Last Updated: April 5, 2024
Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
-$9 Million
Jul 31, 1962 (61 years old)
5 ft 9 in (1.753 m)
Actor, Martial Artist, Film Producer, Businessperson, Dancer, Singer
United States of America
💰 Compare Wesley Snipes' Net Worth

What Is Wesley Snipes' Net Worth and Salary?

Wesley Snipes is an American actor, film producer, and martial artist who has a net worth of negative $9 million. Wesley Snipes was one of the biggest actors in the world in the 1990s. He starred in a string of box office smash hits, and at his peak, he earned tens of millions of dollars in film salaries. In fact, thanks to an IRS legal battle waged by Wesley, we know for a fact that he specifically earned $37.9 million between 1996 and 2004. Unfortunately, during this period Wesley did not pay a dime in taxes while ALSO requesting $12 million in false refunds. These actions resulted in a lengthy court battle that ultimately landed Snipes in prison for nearly 900 days after being convicted of tax evasion. He was also ordered to pay $17 million in back taxes/interests/penalties. An amount that ballooned to $23.5 million by 2018 when the case bubbled back up in a tax court. In the end, the government offered to lower his debt to $9.5 million. It's unclear if Wesley has paid any or perhaps all of that debt to this point. Even after getting the debt chopped from $23.5 million to $9.5 million, Wesley claimed he did not have the resources to render payment and counted with an offer of $842,000. Much more on Wesley's tax problems later in this article below or in this more detailed breakdown: How Wesley Snipes Went From Passenger 57 To Prisoner #43355-018.

Snipes first gained recognition in the 1980s with supporting roles in films like "Streets of Gold" (1986) and "Major League" (1989). His charismatic performances quickly led to leading roles, and by the 1990s, he had become one of Hollywood's top action stars. One of Snipes' most iconic roles came with the "Blade" trilogy, in which he played the titular character, a vampire hunter. The success of "Blade" (1998), "Blade II" (2002), and "Blade: Trinity" (2004) not only established Wesley as a leading man in the action genre but also helped pioneer the modern era of comic book films.

Outside the action sphere, Snipes has been praised for his performances in dramas such as "Jungle Fever" (1991) and "New Jack City" (1991), in which he showcased his ability to delve into complex characters. His role in "White Men Can't Jump" (1992) displayed his flair for comedy, proving his adaptability across various genres.

Despite facing legal troubles and a period of absence from the big screen, Snipes made a strong comeback with appearances in films like "The Expendables 3" (2014) and "Dolemite Is My Name" (2019), earning critical praise and re-establishing his place in Hollywood.

Early Life

Wesley Snipes was born Wesley Trent Snipes on July 31st, 1962, in Orlando, Florida. He grew up in New York City. Snipes attended the famous Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing, which the movie "Fame" was based on, but he moved back to Florida before graduation and finished high school in Orlando. Snipes went on to attend the State University of New York at Purchase.

Wesley would continue to move around the United States throughout his youth. After moving back to Orlando to graduate from high school, he returned to New York once again to attend college. Finally, he traveled to Los Angeles to attend Southwest College.

Early Career

Attending college in Los Angeles thrust Snipes into the heart of the film industry. It wasn't long before he was discovered by an agent and began booking roles. His first major film appearance was in a movie called "Wildcats," and further success would soon follow. A guest appearance on the show "Miami Vice" helped put him on the map, as did his role in the iconic Micheal Jackson music video for the single "Bad." In this music video, Snipes played Jackson's nemesis – and director Spike Lee couldn't help but take notice.

Mainstream Success

Linking up with Spike Lee won Snipes roles in films like "Jungle Fever" and "Mo' Better Blues." Although Wesley was clearly an actor with an incredible range, he also gravitated towards a particular type, either a drug dealer or a crime lord. The actor played these types of roles in movies like "New Jack City" and "Sugar Hill." Snipes also won a role in the film "Kings of New York."

Shift Towards Action Films

After establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with, Wesley Snipes gravitated more towards action movies, giving himself the opportunity to show off his genuine martial arts prowess. During this phase of the actor's career, he appeared in films like "Passenger 57," "Money Train," "The Fan," "U.S. Marshalls," "Rising Sun," and perhaps most notably "Demolition Man" alongside Sylvester Stallone. That being said, Snipes also showed his comedic talents during this period with films like "White Men Can't Jump" and "To Wong Foo."

