Last Updated: May 10, 2024
Richest CelebritiesDirectors
Net Worth:
$40 Million
Aug 20, 1958 (65 years old)
New York City
Film director, Film Producer, Television producer, Screenwriter, Actor
United States of America
💰 Compare David O. Russell's Net Worth

What Is David O. Russell's Net Worth?

David O. Russell is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter who has a net worth of $40 million. David O. Russell is most widely recognized for such films as "Spanking the Monkey" (1994), "Three Kings" (1999), "The Fighter" (2010), "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), "American Hustle" (2013), and "Joy" (2015). Though considered a brilliant writer/director, David is also known for being very difficult to work with and has lost both actors and funding due to his unpredictable temper. Russell has earned five Academy Award nominations, three for directing and two for screenwriting. Though he is best known for his work in film, David also executive produced the 2009 Syfy series "Outer Space Astronauts," and he appeared as himself on The CW's "Gossip Girl" in 2011.

Early Life

David O. Russell was born David Owen Russell on August 20, 1958, in Manhattan, New York City. He grew up in an atheist household in Larchmont, New York. His father, Bernard, served as the vice president of sales at the publishing company Simon & Schuster, and his mother, Maria, worked as a secretary there. David's heritage is Italian-American on his mother's side and Russian-Jewish on his father's side. Many of his paternal grandfather's relatives died in concentration camps. When Russell was 13, he made his first movie, using a Super 8 camera to film people around NYC for a school project. David studied at Mamaroneck High School, and he was voted "Class Rebel" there. As a high school student, Russell started a newspaper and enjoyed writing short stories. After high school, David majored in political science and English at Amherst College, earning an A.B. degree in 1981. His senior thesis was on the U.S. intervention in Chile that took place from 1963 to 1973.


After college, Russell went to Nicaragua and began teaching at a Sandinista literacy program. He directed a few documentaries, which led to a job on the PBS series "Smithsonian World" as a production assistant. In 1987, David wrote, directed, and produced the short film "Bingo Inferno: A Parody on American Obsessions," which played at the Sundance Film Festival, as did his short "Hairway to the Stars." After winning grant money from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts for a short film he made for a Boston TV station, Russell made his first feature film, 1994's "Spanking the Monkey." He subsequently had to return his grant money to the National Endowment for the Arts. The film earned critical acclaim and won two Independent Spirit Awards. David's next film was 1996's "Flirting with Disaster," which starred Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, and Téa Leoni, then he directed George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube in 1999's "Three Kings." He produced 2002's "The Slaughter Rule" and 2004's "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," then he directed 2004's "I Heart Huckabees," which received a Gotham Award nomination for Best Feature. Next, Russell directed "The Fighter," which earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and grossed $129.2 million at the box office.

David's 2012 film "Silver Linings Playbook" starred Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro, and it earned $236.4 million against a $21 million budget. "Silver Linings Playbook" won more than 80 awards and received eight Academy Award nominations. Russell then directed Lawrence, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Jeremy Renner in 2013's "American Hustle," which grossed $251.2 million at the box office and earned 10 Academy Award nominations. David co-wrote and directed the film "Accidental Love" but removed his name from the project in 2010, five years before it was finally released. His 2015 film "Joy" was based on the life of inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano (played by Jennifer Lawrence), and it earned $101.1 million and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Russell then directed the 2022 film "Amsterdam," starring Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington. In April 2024, it was reported that David was in talks to direct a reboot of "Get Smart" and that John Mulaney was interested in playing Maxwell Smart.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios)

Personal Life

David married Fine Line Features producer Janet Grillo in 1992, and they welcomed son Matthew before divorcing in 2007. In 2007, Russell began a relationship with costume designer Holly Davis, and they adopted a son named Leo. In 2011, David's transgender 19-year-old niece, Nicole Peloquin, filed a police report against him, accusing him of sexual assault. The case was closed because there were no witnesses, but according to Peloquin, Russell's hand "hovered above her genitals" when he was helping her with abdominal exercises, and after he asked about the hormones Nicole used to increase the size of her breasts, he put his hands in her shirt and felt both of her breasts. David confirmed that the event Nicole reported did happen, but he said that she acted "very provocative toward him and invited him to feel her breasts." Russell also said that he was "curious about the breast enhancement." David is an advocate for autism research as well as the treatment and support of mental illness, and he was honored at the Light Up the Night Gala for Autism in 2015. Russell has served on the creative council of the nonpartisan anti-corruption organization Represent.Us.

David is known for being abusive and combative toward actors starring in his films. In 1998, he nearly got into a fistfight with George Clooney due to tensions on the set of "Three Kings." Clooney later said that Russell was physically and verbally demeaning the crew and that he told the director, "David, it's a big day. But you can't shove, push or humiliate people who aren't allowed to defend themselves." George referred to the incident as "truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life."

When "I Heart Huckabees" was being filmed in 2003, Russell called Lily Tomlin "the crudest word imaginable, in front of the actors and crew," according to a 2004 article in "The New York Times." Videos of some of the confrontations between Russell and Tomlin leaked onto YouTube in 2007. In 2013, the Sony Pictures Hack revealed that David made "American Hustle" star Amy Adams' life "a living hell" during the filming of the movie and that Christian Bale once "got in his face and told him to stop acting like an asshole."

Real Estate

In August 2001, David paid $1.625 million for a home in Los Angeles set on two acres. Today the property is worth $5-7 million.

Awards and Nominations

Russell has won dozens of awards for his work. He has received five Academy Award nominations: Best Achievement in Directing for "The Fighter" (2011), "Silver Linings Playbook" (2013), and "American Hustle" (2014), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for "Silver Linings Playbook," and Best Writing, Original Screenplay for "American Hustle." He won BAFTA Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Silver Linings Playbook" and Best Original Screenplay for "American Hustle," and he earned Writers Guild of America Award nominations for those screenplays as well as the screenplay for 1999's "Three Kings." David received Directors Guild of America Award nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for "The Fighter" and "American Hustle. He has earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Director – Motion Picture for "The Fighter" and "American Hustle" and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture for "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle." Russell has received six Independent Spirit Award nominations, winning Best First Screenplay and Best First Feature for "Spanking the Monkey" in 1995 and Best Director and Best Screenplay for "Silver Linings Playbook" in 2013. His other nominations were for Best Director and Best Screenplay for "Flirting with Disaster" in 1997.

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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