What Is Dean Koontz's Net Worth?
Dean Koontz is an American author and producer who has a net worth of $200 million. Dean Koontz is known for his suspense thrillers and for his frequent incorporation of elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and even satire. Dean has published more than 100 novels, and several of his books have appeared on the "New York Times" Bestseller List, with 14 hard-covers and 16 paperbacks reaching the #1 position as of this writing. Koontz has sold more than 500 million books worldwide, and he is one of the richest authors in the world. Many of Dean's novels have been adapted into films, TV movies, or miniseries, such as "Watchers," "Hideaway," "Mr. Murder," and "Odd Thomas," and he wrote the screenplays for 1990's "The Face of Fear" and 1998's "Phantoms." Koontz produced "Phantoms" and "Mr. Murder" as well as the TV movies "Intensity," "Sole Survivor," and "Black River."
Dean Koontz was born Dean Ray Koontz on July 9, 1945, in Everett, Pennsylvania. Dean is the son of Raymond and Florence Koontz, and his father was an abusive alcoholic. In a 1998 interview with the "San Francisco Chronicle," Koontz said of his father, "He was diagnosed as a borderline schizophrenic with tendencies of violence. He drank a fifth a day all his life, which made things worse. Later, he was diagnosed as sociopathic, which put a lot of things into perspective. Sociopaths fake emotion. They don't really feel the emotions ordinary people feel, and they don't believe that others do, either." He added, "Living under the thumb of someone like that is a pretty strange existence. He was very violent, always in trouble with the police. He held 44 jobs in 34 years. He punched out the boss and was fired." Raymond was admitted to a psychiatric ward after he tried to stab Dean.
Koontz won an "Atlantic Monthly" fiction competition during his senior year at Shippensburg State College, and after graduating in 1967, he began teaching English at Mechanicsburg High School. In the '60s, Dean worked for a federally funded initiative called the Appalachian Poverty Program, which was dedicated to helping impoverished children. In his book "The Dean Koontz Companion," Koontz wrote that his experience with the Appalachian Poverty Program made him realize "that most of these programs are not meant to help anyone, merely to control people and make them dependent. I was forced to reconsider everything I'd once believed. I developed a profound distrust of government regardless of the philosophy of the people in power."
After Dean had been teaching for a year and a half, his wife, Gerda, told him, "I'll support you for five years, and if you can't make it as a writer in that time, you'll never make it." Koontz's first novel, "Star Quest," was published in 1968, and the following year, he published "The Fall of the Dream Machine," "The Dark Symphony," and "Fear That Man." In the '70s, he started writing horror and suspense, sometimes using a pen name. The pen names Dean has used include Aaron Wolfe, Brian Coffey, Owen West, Deanna Dwyer, and David Axton. During that decade, Dean published more than 30 novels, such as "Dark of the Woods" (1970), "Beastchild" (1970), "Legacy of Terror" (1971), "Shattered" (1973), "The Long Sleep" (1975), "Night Chills" (1976), "Face of Fear" (1977), and "The Key to Midnight" (1979). The 1973 novel "Demon Seed" was Koontz's first bestseller, selling more than two million copies in just one year, and a film adaptation was released in 1977. Dean's first hardcover bestseller was 1986's "Strangers, and in the '80s, he also published novels such as "Whispers" (1980), "Phantoms" (1983), "Watchers" (1987), "Lightning" (1988), and "Midnight" (1989). Koontz wrote and executive produced the 1998 film adaptation of "Phantoms," which starred Peter O'Toole, Rose McGowan, Joanna Going, Liev Schreiber, and Ben Affleck and earned a Saturn Award nomination for Best Horror Film.
Dean published more than 20 novels in the '90s, including "The Servants of Twilight" (1990), "Hideaway" (1992), "Mr. Murder" (1993), "Intensity" (1995), "Tick Tock" (1996), "Sole Survivor" (1997), "Fear Nothing" (1998), and revised versions of 1972's "Chase" and 1973's "Demon Seed." The 1995 film adaptation of "Hideaway" starring Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti, Alicia Silverstone, Alfred Molina, and Jeremy Sisto, and "Mr. Murder" was made into an ABC miniseries starring Stephen Baldwin, Thomas Haden Church, James Coburn, and Kaley Cuoco. In 2003, Koontz published "Odd Thomas," which ended up being the first in a series of seven novels. "Odd Thomas" also spawned three prequel graphic novels, two novellas, and the illustrated book "Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages" as well as a 2013 film starring Anton Yelchin in the title role. In 2019, Dean signed a deal to begin releasing novels and stories through Amazon Publishing. Since teaming up with Amazon, Koontz has published more than a dozen Amazon Original Stories and several novels, such as "Elsewhere" (2020), "Devoted" (2020), "The Other Emily" (2021), and "Quicksilver" (2022).
Dean married his high school sweetheart, Gerda Ann Cerra, on October 15, 1966. Between 1991 and 2004, Koontz donated $2.5 million to the charitable organization Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), and to thank him, CCI gifted him a Golden Retriever named Trixie. Dean has written three books credited to Trixie, 2004's "Life Is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living," 2005's "Christmas Is Good!: Trixie Treats & Holiday Wisdom," and 2008's "Bliss to You: Trixie's Guide to a Happy Life," and the profits were donated to CCI. Sadly, Trixie was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which caused a tumor to form in her heart, and Dean and Gerda had to say goodbye to her in June 2007. Two years after Trixie's death, Koontz published a "profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion" titled "A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog." In 2008, Dean and Gerda adopted a new dog named Anna, and they later discovered that she was Trixie's grandniece. Anna passed away in May 2016, and Dean and Gerda adopted a new dog named Elsa in July of that year.
Awards and Nominations
In 1971, "Beastchild" earned Koontz a Locus Award nomination for Best Short Story, a Hugo Award nomination for Best Novella, and a Locus Award nomination for Best Novel. In 1995, he received a Prometheus Award nomination for Best Novel for "Dark Rivers of the Heart," and the following year, he won the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award and earned a Locus Award nomination for Best Collection for "Strange Highways." In 2003, Dean was honored with the Ross Macdonald Literary Award, which is given to "a California writer whose work raises the standard of literary excellence."
In 2000, Dean and Gerda paid $9 million for a 2.5-acre undeveloped hilltop property in an exclusive gated community in Newport Beach, California, called Pelican Hill. They proceeded to spend an unknown, but presumably ungodly, amount of money over several years building what eventually became a 30,000 square-foot palatial mansion. It's the largest home in Pelican Hill. Dean is pictured above poolside at the mansion in 2003.
In 2014, Dean told the "Wall Street Journal" that building the house was "an insane undertaking" but worth the effort because he "had been waiting my entire life to build a house that I would never want to leave."
Well, never say never because in June 2020 Dean and Gerda sold the home for $50 million to businessman/reality star Glenn Stearns. That is the highest amount ever paid for a home in Newport Coast, California, as of this writing. It is the second-highest amount ever paid for a home in Orange County, behind the $55 million paid by an Arizona billionaire for a home in Corona Del Mar in 2018. Gerda and Dean own two homes in a nearby gated community called Shady Canyon. They paid $10.5 million for one of the homes right around the time of the sale of their Pelican Hill mansion. In 2019, they paid $11.6 million for their first Shady Canyon home.