Why Topher Grace Really Walked Away From That '70s Show

Why did Topher Grace eighty-six That '70s Show?

Born Christopher John Grace in New York City, per IMDb, the handsome Hollywood fixture gained stardom for his iconic portrayal of Eric Forman on the beloved high school hang-out sitcom. It marked, per Entertainment Weekly, Grace's "fifth time ever acting." "I had a weird origin story where I was in a high school play, and I was really only in that because I sprained my ankle and I couldn't be on the tennis team," he told EW. "I was at a boarding school in New Hampshire and the girl who did the sets, her parents were big-time Hollywood producers and produced That '70s Show and Third Rock From the Sun." It really is who you know!

After seven seasons on the Fox sitcom, Grace was ready to leave the '70s behind, so to speak, exiting the show. (On the series, Eric left Wisconsin to go teach in Africa.) It ran for one more season without him, though he briefly returned for the finale. But much like his co-stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, bigger screens truly did await. From (the cult classic, shall we say?) Spider-Man 3 to Christopher Nolan's Interstellar to 2019s Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman — in which Grace swiftly portrayed KKK leader David Duke — the star made good on that early Hollywood connection. Make that great! But it still begs the question, why did Grace leave That '70s Show earlier than his co-stars in the first place? 

Scroll down to slide two to "Grace" yourself with the answer!

Topher Grace left That '70s Show to hit the big screen

So why did Topher Grace leave That '70s Show? If his impressive film resume was any indication, yup, he felt like the sitcom was holding him back. Plus, with a series salary of "$250,000 to $350,000 per episode," per Celebrity Net Worth, clearly Grace could start being choosey. Which is pretty much the goal in Hollywood, no? Either way, that's just what he did. 

"I was feeling really confident and good, and it occurred to me that I was really lucky to have been on a sitcom for a lot of years," Grace told Indiewire in 2018. "I realized then that I didn't really need a lot more money." According to Indiewire, Grace "remembered telling his agents, 'I don't want to do anything but work with auteurs.'" His agents thought it was a financial risk, but from Spike Lee joints to Christopher Nolan epics, Grace has proven himself as a dramatic actor indeed. "I didn't care [about the size of the role or the salary]. It's what I wanted to do with my life," he added to IndieWire. "I just want to work with people where I see their film and go: 'I will do whatever your next film is.' I don't have to sit there and decide if it's going to be good or not."

With a net worth of $14 million today, per Celebrity Net Worth, clearly that strategy has paid off... literally, and artistically!