How Much Is Bruce Willis Actually Worth?

Actor Bruce Willis has starred in major blockbuster hits throughout his extensive career, and has steadily been one of the highest-paid leading men in Hollywood. That's why it comes as no surprise that Willis is worth an impressive $250 million (via Celebrity Net Worth). Many people may not know that the 67-year-old who grew up in New Jersey started from very humble beginnings, and worked as a bartender in New York City to make a living.

In an interview with Everything Zoomer, Willis once shared that he had been just fine with his life before he started landing acting gigs. He revealed, "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."

The family of the beloved and accomplished actor has recently announced that he will be retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, which has started to hinder his cognitive abilities (per Variety). While Willis may no longer be commanding eight-figure salaries, he definitely has quite the retirement fund. Here's a look into his career and his massive fortune.

Bruce Willis caught the acting bug as a teenager

When Bruce Willis was younger, he had a stutter, and to overcome his affliction, he attended a theater group at school and at his local YMCA, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Willis learned that he could control his stuttering when he was portraying a character, and found solace on the stage. In a 2013 interview with GQ Magazine, he recalled, "I had a terrible stutter. But then I did some theater somewhere, probably in high school. And when I memorized words, I didn't stutter, which was just miraculous. That was the beginning of the gradual dispelling of my stutter."

Biography notes that after high school, Willis didn't attend college right away. He did eventually continue his education, and studied at Montclair State University in New Jersey as a student in the drama department. However, after his sophomore year, Willis decided to move to the city that never sleeps and become an actor on his own.

In 1977, he landed his first professional theater gig in an off-Broadway play called "Heaven and Earth." There were more theater roles to follow, and after landing a small part in Frank Sinatra's film "The First Deadly Sin," a few more doors opened up for the actor, but it would be three more years until Willis got his big break (via Biography).

He got his big break on the small screen

Even though Bruce Willis did book acting jobs here and there while living in New York, he decided to branch out and go on auditions out in Los Angeles. While spending time on the West Coast, Willis auditioned for the television show "Moonlighting." Thousands of actors had vied for the starring role of David Addison, to no avail. None of them seemed suitable for the part, until creator and executive producer Glenn Gordon Caron and casting scouts saw a young Willis, who had "a punk hairdo and earrings" at the time (via New York Times).

When Willis was cast in 1984, his career began to take shape. In a 1986 interview with the New York Times, Willis shared why he thought he was ultimately chosen, stating, "I think Glenn saw I could do his material." He signed a five-year contract with ABC, and he eventually renegotiated to earn $50,000 an episode, according to Sandy Asirvatham's book, "Bruce Willis."

"Moonlighting" aired for four seasons from 1985-1989 (via IMDb), and even though the series didn't have a long run, the mystery television program catapulted Willis' career to new heights.

Die Hard changed everything for him

Interestingly, Bruce Willis was not the first choice for the leading role in "Die Hard." Many prominent A-list actors had been approached to play the legendary John McClane. In an interview in Brian Abrams' book "Die Hard: An Oral History," screenwriter Steven de Souza said, "They went to Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. They went to [Sylvester Stallone], who turned it down." He disclosed that James Caan, Richard Gere, and Burt Reynolds all passed on the role because back then, action films were mainly done by B-list actors. De Souza noted, "In desperation, they went to Bruce Willis" (via Daily Beast).

When Willis was offered the part, "Moonlighting" producer Glenn Gordon Caron told him that he shouldn't do it. In a 1999 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Caron recalled begging Willis not to be a part of the film — and ultimately, he was glad the actor didn't listen to him. Willis nabbed $5 million to star in the 1989 action movie, which became a blockbuster hit that brought in $140 million at the box office worldwide, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Willis went on to star in four more "Die Hard" movies and was paid rather handsomely. He cashed in $7.5 million for "Die Hard 2," $15 million for "Die Hard With a Vengeance," and collected a massive $25 million for "A Good Day to Die Hard." While it's not known what he raked in for the fifth installment in the franchise, we're sure it was a pretty penny (via IMDb).

Bruce Willis has appeared in nearly 100 movies

It's no shocker that with an acting career that spans over 35 years, Bruce Willis has appeared in over 100 projects that, according to IMDb, have grossed over $2.5 billion. Some of Willis' most early notable films that paid him an attractive salary were "Look Who's Talking," and "Look Who's Talking Too." He earned $10 million per movie for lending his voice as the funny baby Mikey. He was paid $14 million for the 1991 action-comedy "The Last Boy Scout," $16.5 million for "Last Man Standing," and collected $14.8 million for starring in the 1998 summer blockbuster "Armageddon" (via IMDb).

