Last Updated: May 13, 2024
Richest BusinessExecutives
Net Worth:
$1 Million
Apr 30, 1960 (64 years old)
5 ft 4 in (1.65 m)
Leader of Scientology
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What is David Miscavige's Next Worth?

David Miscavige is an American religious figure and businessman who has a net worth of $1 million. David Miscavige is best known for being the leader of the Church of Scientology. Miscavige holds the official title of Chairman of the Board of the Religious Training Center (RTC), which controls the copyrights and trademarks of Dianetics and Scientology. As a teenager, David served as a deputy to the church founder L. Ron Hubbard. He also served as a cameraman for Scientology training films and was Captain of the Sea Org. Upon Hubbard's death in 1986, Miscavige became the de facto head of the church, and in 1987, he was officially elevated to the Chairman of the Board of RTC. A somewhat controversial and reclusive figure, Miscavige has also been the subject of many negative allegations, including the forced separation of family members, harassment of journalists and church critics, coercive fundraising practices, and humiliation of church staff members, including physical assaults. Both the church and Scientology deny these allegations.

Early Life

David Miscavige was born on April 30, 1960, in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania. He was born into a Roman Catholic Polish-Italian family to parents Ronald and Loretta Miscavige. He grew up in New Jersey with his twin sister, Denise, and his older brother, Ronald. He played various sports as a child but suffered from asthma and severe allergies. His father became interested in Scientology, and he sent his son to see a Scientologist. According to both his father and Miscavige, a 45-minute Dianetics session cured the son's ailments.

In 1971, his family officially joined the Church of Scientology. They eventually moved to the church's headquarters in Saint Hill Manor, England. Miscavige became very involved with the church as a youth and became the church's youngest professional Scientology auditor. A few years later, the family returned to Philadelphia, and Miscavige attended Maple Newtown High School. When he was 16, he left school with his father's permission to move to Clearwater, Florida, to join the Sea Org, a Scientologist organization established in 1968 by founder L. Ron Hubbard. He later joined the Commodore's Messenger Organization (CMO), an elite group of young Scientologists.


By 1977, Miscavige was living in La Quinta, California, working as a cameraman for Scientology training films. L. Ron Hubbard, the leader and founder of the church, appointed Miscavige to the head of CMO and made him responsible for enforcing Hubbard's policies within the individual Scientology organizations. Hubbard stopped appearing in public in 1980, and Miscavige took on more and more responsibility within the Scientology organization.

By 1982, Miscavige had set up a new organizational structure to handle the personal finances of Hubbard and to release him from personal liability from any legal claims against the Scientology organization. He created the Religious Technology Center and the Church of Spiritual Technology. When Hubbard died in 1986, Miscavige announced his death at the Hollywood Palladium. He assumed the role of head of the Church of Scientology and was given the title of Captain of the Sea Organization.

Since he assumed this most high-ranking leadership role in the church, the Scientology organization has been involved in a number of scandals. In 1991, Time magazine published the story "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power." In the story, Miscavige was described as being the ringleader of an organization that used Mafia-like tactics to intimidate members. In 1992, David gave a live interview with "Nightline." In that interview, he claimed that the article had been prompted by a request from the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. The church then filed a lawsuit against Eli Lilly and Company, which was later settled for an undisclosed amount.


According to documents filed with the IRS in 1992, in the full previous year, David Miscavige earned a relatively modest salary of $62,683. His wife, Shelly, earned $31,359 to serve as his assistant. Notably, neither David nor Shelly supplemented their income with commissions based on fundraising amounts. Other individuals earned as much as $400,000 from the church thanks to approximately 10% commissions on funds raised.

The same filing showed the church reported controlling assets worth $400 million. Among their assets was a 440-foot yacht called Freewinds, which was valued at $15 million, and $3.5 million worth of gold bars.

Considering that today, the church controls assets that are likely worth many billions, it would probably be safe to assume David Miscavige's salary has grown substantially, though it may still be relatively modest compared to other comparable private organizations. At the same time, most of David's expenses are covered by the church, and those expenses reportedly provide for a fairly lavish lifestyle.


Over the decades that followed, many news stories and television specials featured expos├ęs on the Scientology organization. In 2009, the "St. Petersburg Times" published a series called "The Truth Rundown," which featured allegations against the church levied by former high-ranking members of the church. One story that came out alleged that there was a location called "The Hole" in which members of the church staff were degraded and humiliated by Miscavige and other church executives. Representatives from the church have repeatedly denied these allegations.

A former Scientologist filed a suit against Miscavige in 2019 in which she alleged kidnapping, stalking, libel, slander, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He was also named in a lawsuit involving a series of alleged rapes by actor Danny Masterson. In April of 2022, three former Scientology workers filed a lawsuit for human trafficking against Miscavige. The court overseeing the case was told by the plaintiff's counsel that Miscavige had been evading service in the case for a period of months after over 14 attempts were made to serve him. The court found the allegations credible and ordered Miscavige to be served through the office of the Secretary of the State of Florida.

Personal Life

Miscavige is married to fellow Sea Org member Michele Diane "Shelly" Miscavige. She has not been seen in public since August 2007. The Los Angeles Police Department opened an investigation into her whereabouts following a missing-persons report filed by former Scientologist and actress Leah Remini. However, they closed the investigation in 2013, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Other journalists have since reported that she is being held under guard at a Scientology compound called Gold Base.

Other members of Miscavige's family have spoken out against the organization. His elder brother, Ronald, served as an executive in the Sea Org but left Scientology in 2000. His niece Jenna, Ronald's daughter, was part of the church but left in 2005. She has since become an outspoken critic of the church and published a book, "Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology And My Harrowing Escape," in 2013. She has also confirmed that Miscavige's father, Ronald, left the church in 2012.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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