Ernie Hudson claims he was severely underpaid for his role in 'Ghostbusters'

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Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters.Photo byCourtesy Everett Collection

Ernie Hudson, the 77-year-old actor famous for his role as Winston Zeddemore in the original "Ghostbusters" movie, has been candid about the impact that the 1984 comedy has had on his career. In a recent interview, he talked about how "Ghostbusters" was the "most difficult movie" he ever did, and how he felt "pushed aside" amid the movie's remarkable success. Hudson's character, Winston Zeddemore, was initially supposed to be an equal part of the ghostbusting team, which included established comedy stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis. However, his character was diminished, and his compensation was smaller than his co-stars. Hudson's own lack of industry savvy and representatives that may not have had his best interests at heart contributed to his lack of leverage as "Ghostbusters" fever kicked in.

Despite this, Hudson acknowledges that his co-stars, particularly Murray, have made an effort to include him whenever the studio wanted to trot out the original team for promotional events or new ventures like sequels (1989's "Ghostbusters II" and the recent "Ghostbusters: Afterlife") and video games (2009's "Ghostbusters: The Video Game" and last year's "Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed"). Murray has always been supportive of Hudson, making sure he's included in all "Ghostbusters" endeavors.
The O.G. Ghostbusters make a point of keeping your home ghost free.Photo byColumbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jason Reitman, who wrote and directed "Afterlife," has also made an effort to right past wrongs. The climax of the 2021 revival featured the three surviving original "Ghostbusters" (Ramis died in 2014) suiting up for another close encounter of the paranormal kind. Meanwhile, a post-credits sequence showed Winston returning.

Hudson believes that the perception in the entertainment industry is that certain people deserve to make outrageous amounts of money, whereas other people who work just as hard and may have more credits are not thought of as deserving in that way, and the studios are insulted they would even ask for it. Hudson's experience with "Ghostbusters" is a reminder of the importance of reading contracts and understanding what they mean before signing them, and having agents who truly have their clients' best interests at heart.
Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis in the climax of the comedy favorite Ghostbusters.Photo byColumbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Hudson's story is an excellent example of the challenges faced by actors and other professionals in the entertainment industry. Despite the difficulties he faced with "Ghostbusters," Hudson's enduring success as an actor is a testament to his talent, hard work, and dedication to his craft.


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