Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$100 Million
Apr 3, 1924 - Jul 1, 2004 (80 years old)
5 ft 8 in (1.75 m)
United States of America
šŸ’° Compare Marlon Brando's Net Worth

What was Marlon Brando's Net Worth and Salary?

Marlon Brando was an American actor, director, and activist who had a net worth of $100 million at the time of his death. That's the same as around $130 million in today's dollars. At the time of his death, Marlon Brando's liquid assets were worth $23 million. That number did not include a variety of assets including his private island and other real estate. Marlon continues to be very well-paid in death. He is consistently ranked as one of the highest-paid dead celebrities. His estate still has been known to earn approximately $9 million per year from various licensing deals and royalties.

Brando began his acting career onstage, finding success on Broadway shortly after moving to New York and being named "Most Promising Young Actor" by the New York Drama Critics Awards. He originated the role of Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway and earned an Oscar nomination when he reprised the role in the 1951 film. Considered one of the 20th century's most influential actors, Marlon appeared in dozens of films before his death in 2004, including "On the Waterfront" (1954), "Last Tango in Paris" (1972), and "Apocalypse Now" (1979).

In 1973, Brando won an Academy Award for his performance as Vito Corleone in "The Godfather," but he refused it, boycotting the ceremony and sending Sacheen Littlefeather, president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee, in his place to state that Marlon did not agree with the way the film industry treated American Indians. Brando won more than 30 awards for his film work, and though his career eventually slowed due to a reputation for being difficult to work with.

Notable Salaries

For 1950's "The Men," Marlon earned $50,000. That's the same as around $620,000 in today's dollars. He earned $75,000 a year laterĀ  for his star-making role in "A Streetcar Named Desire." He cracked $100,000 in salary for the first time in 1952 for "Viva Zapata!", a sum he matched in 1954 for "On The Waterfront."

In 1957 Brando earned $300,000 for his work in the film "Sayonara." That's the same as around $3.3 million in today's dollars. Brando's manager Jay Kanter also shrewdly negotiated for the actor to receive 10% of the movie's gross. The movie went on to gross $26 million. Presumably that meant Brando earned an additional $2.6 million in backend royalties. If true, that would be the same as earning around $30 million in today's dollars. In a Brando biography, Jay Kanter indeed confirmed that the actor earned multiple millions of dollars for his work on the movie.

In 1962 Marlon Brando became the very first actor in Hollywood history to earn a base salary of $1 million for a film, a salary he earned for 1962's "Mutiny on the Bounty." Earning $1 million in 1972 is the same as around $10 million in today's dollars. Unfortunately, the movie went on to bomb at the box office, earning just $13 million on a budget of $19 million.

Godfather Salary

Paramount, the studio producing Francis Ford Coppola's film that would eventually become "The Godfather" initially flatly refused to even consider Brando for the role of Vito Corleone due to his reputation for being difficult to work with and recent slate of box office bombs. However, the executives were blown away by Brando's screen test and finally relented on the condition that he accept a cut-rate salary of just $50,000. Brando agreed on the condition that his salary be increased after the movie was released, on a sliding scale that increased his payday to 1% of the gross for every $10 million over a $10 million minimum and 5% if the gross exceeded $60 million.

The Godfather went on to become the highest-grossing film ever made up to that point, earning between $250 and $300 million at the box office.

Marlon's ultimate total earnings from The Godfather are not known. Some have estimated he earned $250,000. Other say $2 million. According to the film's producer Robert Evans, at some point early on Brando sold his backend points to him for $100,000 because he was experiencing dire financial problems. Evans has claimed that Brando eventually lost out on $11 million from selling his points for $100k.

