared in acclaimed films, including director Spike Lee’s Clockers (1995) and Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile (2002). However, Phifer earned between $1 to $5 million for many of his film roles in the 2000s.
Mekhi Phifer was married to actress Malinda Williams from 1999 to 2003 before getting divorced. He then married actress Reshelet Barnes in 2013, and the couple have a son named Mekhi Thira Phifer Jr.
Outside of acting, Phifer has been involved in educational initiatives for at-risk youth, even opening an acting school named Studio D in 2004. He has served as an executive board member for the Polaris Project, which combats human trafficking.
Investments and Business Ventures
Mekhi Phifer has grown wealth through smart investments and business ventures outside Hollywood.
He is a founding partner of Third Person Ventures, an early-stage tech investment firm that focuses on investing in startups. Phifer uses his knowledge and connections from the entertainment industry to help tech companies succeed. Though financial details are unknown, he likely receives founder equity and dividends from Third Person Ventures.
The actor also owns a restaurant called The Vineyard in Los Angeles. Opened in 2007, The Vineyard has become a popular dining spot among celebrities and contributes steady income to Phifer’s net worth.
Phifer has also explored the beverage industry as an entrepreneur. He co-founded Cocognac, a brand that made naturally enhanced cognac. He worked as owner and chief innovation officer for the company, giving him additional business equity before selling it.
Philanthropy and Charity Work
Mekhi Phifer dedicates time and money to giving back through philanthropy and charity work.
He has actively supported educational initiatives aimed at helping at-risk and inner-city youth. Phifer founded his acting school, Studio D, in 2004 to provide free acting classes to youth in South Central LA.
Phifer also established the Mekhi Phifer Foundation in 2006. His organization strives to provide resources and opportunities to urban communities nationwide. This includes funding arts/culture, education, and healthcare programs.
Phifer was honored with the 2011 ACAT Global Peace Award for his humanitarian efforts. The award recognized his work with the Polaris Project, which combats human trafficking and modern-day slavery worldwide. He currently serves on the organization’s board of directors.
Public Image and Fanbase
Throughout his long-spanning career, Mekhi Phifer has cultivated a public image as a talented, socially-conscious actor with a devoted fanbase.
His raw, emotional performances in films like 8 Mile earned him critical praise early on and the respect of fans as a rising star. Starring on ER further boosted his profile and popularity through the 2000s, reaching millions of homes each week.
Phifer has an active social media presence where he engages with his followers. He regularly updates fans on his latest projects and shares glimpses into his personal life. His social accounts portray him as approachable and down-to-earth.
While he has avoided significant controversies, Phifer encountered legal troubles in the mid-2000s for driving under the influence and tax issues. However, he took responsibility and moved forward without much impact on his reputation.
FAQs on Mekhi Phifer Net Worth
What was Mekhi Phifer’s breakthrough role?
Mekhi Phifer’s breakthrough role was playing the troubled rapper Future in the 2002 film 8 Mile opposite Eminem. Critics praised his emotional performance, and the movie’s success launched him into more mainstream film roles.
How much did Mekhi Phifer earn per episode on ER?
At the peak of ER’s popularity in the early 2000s, sources report Mekhi Phifer was earning around $2 million per season playing Dr. Greg Pratt. With seasons lasting over 20 episodes, that equals nearly $100,000 per episode at his ER salary peak.
What is Mekhi Phifer’s most significant source of wealth?
Mekhi Phifer’s most significant source of wealth came through his lucrative acting salaries over his long career. His biggest paydays came from high-paying gigs on ER and film roles that paid between $1-5 million.
Is Mekhi Phifer involved in any business ventures outside of acting?
Phifer is an entrepreneur and investor outside of Hollywood. He is a founding partner of a tech investment firm, Third Person Ventures, that invests in startups. Phifer also owns a popular restaurant in Los Angeles called The Vineyard.
Mekhi Phifer has accumulated an impressive net worth of $600k over his long-spanning acting career. Critical acclaim from films such as 8 Mile provided a launchpad early on before television stardom on ER, and steady film work cemented his wealth.
Phifer’s life story serves as an inspiration, going from a humble upbringing to achieving wealth and fame as a talented Hollywood actor.