How much is Willem Dafoe worth?

Net Worth:$40 Million
Profession:Professional Actor
Date of Birth:July 22, 1955
Country:United States of America
1.75 m

Who Is Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe is an actor who is known for his roles as villains thanks to his recognizable face and distinguishing features. He has a seasoned career that goes back forty years and has created bonds with some of the most famed and acclaimed filmmakers of our time. Dafoe has been nominated for four Academy Awards and balances blockbuster movies and independent films better than any other actor in the industry, as he has seen major box office success with Spider-Man, John Wick, and more. At the same time, he has a penchant for starring in highly experimental films to which he has been lauded for and has become a critical darling. He is known for his stand out performances in movies such as Wild at Heart, The English Patient, and Shadow of the Vampire.

American actor Willem Dafoe has a net worth of $40 million dollars, as of 2020.

How Did Willem Dafoe Get So Rich?

Thanks largely in part to being cast in Spider-Man, which was an unprecedented success at the box office, and featuring in the sequels, Dafoe has accrued a substantial amount of wealth. His net worth may come as a surprise considering the amount of experimental ventures and low performing movies the actor has under his belt.

Dafoe has starred in many movies that have been big hits, such as Inside Man, the Spike Lee directed bank heist movie, which grossed $145 million, and most successfully, the animated Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, which made almost $900 million. Even many of the actor’s roles in independent movies have seen large amounts of success. Though Wes Anderson is in art director to the core, his collaborations with Dafoe are massively financially successful at the box-office, culminating with The Grand Budapest Hotel, which made almost $150 million.

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It isn’t just his roles in movies that helped Dafoe gain the wealth that he has. Even somebody as artistic as Dafoe knows that they have to offset the risk of an independent movie with something more financially lucrative, and that’s why the star has acted in Super Bowl commercials for Mercedes-Benz and even starred in short films for Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Why Is He So Famous?

Though he had leading roles in the early 1980s, it was a major role in the Oliver Stone helmed war movie Platoon when Dafoe started gaining accolades for his acting and getting exposure to much larger audiences than he was ever used to. His performance in the movie even got him his first Academy Award nomination. Honing in on the success of starring in a film about the horrors of the war in Vietnam, the actor starred in a movie with similar themes the following year, Off Limits, and even lent his voice to the Vietnam documentary, Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam. It was beginning to look like Dafoe was being type-cast to these kinds of movies.

However, in 1988, Dafoe was cast in what would be his biggest movie of that decade. He played Jesus Christ in The Last Temptation of Christ, the drama directed by gangster movie veteran, Martin Scorsese. Despite the movie being somewhat controversial because it didn’t stay true to the events as they happened in the bible, Dafoe was praised for his intense performance of the prophet.

Dafoe had a moderately successful early 90’s, but it wasn’t until 1997 when he realized his potential of being the lead villain in action movies. He was cast as the antagonist in Speed 2: Cruise Control, and though the film wasn’t as successful as it’s predecessor and underperformed at the box office (Dafoe was even nominated for a Razzie award for his performance,) it opened up doors in hollywood for the actor to take on some of pop culture’s most iconic characters.

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In 2002, he played the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. It was the first time the super hero was on the big screen and it went on to have the biggest opening weekend in cinema history at the time, being the first movie to ever make over $100 million within three days. Dafoe was cited specifically for being a stand out in the movie’s cast. He would continue being the face of evil in movies such as Once Upon A Time In Mexico, The Clearing, Tales From Earthsea, and is always in contention to play The Joker every time a new Batman movie is announced. It even became a big possibility in 1989 when he was competing against Jack Nicholson for the role.

What Makes Him So Successful?

There a few actors who can keep up with Dafoe’s constant output and energy. A lot of the actor’s success comes from the sheer amount of works he puts in to his craft, often starring in three movies per year.

Dafoe also has a great working relationship with several directors. He has worked on three movies with controversial director Lars Von Trier, with one of them being Antichrist, a movie that depicts grotesque sexual violence. Another collaborator on the other side of the spectrum is Wes Anderson, who is much less controversial and more colorful, as the actor has been directed by Anderson in The Life Aquatic, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

One of the most important factors of why Dafoe is so successful is that he knows how to balance starring in independent films and having roles in huge blockbuster movies, as for an actor there is no better way to hedge your bets. When every potential job for an actor is based on the performance of their previous movie, it’s always great to be continually working on each side of the industry spectrum. Dafoe is one of the few actors who can play a part in Spider-Man 3 and just a year later star in Antichrist.


Thanks to Willem Dafoe’s extremely hectic schedule, the actor is reportedly worth an estimated $40 million. That figure is set to jump up as he has three movies lined up for this year alone, including another collaboration with Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch. He is even currently filming three movies at once, which include the movie Nightmare Alley, penned and directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and The Card Counter, in which he’ll be starring alongside comedian Tiffany Haddish.

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