NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J is worth more than most any other TV actor in Hollywood. And it’s not just because of the series. But it certainly pads the bank account.
As fans of the show know, LL Cool J portrays Sam Hanna, a widower and father of two. He’s also a former Navy SEAL and a perfect partner for G Callen (Chris O’Donnell). Hanna is smart — he also speaks Arabic — and internationally savvy. Coming into season 13, three actors have been in all 280 episodes — LL Cool J, O’Donnell and Daniela Ruah.
But how much does he earn?
Reports indicate that LL Cool J is worth a cool $120 million. He’s been a star since his teens, when he broke into the music industry as a rapper and hip-hop artist. Back then, he was known to friends by his real name — James Smith. But he became the persona of LL Cool J — Ladies Love Cool James. And as LL Cool J, he became one of the first mainstream stars in the genre, recording 13 studio albums.
The NCIS: Los Angeles star is an all-around businessman. He owns a clothing line and two record labels. And he’s also written four books, while helping create boomdizzle.com.
He’s been acting since the early 1990s. But he’s best known for his TV role on NCIS: Los Angeles. So how much does he make per episode? That would be a cool $350,000.
LL Cool J Says NCIS: Los Angeles Cast Members Are ‘Knights’
LL Cool J views his fellow NCIS: Los Angeles cast members in a special way.
“These guys really see themselves as knights,” LL Cool J said in 2017. “It’s a knighthood, females included, all of them see themselves as knights, see themselves as people who are part of the honored tradition of making sure that they protect the innocent and get rid of the bad guys.”
And here’s how he describes his character on the show:
“I think you grow and evolve and become — I don’t know if relaxed is the right word — but more accustomed and acclimated to the pressures of that life. I think the character becomes acclimated to what’s going on and the pressures, but my character has grown because the sense of family has deepened. His sense of honor has deepened.”
LL Cool J also is asking fellow hip-hop stars to join him on NCIS: Los Angeles. This past season, he helped land Offset, the rapper who is part of the hip hop group Migos, to make an appearance on the show. Offset portrayed an undercover CIA agent who was stationed in Egypt.
And Sam also has known deep heartache on the show. His wife is killed in season eight. His kids have been involved in the episodes. On the season 12 finale, Sam and Callen stop their car and watch as Sam’s son flies a fighter jet overhead. Callen tells his partner he’s a good dad.
Season 13 premieres Oct. 10.