George Clooney grew up in poverty.
Clooney’s films and business ventures made him one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors.
He gave each of his 14 friends a million dollars packed in travel bags.
George Clooney is widely regarded as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished actors. He has worked on a wide range of film projects and received several accolades for his work in the industry.
Despite his phenomenal success, Clooney has remained grounded, not forgetting his humble beginnings. In fact, he is known to give back and support those who helped him on his path to fame and fortune.
George Clooney onstage at The 100 Lives initiative on March 10, 2015, in New York City | Source: Getty Images
Growing up in the charming town of Augusta, Kentucky, Clooney learned the value of hard work at a young age. As a child, he spent his days mowing lawns and wearing clothes his mother made for him.
He was also a sporty kid back then and played basketball for the school team. Despite their best efforts, the team’s record was less than stellar, with 26 losses in 27 games during Clooney’s senior year.
As Clooney reminisced about his childhood sport, he admitted it was a truly embarrassing experience. But despite the humiliation, he still found it to be a lot of fun and a «great way» to grow up.
George Clooney at 11 years old | Source: YouTube/OfficialGrahamNorton
Clooney soon became a prominent figure in Hollywood, earning millions of dollars for his acting skills. In the 2000s, he gained fame through his roles in films such as «The Perfect Storm,» «Ocean’s Eleven,» and «O Brother, Where Art Thou?» He also won an Oscar for his performance in the 2005 «Syriana.»
When he starred in «Gravity» in 2013, he was already a distinguished actor. Because of this, he managed to negotiate a $20 million salary, with the possibility of garnering more through a backend agreement.
Clooney has supported numerous charitable organizations and social causes. Despite earning millions of dollars for his work in the film industry, he has also made a fortune from doing business.
George Clooney at the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ «Up In The Air» at Mann Village Theatre on November 30, 2009, in Westwood, California | Source: Getty Images
In 2013, he and his friend, Rande Gerber, founded Casamigos, a fast-growing tequila company worldwide. In June 2017, beverage company Diageo paid a total of one billion dollars to purchase the company.
Diageo initially paid $700 million for Clooney and his pal’s company at the time, with the potential addition of $300 million based on Casamigos’ 10-year performance.
Rande Gerber and George Clooney at the Casamigos Halloween party at Catch Las Vegas at Aria Resort & Casino on October 27, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada | Source: Getty Images
Despite not appearing in any films in recent years, Clooney topped Forbes magazine’s annual list of highest-paid actors in 2018. Forbes reported Clooney walked away with $233 million after the deal with Diageo.
According to the leading business magazine, Clooney’s annual earnings that year reportedly totaled $239 million. This figure includes additional gains from his endorsements and films.
Even with his fame and wealth, Clooney was not immune to hard times and had to rely on the kindness of those around him. There was a time when he was struggling financially and had to turn to his friends for help.
Clooney reflected on the close relationships he had formed with his friends over 35 years. He remembered how they had supported him through tough times, which included providing him with a place to live. He recalled:
«I’ve slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years.»
Mike Meldman, Amal Clooney, her husband George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and his wife Cindy Crawford at the official launch of Casamigos Tequila in Ibiza and Spain at Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel on August 23, 2015 in Ibiza, Spain | Source: Getty Images
In turn, he had also been there for them when they needed help. Clooney realized that without his close friends, he wouldn’t have all the success and happiness he enjoys now.
The multi-awarded actor also realized that since he and his friends had established a strong bond for over three decades, he thought that if anything happened to him, they would all be beneficiaries of his will.
How He Gave Away $1M to Each Friend
Clooney had an interesting way of thanking his friends who helped him along the way. To express his gratitude, he gave each of them one million dollars in cash, a token of appreciation for their role in his flourishing career.
Willing to go to great lengths to make this grand gesture happen, Clooney recalled that he researched and discovered a place in downtown Los Angeles where he could get large stacks of cash.
Clooney eventually found an old, beat-up van inscribed with the word «florist.» He drove the van through L.A.’s downtown area and went to an undisclosed location.
George Clooney at the premiere of the new Channel 4 show «Catch-22» at Vue Westfield on May 15, 2019, in London, England | Source: Getty Images
After that, Clooney drove the vehicle into a vault and loaded it with cash. He shared the plan with only his assistant and a few security guards who were particularly worried about its execution. It looked like the actor was in a heist movie.
Clooney bought 14 Tumi travel bags and packed a million dollars in cash into them, which turned out to be less weighty than he had anticipated.
The next day, he asked his 14 friends to come to his place for dinner. He shared with them a map of all the places he had visited and activities he had done, thanking them for their support.
George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney posing for a photo with the actor’s 14 friends | Source: Youtube.com/AccessHollywood
The movie star then asked them how he could repay them for their kindness and jokingly offered to give them a million dollars to give thanks. He recalled:
«I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?'»
George Clooney at the «Catch-22» photocall at The Space Moderno Cinema on May 13, 2019, in Rome, Italy | Source: Getty Images
Clooney‘s attempt to pull off the grand gesture was ultimately successful, as he gave each of his friends a travel bag containing a million dollars.
His generosity appeared to be fruitful. He recalled giving away a million dollars to his friends on September 27th or 28th and then getting married on September 27 the following year. He called the fateful turn of events a «happenstance.»
The actor’s thoughtful gesture not only showed his gratitude towards his friends but also served as a reminder of his humble beginnings and how far he had come.
Clooney’s story is a testament to how hard work and determination can lead to the achievement of one’s dreams, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest actors of his time.