Superman Salary

In 1978, Marlon earned a then-unprecedented $3.7 million salary to appear as Jor-El in "Superman." His co-star Christopher Reeve earned just $250,000 for his work in the film's title role! Earning $3.7 million in 1978 is the same as around $17 million in today's dollars. That wasn't all. To secure his services, the film's producers also had to give Brando 11.75% of the movie's backend points. The movie went on to earn $300 million on a budget of roughly $55 million. Assuming Brando's contract entitled him to profits, not gross revenue, and assuming around $250 million worth of profits, it's possible Brando earned an additional $30 million payday. Even if that's half right, Brando may have earned the equivalent of around $70 million bonus dollars after adjusting for inflation.

Perhaps best of all, Marlon earned this Superman-sized payday for 13 days of work that resulted in just 20 minutes of total screen time for the actor.

Other Notable Salaries

In 1972 Brando earned $250,000 for "Last Tango in Paris," but with profit participation he eventually walked away with $3 million.

In 1979 Brando earned $3.5 million for his work in "Apocalypse Now."

He earned $2.7 million for "The Formula," $3.3 million (plus 11.3% of the gross) for "A Dry White Season," $5 million for "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery," and $1 million for "The Missouri Breaks."

Early Life

Marlon Brando was born Marlon Brando Jr. on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois, with mother Dorothy (an actress), father Marlon (a chemical feed and pesticide manufacturer), and older sisters Jocelyn and Frances. Both of his parents were alcoholics, and when they separated in 1935, Dorothy and the children relocated to Santa Ana, California; two years later, Dorothy and Marlon reconciled and moved the family to a farm in Libertyville, Illinois. As a teenager, Brando was an usher at a movie theater, and after being expelled from Libertyville High School, his parents sent him to Minnesota's Shattuck Military Academy; he was also expelled from that school and later dropped out and moved to New York, where both of his sisters were living. Marlon enrolled at the American Theatre Wing Professional School and studied with Stella Adler.


Brando made his Broadway debut in 1944 in the drama "I Remember Mama," then appeared in Broadway productions of "A Flag is Born" (1946) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947). His first film was 1950's "The Men," in which he played a paraplegic veteran, and the following year, he became a Hollywood star (and sex symbol) with the release of the film adaptation of "A Streetcar Named Desire." He then starred in "Viva Zapata!" (1952), "Julius Caesar" (1953), and "Guys and Dolls" (1955) and won an Oscar for 1954's "On the Waterfront."

In 1961, Marlon directed and starred in the Western "One-Eyed Jacks" and followed his directorial debut with roles in 1962's "Mutiny on the Bounty" and 1963's "The Ugly American." In 1972, he received critical acclaim and numerous awards for "The Godfather" and "Last Tango in Paris," and in 1978, he played The Man of Steel's father in "Superman," which earned him a salary of $3.7 million.

In 1979, Brando appeared in "Apocalypse Now" and won an Emmy for the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations." He retired from acting in 1980 but returned with an Oscar-nominated performance in 1989's "A Dry White Season" and went on to star in "The Freshman" (1990), "Don Juan DeMarco" (1995), and "The Island of Dr. Moreau" (1996). Marlon's last film was 2001's "The Score."

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Personal Life

Marlon reportedly had relationships with several actresses, including Marilyn Monroe, Reiko Sato, Dorothy Kilgallen, Katy Jurado, and Rita Moreno, and he said in a 1976 interview that he had "homosexual experiences" as well. He wed actress Anna Kashfi on October 11, 1957, and they welcomed son Christian on May 11, 1958. After divorcing in 1959, Brando won custody of his son; in 1991, Christian went to prison for murdering his half-sister Cheyenne's boyfriend, and he died of pneumonia in 2008. Marlon married actress Movita Castaneda on June 4, 1960, and they had two children, Miko (born February 26, 1961) and Rebecca (born June 17, 1966) before the 8-year marriage was annulled due to the fact that Movita hadn't legally divorced her first husband.

