Last Updated: April 20, 2023
Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$40 Million
Date of Birth:
Mar 23, 1944 - Sep 15, 2019 (75 years old)
Place of Birth:
6 ft 3 in (1.93 m)
Record producer, Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician, Actor, Film Score Composer, Film Producer
United States of America
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What was Ric Ocasek's net worth?

Ric Ocasek was an American music producer and musician who had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death. Unfortunately, Ric Ocasek died on September 15, 2019 at the age of 75. His $40 million net worth was a combined net worth with his wife for three decades, super model Paulina Porizkova, however the vast majority of his wealth was held in trusts to protect his family's privacy. It should also be noted that after his death, Ric's will revealed that he did not intend for Paulina to share in any stake of his personal assets separate from their marital assets. According to his will, that included at the very least, $5 million worth of copyrighted intellectual property among other liquid assets on hand.

Ric Ocasek was best known as the frontman of the rock band the Cars. He recorded many hit songs with the band from 1978 to 1988, including "Shake it Up," "Drive," and "Tonight She Comes." Beyond the Cars, Ocasek had a solo career and produced for several other artists, including Alan Vega, Bad Religion, Weezer, and No Doubt. During their career, The Cars have sold 23 million albums in the United States alone. Ric Ocasek wrote the majority of their material, and served as co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist.

Early Life

Ric Ocasek was born as Richard Otcasek on March 23, 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland. He is of Polish and Czech descent. When he was 16, Ocasek moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where his father worked as a NASA systems analyst at the Lewis Research Center. Ocasek attended Maple Heights High School as a teen, graduating in 1963. He then briefly attended Antioch College and Bowling Green State University before dropping out to pursue his music career.

The Cars

In 1965, Ocasek met his future Cars bandmate Benjamin Orr, who was performing with his band on a local music variety show in Cleveland. A few years later, the two reconnected in Columbus and began performing together. They formed a band called ID Nirvana and played around the Ohio State University area. In the early 70s, Ocasek and Orr relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, where they formed a folk rock band called Milkwood. After that, Ocasek, Orr, and fellow future Cars bandmate Greg Hawkes formed the band Richard and the Rabbits. Ocasek and Orr went on to join Elliot Easton and Glenn Evans in the band Cap'n Swing, which enjoyed some radio success on WBCN.

In 1976, Ocasek, Orr, Easton, Hawkes, and drummer David Robinson formed the rock band the Cars. Ocasek and Orr served as co-lead vocalists, while Ocasek became the band's frontman, rhythm guitarist, and principal songwriter. The Cars went on to release their self-titled debut album in 1978. Peaking at number 18 on the Billboard 200, the album spawned a few of the band's most famous singles: "Just What I Needed," "My Best Friend's Girl," and "Good Times Roll." The Cars had even greater commercial success with their second album, 1979's "Candy-O," which reached number three on the Billboard 200. Next came "Panorama" in 1980, peaking at number five on the chart. The Cars achieved their first Billboard top-ten single the next year with "Shake it Up," from the album of the same name. Two further top-ten singles came in 1984: "Drive" and "You Might Think," both from the band's fifth studio album, "Heartbeat City." The Cars went on to release the album "Door to Door" in 1987; it was their final studio album with the original lineup, as the group disbanded the following year.

In 2000, Benjamin Orr passed away from cancer. A decade later, the remaining members of the Cars reunited to record their first album since 1987. The album, entitled "Move Like This," came out in the spring of 2011. It peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 and at number two on the Top Rock Albums chart. After the release of the album, the Cars embarked on an 11-city tour of North America. "Move Like This" would be the band's final studio album. In 2018, the Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and gave their final performance with Ocasek at the induction ceremony.

Ric Ocasek

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Solo Career

Ocasek launched his solo career in 1982 with his album "Beatitude," featuring Cars bandmate Greg Hawkes on keyboards. His next album was 1986's "This Side of Paradise," which again featured Hawkes as well as Cars bandmates Benjamin Orr and Elliot Easton, in addition to several other artists. The album spawned the single "Emotion in Motion," which became Ocasek's only top-40 hit as a solo artist, making it to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. His subsequent solo albums were "Quick Change World," "Troublizing," and

Production Work

While still performing with the Cars, Ocasek began a prolific career as a record producer. Early on, he produced albums by fledgling groups such as Romeo Void and Bad Brains. In the 90s, Ocasek produced albums by Suicide, Black 47, Weezer, Bad Religion, Nada Surf, and Guided by Voices, among other artists. His other producing credits include albums by No Doubt, Le Tigre, the Pink Spiders, and the Cribs.

Ric produced Weezer's debut album, known as the Blue Album. That album eventually sold 15 million copies worldwide. He also produced Weezer's third album, known as the Green Album, which was also certified multi-platinum.

Other Media

Ocasek was involved in various other media beyond music. In 1993, he penned a book of poetry, and later created a series of drawings, photo collages, and mixed-media works. Ocasek also appeared briefly in the films "Hairspray" and "Made in Heaven" in the late 80s.


Ric Ocasek was married three times. He was wed to his first wife, Constance Campbell, from 1963 until their divorce in 1971. They had two sons named Christopher and Adam.

Ocasek subsequently married Suzanne, with whom he had another two children, Eron and Derek. He was still married to his second wife Suzanne Ocasek in 1984 when he met 18-year-old model Paulina Porizkova while filming a music video for The Cars' song "Drive".

Ric and Suzanne divorced in 1988. Ric and Paulina married in 1989. Together, they had two sons named Jonathan and Oliver. Ocasek and Porizkova separated in 2017.

The year before they married, Paulina signed an endorsement deal with Estée Lauder that paid her $6 million per year through 1995. In total, she earned $42 million before taxes from that one deal alone, which is the same as around $80 million after adjusting for inflation to today's dollars. They were legally married up until Ric's death in 2019 but had been "peacefully separated" since May 2018.

In September of 2019, Ocasek was found dead by his estranged wife at his townhouse in New York City. He had recently undergone surgery, and was 75 years of age.

Real Estate

Ric and Paulina bought a 6,000 square-foot townhouse in New York City for $2.5 million in 1989. The townhouse, which was originally built in the 1850s, has 5-bedrooms, a garden, two fireplaces, 20 foot ceilings, and a state-of-the-art recording studio. Rick and Paulina listed the townhouse for sale in January 2019 for $15.3 million. His estate sold the townhouse in September 2020 for $10 million.

They also co-owned a 5.5-acre country property 90 miles north of NYC in the town of Millbrook, New York which they bought in 1997 for $650,000.

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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