William Shatner made the smartest deal of his life when the people from Priceline.com approached him to be a spokesman. Instead of taking cash for the job, he asked for an equity stake in the company. Now those shares are worth over $1,200 each. And he owns a LOT of shares. Nice move.
On the other hand, Vincent Price decided he’d rather take a cash payout of $20,000 for his speaking part in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” instead of a songwriting credit, something that would have given him a percentage of album and single sales as well as some of the publishing. The album then went on to sell 110 million copies. Oops.
Which brings me to LeBron James. When Beats headphones first appeared in 2008, the company didn’t have a lot of money for a big-time sports endorsement. Instead, they have James shares in the company. Word is that he netted $30 million from the sale to Apple.