Brando wed actress Tarita Teriipaia on August 10, 1962, and son Simon was born in 1963, followed by daughter Tarita (better known as Cheyenne) in 1970; sadly, Cheyenne struggled with depression and drug abuse after the murder of her boyfriend, and she died by suicide in 1995. Though Marlon and Tarita divorced in 1972, Marlon adopted Teriipaia's daughter, Maimiti, who was born in 1977, as well as her niece, Raiatua, who was born in 1982. Brando also had three children with Maria Cristina Ruiz, his housekeeper: Ninna (born in May 1989), Myles (born in January 1992), and Timothy (born in January 1994). Marlon was also the adoptive father of his assistant Caroline Barrett's daughter, Petra.

Marlon Brando

Getty Images

Death and Estate

Marlon Brando passed away from respiratory failure on July 1, 2004, at UCLA Medical Center. He was 80 years old at the time of his death and had been suffering from several conditions, including pulmonary fibrosis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and a tumor in his liver.

Marlon was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in Tahiti and Death Valley, along with the ashes of his friend Wally Cox, whose ashes Brando had secretly kept after Cox's widow asked him to scatter them in 1973. Marlon left an estate worth $23 million when he died, not including non-liquid assets and assets in trust, like his private island. He has frequently ranked as one of the world's top-earning deceased celebrities.

Awards and Nominations

In addition to the Academy Award he refused, Brando won for Best Actor for "On the Waterfront" in 1955. He earned Golden Globes for "The Godfather" (which he also refused) and "On the Waterfront" as well as World Film Favorite – Male in 1956, 1973, and 1974. In 1979, Marlon won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for "Roots: The Next Generations," and he received BAFTA Awards for "On the Waterfront, "Julius Caesar," and "Viva Zapata!" He also won awards from the Cannes Film Festival, Faro Island Film Festival, Jussi Awards, Laurel Awards, Online Film & Television Association, National Society of Film Critics, and New York Film Critics Circle. In 1960, Brando received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tahitian Island

While many celebrities are known for their lavish homes, Marlon went a step further and actually owned a private island. While filming "Mutiny on the Bounty," he fell in love with Tahitian actress Tarita Teriipaia. In 1966, four years after marrying Tarita, the Tahitian government granted Brando a 99-year lease to an island called Tetiaroa.

A decade after his death, the island was placed under the management of a hotel development company called Pacific Beachcomber SC. In 2014 the island was reopened with a luxury hotel called "The Brando Resort."

LA Mansion

In Los Angeles, for many decades Marlon owned a mansion high up in the hills on Mulholland Drive in Beverly Hills. In 1969 Jack Nicholson bought the property immediately next door.

In 2005, a year after Marlon's death, Jack bought Marlon's property from the Brando family for $6.1 million. At the time of Jack's purchase Marlon's former mansion was in a dilapidated condition. Jack razed the structure and replaced it with a 1-acre lawn and pool area.

Marlon Brando Career Earnings

  • The Missouri Breaks
    plus 11% of gross greater than $8.85m
    $1 Million
  • Last Tango in Paris
    10% of profit
    $250 Thousand
  • The Godfather
    plus % of gross
    $250 Thousand
  • The Chase
    plus $130k fee to his production company
    $750 Thousand
  • The Score
    $3 Million
  • Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
    $5 Million
  • A Dry White Season
    plus 11.3% of gross and required MGM to donate similar amount to an anti-apartheid group
    $3.3 Million
  • The Formula
    $2.7 Million
  • Apocalypse Now
    $3.5 Million
  • Superman
    $3 Million
  • The Night of the Following Day
    $50 Thousand
  • Reflections in a Golden Eye
    10% of profit
    $750 Thousand
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
    In 1962 dollars
    $1 Million
  • Sayonara
    in 1957 dollars
    $300 Thousand
  • Guys and Dolls
    in 1955 dollars
    $200 Thousand
  • On the Waterfront
    in 1954 dollars
    $100 Thousand
  • Viva Zapata!
    in 1952 dollars
    $100 Thousand
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
    in 1951 dollars
    $75 Thousand
  • The Men
    in 1950 dollars
    $50 Thousand
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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