By his own account, Bruce Willis grew up a "working-class kid in New Jersey." So when his net worth ballooned to nine figures as one of Hollywood's biggest marquee names a few couple decades later, he didn't let the money go to his head.
In fact, Willis once said that during his salad days as a wannabe actor in New York, "I was perfectly happy with my life as a bartender. I was making good money... and, honestly, I felt like I had the world at my feet. Even when I started making big films and earning more money than you could ever dream of, it didn’t make me feel any happier or more satisfied than what I had before. It put things in perspective for me."
Jump to March 30, 2022, when fans around the world were shocked and saddened to learn that the beloved 67-year-old actor would retire from acting after being diagnosed with a language disorder called aphasia. News of Willis' diagnosis was shared online by his ex-wife, Demi Moore, who's also mother to his three older children, daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah Willis. (He also shares two younger daughters, Mabel and Evelyn, with second wife Emma Heming.) And once again, it was clear in Moore's words that family is most important to Willis above all else.
"This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support," Moore wrote in her post. "We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, 'Live it up' and together we plan to do just that."
The good news for Willis is that not only does he have an admirably awesome blended family by his side, but finances shouldn't be an added concern, given that he has been one of the most handsomely paid actors in Hollywood history. Here's what we know about Bruce Willis' net worth.
What is Bruce Willis’ net worth?
Willis has a net worth of $250 million as of 2022, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
How did Bruce Willis start his career?
Willis, born in 1955, suffered from a stutter when he was young, but he reportedly lost the stutter quickly once he began acting in stage productions as a child. He studied drama at New Jersey’s Montclair State University, then did the whole out-of-work actor thing, bartending in New York while going on auditions, then relocating to Los Angeles to find work. That he did: With barely a few TV guest roles on his resumé, he landed the starring role of David Addison Jr. on the quirky ABC dramedy Moonlighting opposite Cybill Shepherd, which ran for four seasons and quickly made him a star.
How much did Bruce Willis get paid for Die Hard?
For the first Die Hard movie, Willis reportedly took home $5 million—which sounds like chump change for a leading man in today’s moviemaking market, but was reportedly the largest amount an actor had ever been paid for one project at that time.
From there, his Die Hard dollars just kept on growing. He reportedly nabbed $7.5 million for Die Hard 2 (which grossed $240 million or so at the box office), then $15 million for Die Hard 3 (a.k.a. Die Hard With a Vengeance), which earned a whopping $360 million in ticket sales.
After that trilogy, it seemed the Die Hard franchise had finally, well, died, but in 2007, Willis returned to the role of John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. Payday was a good day indeed for him on that one, raking in $25 million to his bank account. The fifth Die Hard, A Good Day to Die Hard, came out in 2013, but it’s unknown how much Willis got that time around. Still, it was probably at least another $25 million.
How much did Bruce Willis make for The Sixth Sense?
One of the biggest surprise hits in box office history, 1999’s The Sixth Sense made stars out of writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and Willis’ young co-star, Haley Joel Osment. It also made Willis even richer than before. He reportedly took a pay cut from his normal $20 million rate at the time for an upfront salary of $14 million—plus a cut of the back-end profits. That smart strategy made it clear that Willis has a sixth sense when it comes to negotiating: His person cut of the movie’s gross reportedly raked in another $100 million to his bank account, which is still believed to be one of the highest rates of return ever on an acting performance. (Will Smith likewise pocketed $100 million nearly 15 years later for 2012's Men in Black 3, as just one comparison.)
How much did Bruce Willis get paid for Friends?
Rumor has it that Willis was paid nothing for his three-episode guest arc on Season 6 of Friends, playing the father of Ross’ college-age girlfriend, because of a bet he made with The Whole Nine Yards co-star Matthew Perry. Apparently, the wager was that if The Whole Nine Yards opened at No. 1 at the box office, then Willis would agree to appear on Perry’s smash-hit sitcom Friends for free.
Over the years, this rumor has been both confirmed and denied by Willis and Perry, respectively. In 2018, Willis was asked in a video for Wired if he was on Friends, and he replied with a laugh, “I was on Friends because I lost a bet to Matthew Perry.”
In 2000, though, PEOPLE wrote that “Willis agreed to a guest stint on Friends simply because he and Perry thought it would be fun.” One reason the rumor that Willis wasn’t paid has stuck could be that he reportedly donated all of his Friends money to various charities, including The American Foundation for AIDS Research, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Rape Treatment Center, and UCLA Unicamp for underprivileged children.
How much did Bruce Willis make for Pulp Fiction?
Willis’ career was suffering through something of a downturn when Quentin Tarantino came calling with Pulp Fiction in the mid-90s. Given that Willis’ star was on the decline at the time, and that Tarantino only had a budget of about $8.5 million to make the movie, it’s not surprising that Willis reportedly took a huuuuge pay cut to play the supporting role of aging boxer Butch Coolidge. Willis’ upfront pay was just $800,000—which, it’s been reported, is also what all the other stars in the movie, including John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, received—but a cut of the profits ultimately earned Willis several million dollars for Pulp Fiction.
How much did Bruce Willis make for Look Who’s Talking?
It’s been reported that Willis earned $10 million each for his voice work as Mikey the baby on 1989’s Look Who's Talking and its sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too. For the first one, the entire movie had an original budget of under $10 million, so Willis (as became customary throughout his career) negotiated a favorable back-end deal for himself. In fact, his Look Who’s Talking deal was one of the most favorable in Hollywood history, because he got a reported 8 to 10 percent of “first dollar grosses”—meaning, Willis would get paid a chunk of the box-office grosses before that money could be used for anyone or anything else. After that movie became the surprise hit of 1989, earning $140 million at the box office, Willis’ total take-home was a cool $10 million—for what was reportedly four days of voice work.
How much does Bruce Willis earn per movie?
Willis belonged to Hollywood’s elite “$20 million man” club for years, alongside the likes of such fellow A-listers as Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julia Roberts and more. As mentioned above, that's in large part because Willis has proven adept at negotiating back-end deals. Considering Die Hard was one of his first starring roles ever in a feature film, and he got $5 million for that one, it's safe to say that he's been well above that figure for his average ask for decades now.
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