The actor's ultimate payday would come when he starred in M. Night Shyamalan's 1999 thriller "The Sixth Sense." In addition to his $14 million paycheck for portraying child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe, Willis also negotiated a percentage of the movie's box office gross and home video sales rights. These terms earned Willis over $100 million, which is his largest single-film payout to date, and one of the highest paychecks for an actor's single performance (via Parade).

In a documentary for "The Sixth Sense," Willis said, "I agreed to do it very quickly. I was as surprised by the ending in the script, I think, as the audience was in the theater. I was completely unprepared for that ending."

Bruce Willis has done plenty of product collaborations and endorsements

In 2010, Bruce Willis teamed up with a German company, LR Health & Beauty Systems, to release his own men's fragrance line that included men's cologne, deodorant, hair and body wash, and after-shave cream. In an interview with Women's Wear Daily, Willis discussed his new business venture and shared, "The development of my new fragrance was ... really a lot of fun. The products stand for individuality, uniqueness, and sustainability." The dollar amount of the actor's beauty deal is unknown, but we're sure he was well rewarded for his efforts.

Some of Willis' other product endorsements have included alcoholic beverages. In the mid-'80s, when he took part in a campaign for Seagram's wine coolers, the actor was reportedly paid between $5 to $7 million for his two-year contract (according to Yahoo). When Willis signed a deal and became the face of Sobieski Vodka by Belvedere in 2009, he was given a 3.3% stake in the company, which was worth about $4 million (via New York Times).

The actor has had incredible homes over the years

Over the years, as Bruce Willis accumulated wealth, he also amassed properties. One of Willis' vacation homes was a sprawling Caribbean compound located in the picturesque Turks and Caicos that boasted 12 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, and offered up 35,000 square feet of living space. The actor sold it in 2019 for $27 million (via the Robb Report).

The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2020, Willis also sold the sprawling mansion he'd shared with his wife Emma Heming and their two daughters in Bedford Corners, New York, for $7.66 million. Heming told Elle Décor in a 2017 interview that she and Willis had wanted to raise their kids in New York, but away from the paparazzi, and wanted them to have a yard where they could run around.

In February 2019, TMZ reported that the couple moved back to California to be closer to family, and purchased a $9.8 million palatial 13,048 square feet home located in the Brentwood Park area of Los Angeles. The seven-bedroom, five-bathroom California home is equipped with a home theater, an indoor spa, a chef's kitchen, and an elevator (via Architectural Digest).

Once upon a time, Bruce Willis had an extensive car collection collection

Besides vacation homes and mansions, Bruce Willis also spent some of his wealth on classic cars. Willis had quite the car collection for some time before selling most of it. His impressive collection included a 1967 Chevy Corvette, a 1968 Shelby GT500, a 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400, and a 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed Le Mans Edition (via Hot Cars). According to GQ Magazine UK, in 2008, at an auction at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the actor sold off four of his muscle cars, and he's sold some others at different points in time. The outlet says Willis told Auto Evolution that he sold his beloved automobiles because he was trying to shake his addiction to muscle cars.

It's unknown how much Willis earned by offloading his cars, but we're sure he made a good profit off of them.

Bruce Willis has a large, blended family

Bruce Willis was married to Demi Moore from 1987 to 2000, and the pair share three daughters: Rumer Glenn Willis, Scout LaRue Willis, and Tallulah Belle Willis (via Us Weekly). The couple didn't let their divorce and the matters of splitting up property and money settlements get in the way of raising their children. Through it all, their family has remained tight-knit. In a 2000 Rolling Stone interview, Willis revealed that he and his ex-wife were still close. He shared, "We have three children whom we will continue to raise together, and we're probably as close now as we ever were. We realize we have a lifelong commitment to our kids. Our friendship continues." 

The friendship even continued when Moore remarried, and when the "Deadlock" actor tied the knot in 2009 with his model girlfriend, Emma Heming. The family expanded even more when Willis and Heming welcomed their two daughters, Mabel Ray and Evelyn Penn (via Us Weekly). 

The love that they all have for one another is evident in the statement the family put out when announcing Willis' retirement. The heartfelt message the family posted to Instagram stated, "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."