Last Updated: October 25, 2023
Richest CelebritiesDirectors
Net Worth:
$20 Million
Jul 24, 1952 (71 years old)
5 ft 8 in (1.75 m)
Film director, Screenwriter, Film Producer, Film Editor, Painter, Photographer, Musician, Author, Television producer, Actor
United States of America
­čĺ░ Compare Gus Van Sant's Net Worth

What Is Gus Van Sant's Net Worth?

Gus Van Sant is an American director, writer, producer, editor, musician, and photographer who has a net worth of $20 million. Gus Van Sant has earned his net worth by directing films such as "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989), "My Own Private Idaho" (1991), "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" (1993), ""Good Will Hunting" (1997), "Finding Forrester" (2000), "Milk" (2008), "Promised Land" (2012), and "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" (2018).

Gus earned Academy Award nominations for directing "Good Will Hunting" and "Milk," and he has written, produced, and edited several of the films he has directed. He has also executive produced numerous films he didn't direct, including "Kids" (1995), "Speedway Junky" (1999), "Howl" (2010), "Revolution" (2013), and "Age Out" (2018). Van Sant wrote the 1997 novel "Pink," and he has published the photography books "108 Portraits" (1993) and "One Step Big Shot: Portraits by Gus van Sant" (2010). He has released the albums "Gus Van Sant" (1997) and "18 Songs About Golf" (1998), and he has appeared as himself in the film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (2001) and the television series "Entourage" (2008) and "Portlandia" (2011; 2014).

Early Life

Gus Van Sant was born Gus Green Van Sant Jr. on July 24, 1952, in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the son of Gus Green Van Sant Sr. and Betty Seay, and his father was a traveling salesman and clothing manufacturer who worked his way up to executive marketing positions such as the president of Apparel Operation for the White Stag Manufacturing Company. The family frequently moved due to Gus Sr.'s work, and Van Sant attended Darien High School in Connecticut and The Catlin Gabel School in Oregon. He became interested in visual art at an early age, focusing on Super-8 filmmaking and painting, and he starting making low-budget ($30 – $50) semi-autobiographical short films before he graduated from high school. Van Sant enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design to study painting in the early '70s, but the work of avant-garde directors led him to change his major to cinema.


Gus moved to Los Angeles in 1976 after he spent some time in Europe, and he landed a job as filmmaker Ken Shapiro's production assistant. In 1981, Van Sant made the film "Alice in Hollywood," which was never released. He later worked at an advertising agency in New York and saved up $20,000 during his time there. He used that money to finance the 1985 film "Mala Noche," which he wrote, directed, and produced. Next, Van Sant directed the 1989 Matt Dillon-Kelly Lynch crime drama "Drugstore Cowboy," which he co-wrote with Daniel Yost. The film earned Gus several awards including an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. Van Sant wrote and directed the 1991 film "My Own Private Idaho," which starred River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves and earned Gus another Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. He wrote, directed, produced, and edited 1993's "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," which starred Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Angie Dickinson, and Keanu Reeves, then he directed Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Matt Dillon in 1995's "To Die For." Van Sant received his first Academy Award nomination for directing the 1997 drama "Good Will Hunting." The film was written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and they starred in it alongside Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsg├ąrd, and Minnie Driver. "Good Will Hunting" grossed $225.9 million at the box office and earned nine Academy Award nominations.

Gus directed and produced the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," starring Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, and Anne Heche, then he directed the 2000 Sean Connery drama "Finding Forrester," which earned Van Sant awards from the Berlin International Film Festival and Christopher Awards. Gus wrote, directed, and edited 2002's "Gerry" and 2003's "Elephant," and he wrote, directed, produced, and edited 2005's "Last Days." Those three films made up the "Death Trilogy," and each film was based on real-life deaths. Next, Van Sant wrote, directed, and edited 2007's "Paranoid Park," which earned him the 60th Anniversary Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Gus directed Sean Penn in 2008's "Milk," which was about the life of assassinated politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the state of California. "Milk" received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Director. Van Sant directed and produced the 2011 romantic drama "Restless," then he directed 2012's "Promised Land" and 2015's "The Sea of Trees." "Promised Land," which starred Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and Frances McDormand, was named one of 2012's top 10 films by the National Board of Review. Gus wrote, directed, and edited the 2018 comedy-drama "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot," which starred Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black.

Van Sant has also directed numerous short films, including "Little Johnny" (1972), "My Friend" (1982), "Where'd She Go?" (1983), and "Four Boys in a Volvo" (1996), and music videos such as David Bowie's "Fame '90" (1990), Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge" (1992), and Elton John's "The Last Song" (1992).

Gus Van Sant

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Personal Life

Gus is gay, and many of his films, such as "Mala Noche," "My Own Private Idaho" and "Milk," deal with themes of homosexuality. "My Own Private Idaho" was one of the last movies River Phoenix filmed before dying of a drug overdose in 1993, and Van Sant's novel "Pink" has been described as "a thinly veiled exploration of his grief over River Phoenix's death."

Awards and Nominations

Van Sant has received two Academy Award nominations, Best Director for "Good Will Hunting" (1998) and Best Achievement in Directing for "Milk" (2008). Those films also earned him Directors Guild of America Award nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. He has won four awards at the Berlin International Film Festival: Best Short Film for "Five Ways to Kill Yourself" and "My New Friend" (1987), the C.I.C.A.E. Award for Forum of New Cinema for "Drugstore Cowboy" (1990), the Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas for "Finding Forrester" (2001), and the International Jury prize for "Promised Land" (2013). At the Cannes Film Festival, Gus won the Cinema Prize of the French National Education System, the Palme d'Or, and the Best Director award for "Elephant" in 2003 and the 60th Anniversary Prize for "Paranoid Park" in 2007. He received Independent Spirit Awards for Best Screenplay for "Drugstore Cowboy" (1990) and "My Own Private Idaho" (1992), and "Drugstore Cowboy" also earned him awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and PEN Center USA West Literary Awards. For "My Private Idaho," he won two awards at the Deauville Film Festival as well as the Toronto International Film Festival's International Critics' Award.

Van Sant won a French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Award for Best Foreign Film for "Elephant" (2004), a Golden Rooster Award for Best International Film (Audience Award) for "Last Days" (2006), a Seattle International Film Festival award for Best Short Film for "Allen Ginsberg: The Ballad of the Skeletons" (1997), a San Francisco Film Critics Circle award for Best Director for "Milk" (2008), and a Buffalo International Film Festival award for Best Feature Narrative for "Age Out" (2018). He has been honored with the L.A. Outfest Achievement Award (1999), the Provincetown International Film Festival's Filmmaker on the Edge Award (2002), the Gotham Awards' Tribute Award (2008), and the Palm Springs International Film Festival's Sonny Bono Visionary Award (2009).

Real Estate

Van Sant put his 2,580 square foot home on Sauvie Island near Portland, Oregon, on the market for $1.795 million in late 2014, and it sold for $1.4 million in October 2015. The home sits on 15.4 acres of land and includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a "converted barn/artist studio."

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.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction