Billy Bob Thornton is an American actor best known for Sling Blade, Armageddon, and Fargo TV series. Since starting his acting career, Thornton has starred in more than 95 movies and television series.
Though, it’s not just his acting career that has contributed to his success. Billy Bob Thorton’s net worth is also impacted by his real estate investments and his work as a musician, producer, and director. Read on to discover Thornton’s most successful projects and trace his career from the beginning until now.
Billy Bob Thornton was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on August 4, 1955. His mother, Virginia Roberta Faulkner, was known to be a psychic. And his father, William Raymond “Billy Ray” Thornton, taught history and coached basketball in high school. Thornton has two brothers, John David and Jimmy Don, who is a songwriter.
Thornton attended Malvern High School and graduated in 1973. He excelled in baseball. However, an injury prevented him from pursuing further athletic goals. He then enrolled at Henderson State University to take up psychology. He completed two semesters before dropping out.
After moving to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, Thornton decided to establish an acting career with buddy Tom Epperson. The pair would work on numerous writing projects together later on.
Unfortunately, his plans of becoming an actor did not materialize as soon as he had hoped. And after meeting director and screenwriter Billy Wilder, Thornton began to take an interest in screenwriting.
Thornton had his film debut with a minor role in the 1988 drama South of Reno. He also played small parts in Chopper Chicks in Zombietown and Going Overboard, which was Adam Sandler’s film debut. On the small screen, Thornton appeared as a pawnshop clerk in an episode of Matlock.
In 1990, Thornton’s TV career would advance as he was cast as a recurring character in the drama series Outsiders. The following year, he would have his film directorial debut for the short film Widespread Panic: Live from the Georgia Theatre.
Then Thornton would achieve a major milestone in the 1992 film One False Move. He starred in the movie and wrote the screenplay, earning his first Best Screenplay win from Fantasporto Awards.
Thornton got another big TV break in 1992 when he was cast in the sitcom Hearts Afire. It was a popular show that starred John Ritter and Markie Post. Thornton appeared in 54 episodes of the show over a period of more than three years.
Thornton would then have a very busy and productive 1993 as he appeared in five films for the year. The first was the Western film Tombstone, starred in by Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. With a budget of $25 million, it was a box office hit with gross earnings of $56.5 million.
Tombstone was followed by the crime drama Blood In Blood Out, which turned out to be a flop.
Barely a few weeks later, Thornton would be redeemed when Indecent Proposal, his third-highest-grossing film to date, was released. With Demi Moore and Robert Redford at the helm, the film opened to theater revenues of $18.4 million on the first weekend. It went on to make a total of $266.6 million at the worldwide box office.
In 1996, the independent drama film Sling Blade would have a significant impact not only on Billy Bob Thornton’s net worth but also on his reputation in the film industry. Thornton was not only the lead actor but also the writer and director of the movie. He went on to win the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the flick. And not only that, he was also nominated for the Best Actor Oscar as well.
With a production budget of $140 million, the film earned $553.7 million worldwide.
A Simple Plan
The following year, Thornton would receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work on A Simple Plan. The film itself garnered dozens of wins and nominations. Unfortunately, the box office performance did not reflect the same success. It only made $16.3 million in theaters compared to its budget of $30 million.
The Man Who Wasn’t There
In 2001, Thornton delivered a stellar performance in the Coen brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There. The film was well-received by mover-goers and film critics. However, it doalso earned many prestigious nominations and wins from all over the world. Despite being such a highly critically acclaimed film, it was a box office failure, earning only $18.9 million globally against a budget of $20 million.
In the 2003 Christmas romantic comedy Love Actually, Thornton joins an ensemble cast, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Emma Thompson. Thornton plays the President of the United States in the film, which was a massive commercial success at the box office, raking in $245.2 million on a budget of $40 million.
Bad Santa Movies
Thornton starred in two Christmas films in 2003, the other being Bad Santa. It also did very well in theaters, drawing in revenues of $76.5 million on a $23 million production budget.
