The many faces of Alan Cumming include film and Tony Award-winning stage credits. Of course, on television, he appeared in Sex and the City and The L Word. He also directs, produces, and writes films and plays. He has earned his living in a variety of creative ways and as we learn below, he has always lived within his means. Step aside, Suze Orman; we have Alan Cumming dishing out a few financial truths!

1. In Full Grown Men, you play a disgruntled ex-theme park employee. Early in your career, did you ever work any low-paying service jobs to make ends meet?
At drama school I worked in a bar during summer holidays, and I once dressed as a clown in a shopping mall for some promotional thing. I was a better barman than a clown.

2. Are there financial advantages to being bi-sexual?

No, in fact, quite the opposite. You have double the chance of having messy, expensive divorces.

3. What is your most significant memory about money?
How telling that I don’t have one.

4. Did your parents ever disagree about money? Are there any similarities with how you handle finances in your own relationships?
There wasn’t much money in our household and so yes, there were arguments about it. I think that has made me always make sure that I am in a situation where money will not become a potential problem in any relationship. I always live within my means, and I have a very sanguine attitude about it: it’s great to have some, but I know I can get by without it.

5. People often assume “rich and famous” go hand in hand. Acting has brought you notoriety but has it made you rich?
I am definitely much richer than I ever imagined I would be. I own a few properties and I don’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck. But I’m not in the private planes and bling bracket. But I wouldn’t want to be. I think my earning potential as an actor has enabled me to experience richness in many ways other than just hard cash.

6. Was money considered a taboo topic for conversation growing up in Scotland?
No. In fact people talked about it quite a lot. I think that when people are poor, they need to talk about it.

7. What’s up with the British Pound? Will the U.S. Dollar ever recover?
Here’s hoping. Let’s get Obama in the white house and I am sure confidence in the US will return.

8. Was it money that made you jump on the celebrity fragrance frenzy?
Uh, hardly, no. It was my sense of the ridiculous and the provocative.

9. Your web site labels you as the actor, the bon viveur, the renaissance man, the pop icon, the sex symbol… which way is the easiest to earn a living?
Actually it doesn’t any more. There is a new look. But I think the easiest way to earn a living is to be happy in what you do, so that way no matter how hard the work is you’ll enjoy it. So in terms of that list, I would say, renaissance man for me.

10. Do you think of yourself as a good tipper?
Yes. And also if I think the person has been crap and I am not going to give them 20%, I make a point of telling them why.

More about Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming (alancumming.com) is beyond eclectic. He was an award-winning Hamlet, and he had his own talk show. He shot a video portrait with Robert Wilson, and recorded a duet with Liza Minnelli. He made films back to back with Stanley Kubrick and the Spice Girls. He wrote a Sunday Times best-selling novel, and has an award-winning signature fragrance. He has played Dionysus, the Devil, the Pope and was shot by Herb Ritts for Vanity Fair as Pan. He was a teleporting Superhero, a Lee Jeans model and hosted Saturday Night Live. He is an Independent Spirit award-winning producer and National Board of Review winning director. He has sung at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the London Palladium and the Sydney Opera House. He was named Icon of Scotland in 2005. He designed wallpaper. He was the voice of Black Beauty. He isn’t nearly done yet.

His second feature film as actor/director, Ghost Writer, will be released later in 2008, and he will also be seen in Boogie Woogie opposite Charlotte Rampling, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Sarsgard and Heather Graham.

Alan’s activism and passion for various civil rights and sex education causes has earned him many humanitarian awards including two Human Rights Campaign awards, GLAAD’s Vito Russo media award and the Trevor Project Hero Award.

He lives in New York City with his husband, Grant Shaffer, and their dogs Honey and Leon.

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.