Many know Welsh actor Michael Sheen for his success in TV and films. Not only is he one of the stars of the critically acclaimed Good Omens, but he has also been nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award over the course of his career. Rather than let his success benefit only himself, Sheen decided that his future earnings would be dedicated to social causes.
“I've realized in the last few years that I want to be one of those people who help other people the way so many people helped me,” he explains. “I don't want to just be someone who enjoys the fruits of what other people have done and then pull the drawbridge up and go, well I'm alright Jack, I've had a nice time.” He goes on to say that now he has achieved a level of profitability in his career, he wants to use it to give back to people.
This realization happened in 2011 when Sheen was working on a production in Port Talbot, Wales. He discovered how much the project helped people and children in the community. Then, when he returned to the town several months later, he found out that there was no more funding for the organization. “I realized the difference between that child's life being a little bit better or not was ultimately a small amount of funding,” he says. “And I wanted to help those people. I didn't just want to be a patron or a supportive voice, I wanted to actually do more than that.” This also prompted him to relocate to Wales again.
Sheen's resolve was tested again in 2019 when funding ran out for the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff which he was working with. In a last-ditch effort to save the organization, he sold his houses in the U.S. and Wales. “There was something quite liberating about going, alright, I'll put large amounts of money into this or that, because I'll be able to earn it back again,” he explains. “I've essentially turned myself into a social enterprise, a not-for-profit actor.”
Fortunately, Sheen's acting career is continuing to shine. As long as he's successful, he's sure to help many others in the future.
Good Omens star Michael Sheen has been donating his earnings to social causes for years, playfully calling himself a “not-for-profit” actor.