Last Updated: October 17, 2023
Richest CelebritiesDirectors
Net Worth:
$20 Million
Date of Birth:
Dec 21, 1935 - Jun 16, 2017 (81 years old)
Place of Birth:
Oak Park
Film director, Cinematographer, Film Editor, Film Producer, Screenwriter
United States of America
💰 Compare John G. Avildsen's Net Worth

What was John G. Avildsen's Net Worth?

John G. Avildsen was an American film director who had a net worth of $20 million at the time of his death. John G. Avildsen was born in Oak Park, Illinois in December 1935. He died on June 16, 2017 at the age of 81. He was probably best known for directing "The Karate Kid" film franchise and "Rocky," among many other films.

He first directed the 1969 movie "Turn on to Love". In 1970 Avildsen directed the films "Guess What We Learned in School Today?", and "Joe". He directed the films "Super Dick" and "Okay Bill" in 1971. Avildsen also directed the movies "The Stoolie", "Save the Tiger", "Foreplay", "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings", "Rocky", "Slow Dancing in the Big City", "The Formula", "Neighbors", "A Night in Heaven", "The Karate Kid", "The Karate Kid, Part II", "Happy New Year", "For Keeps?", "Lean on Me", "The Karate Kid, Part III", "Rocky V", "The Power of One", "8 Seconds", "A Fine and Private Place", and "Desert Heat". Avildsen won an Academy Award for Best Director for "Rocky" in 1977. He also won a Directors Guild of America Award in 1977 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for "Rocky". Avildsen was also nominated for a Best Director award at the 1977 Golden Globes.

Early Life

John G. Avildsen was born on December 21, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois to parents Ivy and Clarence Avildsen. His father worked as a tool manufacturer. He attended Indian Mountain School and then the Hotchkiss School. After finishing high school, he attended New York University, enrolling in night classes while he also worked in advertising. While at NYU, he befriended Norman Wexler, a copywriter who would later write one of the screenplays for one of Avildsen's films. He was called to serve in the U.S. Army and then honorably discharged in 1961.


After his service in the Army, Avildsen started out as an assistant director on films by Arthur Penn and Otto Preminger. He also acted as the director of photography on the 1969 film "Out of It." In 1970, he directed his first feature film, the low budget "Joe" which starred Peter Boyle. The film was a big box-office hit, grossing $26 million from a budget of only $100,000. Avildsen followed up this early success with the low budget 1971 cult classic comedy film "Cry Uncle!" starring Allen Garfield. The film was released in the U.K. as "Superdick" and later on video as "American Oddballs." The same year, he also directed "Okay Bill."

In 1973, Avildsen directed the film "Save the Tiger," which was his most critically-acclaimed work to date. The film was nominated for three Oscars and the star of the film, Jack Lemmon, won the Oscar in the Best Actor category. In 1974, he directed "The Stoolie" followed by "Fore Play" and "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings" in 1975.

Avildsen's greatest success came a few years later in 1976 when he directed the film "Rocky." He worked closely with Sylvester Stallone on the film as Stallone both starred in and contributed to the writing of the movie. The film was a major critical and commercial success and became the highest-grossing film of 1976. It earned ten Academy Award nominations and won three, including in the Best Picture and Best Director categories. He was also nominated in the Best Director category at the Golden Globe Awards and the BAFTA Awards. While Avildsen did not direct the film's immediate sequels, he did return to direct what was then expected to be the series' final installment, "Rocky V," in 1990.

What is John G. Avildsen's Net Worth?


In 1978, Avildsen directed "Slow Dancing in the Big City." In 1980, he directed "The Formula," which was a critical failure, so much so that he received a nomination in the Worst Director category at the Razzie Awards. The following year, he directed "Neighbors." In 1982, he received a nomination at the Academy Awards in the Best Documentary, Short Subject category for his film "Travelling Hopefully." In 1983, he directed "A Night in Heaven."

Avildsen's next major success came in 1984 when he directed "The Karate Kid." The film was one of the highest-grossing films of the year and Hollywood's biggest sleeper hit. It also subsequently launched a media franchise and is credited with popularizing karate in the United States. In 1986, Avildsen directed the film's sequel, "The Karate Kid Part II," and then a third film, "The Karate Kid Part III,' in 1989. He also directed the film "For Keeps" in 1988. In 1989, Avildsen directed "Lean on Me."

In 1992, Avildsen directed "The Power of One." The film is loosely based on Bryce Courtenay's novel of the same name and stars Stephen Dorff, John Gielgud, Morgan Freeman, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Daniel Craig in his feature film debut. In 1994, Avildsen directed "8 Seconds," a contemporary Western biographical drama film about bull riding and rodeo legend, Lane Frost. In 1999, Avildsen directed his final film – "Inferno." The film is also known by the title "Desert Heat." It stars Jean-Claude van Damme, Danny Trejo, and Pat Morita.

Personal Life and Death

Avildsen was married twice. His first wife was Marie Olga Maturevich, After they divorced, he married actress Tracy Brooks Swope in 1987. They later separated in 2007. He has six children – Ash, Izzy, Jonathan, Anthony, Penelope, and Bridget. His son Ash, from whom he was estranged, founded Sumerian Records. His son Jonathan appeared in the films "The Karate Kid Part III" and "Rocky V."

On June 16, 2017, Avildsen died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 81 years old. According to his son, Anthony, his father died of pancreatic cancer.

A documentary on the life, career, and films of Avildsen was released in August 2017, two months after his death. The film is called "John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs" and was directed by Derek Wayne Johnson. It features interviews with people like Sylvester Stallone, Ralph Macchio, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Weintraub, and Burt Reynolds. The documentary is a companion to the book "The Films of John G. Avildsen: Rocky, The Karate Kid, and other Underdogs" by authors Larry Powell and Tom Garrett.

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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