Wesley Snipes Net Worth

(Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

"Blade" Trilogy

Wesley experienced his greatest commercial and financial success with the "Blade" trilogy, starting in 1998. The first film in the series grossed $150 million worldwide, prompting the creation of two further films, "Blade II" and "Blade: Trinity." The last film in the series marked the beginning of a period of relative obscurity for Wesley Snipes.

Notable Salaries

As we explain in a moment, through court filings as part of his tax evasion case, we learned that between 1996 and 2004, Wesley earned $37.9 million in total income, the vast majority coming from film salaries. Here are some of his notable known film salaries:

  • "Drop Zone" (1994) = $7 million
  • "Money Train" (1995) – $5.5 million
  • "The Fan" (1996) – $7 million
  • "Blade: Trinity" (2004) – $13 million

Tax Issues and Prison

In 2006, just two years after the release of "Blade Trilogy," Snipes was charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and another count of making a false claim for payment against the U.S. He was also charged with a further six counts of failing to file tax returns. The conspiracy charges alleged that Snipes had filed fraudulent tax returns for refunds amounting to tens of millions of dollars. Furthermore, he was charged with failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004. Between 1996 and 2004, Snipes earned $37.9 million from his acting career and apparently failed to pay any taxes during that entire time.

In 2008, Snipes was acquitted of all felony charges. However, he was found guilty of three misdemeanor charges for failing to file tax returns. As a result, the actor was sentenced to three years in prison and was released in 2013. He served the rest of his sentence under house arrest. In addition to his prison sentence, Wesley was required to pay $17 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties to the IRS.

Wesley continued to fight his debt for years to come. In 2018, he offered to settle what by then had grown to be a $23.5 million debt for a paltry $842,000. The government rejected his offer and instead countered with $17 million. A judge eventually finalized the amount at $9.5 million. Unsatisfied, Wesley continued fighting even that reduced amount, claiming his $842,000 offer was a best and final offer considering his lack of assets and income. It's not clear as of this writing whether Wesley has paid off any or perhaps all of the debt. We may not know until the government makes a future filing because either the debt has been satisfied or due to further lack of payment.

New Jersey Mansion

In 2002, Wesley paid $5.6 million for a 10,000-square-foot mansion in Alpine, New Jersey.  In early 2008, it was reported that he owed $70,000 in back property taxes connected to the mansion. In March 2014, the home was sold for $3.5 million, representing a $2.1 million loss for the actor. He is a video tour of Wesley's former New Jersey mansion:

Life After Release From Prison

After being released, Wesley jumped straight back into the acting world with a role in the film "The Expendables 3." He has also appeared in movies like "Chi-Raq" and "Dolemite is My Name." Recently, he has appeared in 2020's "Cut Throat City," 2021's "Coming 2 America," and 2023's "Back on the Strip."

Involvement in Martial Arts

Wesley started training in martial arts at the age of 12, and today holds black belts in Hapkido (2nd degree) and Shotokan karate (5th degree) In addition, Snipes has been trained in the arts of Capoeira, Shaolin Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and kickboxing.

Projects Outside of Acting

Snipes also started his own security firm. The company was centered around providing security for VIPs and focused on hiring personnel with law enforcement and martial arts backgrounds. Wesley created his own film production company, which has produced films like "A Great and Mighty Walk: Dr. John Henrik Clarke." In 2017, his book "Talon of God" was published.

Personal Life

Snipes has five children. His first son was born to his first wife, April Snipes. In 2003, Wesley married Nikki Park, a painter. The couple has four children together. Although Snipes was raised a Christian, he converted to Islam in 1978. A decade later, he left the religion.

Snipes' apartment in New York City was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers. At the time, he was on the West Coast.

Wesley Snipes Career Earnings

  • Blade: Trinity
    $13 Million
  • The Fan
    $7 Million
  • Money Train
    $5.5 Million
  • Drop Zone
    $7 Million
  • Wildcats
    $30 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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