Jon Voight: Minimum wage earner
LONDON — Jon Voight has revealed that he was paid little for his portrayal of male prostitute Joe Buck in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy, with the film company even billing him for his food on the last day of shooting.
The 74-year-old from New York, who is promoting his new film Getaway, which co-stars Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, has won one Oscar and three Golden Globes during a career that has brought him an estimated personal fortune of £30 million (S$59 million).
But it was his role in Midnight Cowboy that put him firmly on the path to fame and success.
Still, Voight said he was paid very little for the part. He wanted the role so badly he told his agent, “Tell them I’ll do this part for nothing”.
Voight added that to his surprise, “They took me at my word, and they gave me minimum for Midnight Cowboy”.
He also said that the studio, United Artists, “even sent me a US$14.73 (S$18.75) coffee shop charge” for meals on his last day of filming Midnight Cowboy, which was an adaptation of a 1965 novel by James Leo Herlihy.
For the role, Voight won a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer; a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year; a National Society of Film Critics Award and a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and a nomination for an Academy Award for the same category.
Voight also said he persuaded co-star Dustin Hoffman to try out for the role of Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo after the two became friends doing an off-Broadway show and that they auditioned for the movie together.
Nevertheless, Voight said he had no regrets. “I knew what it meant. It was going to give me a career, and I was right.” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH