Joel Mccrea Net Worth When He Died

Joel McCrea, a distinguished actor of Hollywood’s Golden Age, left behind a legacy that spanned over five decades. With his rugged good looks and natural acting style, McCrea graced the silver screen in a variety of roles, most notably in Westerns and adventure films. When he passed away on October 20, 1990, he not only left behind a rich cinematic history but also a substantial net worth accumulated over his extensive career.

Understanding Joel McCrea’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death

Joel McCrea’s net worth at the time of his death was a testament to his successful career in Hollywood. While exact figures are not publicly available, various sources have estimated his net worth to be in the millions. McCrea was known for his wise investments, particularly in real estate, which contributed significantly to his wealth.

Joel McCrea’s Career Earnings

McCrea’s earnings from his acting career were considerable. He starred in over 90 films, and at the peak of his career, he was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. His salary from films, coupled with smart financial decisions, played a crucial role in building his net worth.

Investments and Real Estate

Aside from his acting income, McCrea was a savvy investor, particularly in real estate. He owned a large ranch in California, which increased in value over the years and contributed to his wealth. His investment portfolio likely included stocks and bonds, although details of these investments remain private.

Philanthropy and Estate Planning

McCrea was also known for his philanthropic efforts. He and his wife, actress Frances Dee, donated significant amounts to various causes and institutions. It is important to note that his estate planning could have included trusts and charitable donations, which may have impacted the net worth that was left behind.

Joel McCrea’s Early Life and Career Beginnings

Joel McCrea was born on November 5, 1905, in South Pasadena, California. He developed an interest in acting at a young age and pursued this passion through various stage productions and eventually, film.

Breaking into Hollywood

McCrea’s good looks and natural acting ability caught the attention of Hollywood studios, and he quickly began to land roles in silent films and early talkies. His breakout role came in 1930 with “The Silver Horde,” and he continued to build his career from there.

Rise to Stardom

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, McCrea’s popularity soared. He starred in a variety of genres but became best known for his Westerns. Films like “Union Pacific” (1939) and “Sullivan’s Travels” (1941) cemented his status as a leading man in Hollywood.

Joel McCrea’s Peak Earning Years

During the 1940s and 1950s, McCrea was at the height of his earning power. He commanded top dollar for his film roles and was among the most bankable stars of his time.

Salary Per Film

McCrea’s salary per film during these peak years was substantial. For example, he reportedly earned $250,000 for “The Virginian” in 1946, which is equivalent to millions in today’s dollars when adjusted for inflation.

Endorsements and Other Income

In addition to his film earnings, McCrea likely benefited from endorsements and personal appearances. While not as prevalent as they are for today’s celebrities, these opportunities would have contributed to his overall net worth.

Joel McCrea’s Later Years and Retirement

As McCrea aged, he continued to work in films but also focused on his ranch and personal interests. He appeared in fewer films but still maintained a presence in the industry.

Transition to Television

In the 1950s and 1960s, McCrea made the transition to television, appearing in various shows and made-for-TV movies. While these roles likely did not pay as much as his earlier film work, they provided a steady income during his later years.

Real Estate Appreciation

McCrea’s real estate investments, particularly his ranch, appreciated over time. By the time of his death, the value of his real estate holdings had increased significantly, adding to his net worth.

Joel McCrea’s Personal Life and Family

McCrea was married to actress Frances Dee for 57 years until his death. The couple had three sons together, and their family life was relatively private.

Frances Dee’s Contributions to Net Worth

Frances Dee also had a successful acting career, and her earnings and investments would have contributed to the couple’s combined net worth.

Inheritance and Estate

Upon his death, McCrea’s estate would have been inherited by his wife and children. The specifics of his will and how his assets were distributed are not publicly known.

Joel McCrea’s Legacy and Influence

McCrea’s legacy extends beyond his films. He is remembered as one of the great actors of his time, and his influence on the Western genre is particularly notable.

Posthumous Recognition

After his death, McCrea continued to be recognized for his contributions to cinema, including posthumous awards and acknowledgments from film organizations and festivals.

Preservation of His Films

The preservation of McCrea’s films ensures that future generations can appreciate his work. Many of his films have been restored and are available on various media platforms.

Joel McCrea’s Net Worth: A Summary

  • Estimated Net Worth: $10 million
  • Age: 84 (at the time of death)
  • Born: November 5, 1905
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Source of Wealth: Actor, Real Estate Investor

Frequently Asked Questions

What was Joel McCrea’s most successful film?

While it’s difficult to pinpoint one film as his most successful, “Sullivan’s Travels” and “Ride the High Country” are often cited as some of his most significant works.

Did Joel McCrea come from a wealthy family?

No, McCrea did not come from a wealthy family. He built his wealth through his acting career and smart investments.

Was Joel McCrea involved in any business ventures outside of acting?

Yes, McCrea was involved in real estate and ranching, which contributed to his net worth.

How did Joel McCrea’s net worth compare to other actors of his time?

McCrea’s net worth was comparable to other leading actors of his era, though some, like his contemporary Gary Cooper, may have had higher net worths.

Did Joel McCrea leave any of his wealth to charity?

While specific details are not known, McCrea was known for his philanthropy, and it is likely that he made charitable bequests in his will.


Joel McCrea’s net worth at the time of his death was the culmination of a successful acting career, wise investments, and a life lived with financial acumen. His legacy in Hollywood is marked by memorable performances and a body of work that continues to be celebrated. McCrea’s story is one of talent, hard work, and the foresight to invest in assets that would secure his financial future and that of his family for years to come.

The net worth figures and related information presented here are derived from a variety of public sources. These figures should not be regarded as definitive or fully accurate, as financial positions and valuations are subject to change over time.
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