The success of this film paved the way for a sequel 13 years later. However, Bad Santa 2 did not fare as well. It took a loss of a couple of million when it managed to earn only $24.1 million against its budget of $26 million.
Puss in Boots
In 2011, Thornton led his vocal talent to the animated film Puss in Boots as Jack to Amy Sedaris’s Jill. With Antonio Banderas leading the voice cast as Puss, the film went on to make $555 million at the global box office, with a budget of $130 million.
As of 2022, Puss in Boots is Thornton’s highest-grossing film.
Another notable contributor to Billy Bob Thornton’s net worth was his work in the television anthology series Fargo. For ten episodes, he portrayed the character of Lorne Malvo, who is the main antagonist of the show.
Thornton gave a riveting performance and was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor at the Primetime Emmys in 2015. He also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in the same year.
Before Fargo even ended, Thornton was already working on another successful television project. He was cast as Billy McBride in the legal drama series Goliath.
The show is available through streaming on Amazon Prime. And, as always, Thornton gave an excellent performance and went on to win the Best Actor Award at the Golden Globes in 2017.
Among Thornton’s most recent works are the films London Fields and A Million Little Pieces in 2018. And in 2021, he also starred as Marshal Jim Courtright in the Yellowstone spinoff 1883 for one episode.
Before he pursued an acting career, Thornton was a prolific musician. He was the drummer of Tres Hombres back in 1970. In 1985, he met Piet Botha and joined his South African rock band “Jack Hammer”. The following year, Thornton released one album with the band, called Death of a Gypsy.
Fast forward to the 2000s, Thornton released a number of solo albums with different recording companies. The first album was Private Radio in 2001, followed by The Edge of the World in 2003.
Billy Bob Thornton’s net worth is significantly impacted by his various real estate deals over the years.
When Thornton and Jolie were still married back in 2000, the ex-couple bought a Beverly Hills home for $3.7 million. The seller was Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash. After the divorce, Thornton retained ownership of the property, which he sold in 2013 at $10 million, making a remarkable profit.
Shortly after the sale, Thornton bought a 3,600 cliffside estate at the Mandeville Canyon. It sits right in the middle of the exclusive Brentwood neighborhood. The actor spent $2.7 million on this real estate investment. In 2021, he would sell the property for the full asking price of $3.6 million.
In 2008, Thornton spent $2.35 million on a 2,700 sq. ft. four-bedroom home in Malibu. He put it back on the market ten years later. However, buyers were scarce, and he had to settle for $2.1 million, which was the highest offer that he got.
Thornton has actually been married six times and is the father of four children. In 1978, he married Melissa Lee Gatlin, with whom he has a daughter named Amanda. The couple split after two years.
From 1986 to 1988, Thornton was married to actress Toni Lawrence. Then, in 1990, he married actress Cynda Williams, again separating after two years.
Thornton’s fourth wife was Pietra Dawn Cherniak, a Playboy model. They tied the knot in 1993 and had two sons together, Harry James and William. The marriage ended in April 1997.
In 2000, Thornton surprised the entertainment industry when he married Angelina Jolie, who was 20 years younger than him. They were supposed to adopt a child in Cambodia together. However, Jolie ended up adopting the child on her own. The famous couple broke up in 2002 and were divorced the following year.
Soon after the split, Thornton started dating Connie Angland, a makeup effects crew worker. They have a daughter named Bella. The couple was married in 2014.
Billy Bob Thornton’s Net Worth Today
As of 2022, Billy Bob Thornton’s net worth is estimated at $45 million. And while Thornton’s acting career is primarily responsible for that amount, his real estate investments, as well as his work as a director, producer, and musician, also impact his net worth.
Fans of Thornton can look forward to seeing him next in Where All Light Tends to Go, starring opposite Robin Wright. He’s also set to star in the upcoming Paramount+ series Land Man by creator Taylor Sheridan.
Thornton is also lending his voice to the upcoming Russo brothers’ flick, The Electric State, which is currently filming in Atlanta, Georgia. The big-budget Netflix movie stars Chris Pratt, Stanley Tucci, Millie Bobby Brown, Ke Huy Quan, Anthony Mackie, and more!