What is Brian De Palma’s Net Worth?
Brian De Palma is an American film director and screenwriter who has a net worth of $40 million. Brian De Palma is known for his lurid psychological thriller and crime films. His work includes mainstream hits such as “Carrie,” “The Untouchables,” and “Mission: Impossible” as well as such cult classics as “Sisters,” “Phantom of the Paradise,” and “Blow Out.” Heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, among other filmmakers, De Palma was a leading member of the New Hollywood era.
Early Life and Education
Brian De Palma was born on September 11, 1940 in Newark, New Jersey as the youngest of three sons of Italian-American parents Vivienne and Anthony. Raised in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, he went to various Quaker and Protestant schools as a youth, and graduated from Friends’ Central School. De Palma had a bitter relationship with his father, who engaged in adulterous activity; the teenaged De Palma would often covertly follow him and record his affairs.
For college, De Palma went to Columbia University, where he studied physics. After graduating in 1962, he went to graduate school at Sarah Lawrence College to study theater, earning his MA in 1964 as one of the first male students at the newly coed institution. It was at Sarah Lawrence that De Palma became influenced by such filmmakers as Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Jean-Luc Godard.
Career Beginnings in Film
While still at Sarah Lawrence, De Palma collaborated with theater professor Wilford Leach and classmate Cynthia Monroe on the film “The Wedding Party”; it also featured a young, unknown Robert De Niro. Shot in 1963, the film was released in 1969 after De Palma had directed “Murder a la Mod” and “Greetings,” the latter of which also featured De Niro. The two reunited again in 1970 for the black comedy “Hi, Mom!,” in which De Niro reprised his role as peeping top and aspiring filmmaker Jon Rubin. The same year, De Palma co-directed the performance documentary “Dionysus in ’69.”
Transition to Hollywood
Relocating to Hollywood in the early 70s, De Palma directed the comedy “Get to Know Your Rabbit,” starring Tommy Smothers and Orson Welles. De Palma did not enjoy the experience. He subsequently directed the psychological horror film “Sisters,” starring Margot Kidder as separated conjoined twins. De Palma’s next film was the rock musical “Phantom of the Paradise,” starring and featuring the music of Paul Williams. He then directed the psychological thriller “Obsession,” which came out in 1976. That same year, De Palma had his biggest hit yet with the supernatural horror film “Carrie,” based on the eponymous Stephen King novel. A box-office and critical smash, the film earned Academy Award nominations for stars Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. Continuing to gravitate toward the supernatural, De Palma next directed “The Fury,” based on the eponymous John Farris novel and starring Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving, and Carrie Snodgress.
Film Career in the 80s and 90s
The 80s was a prolific decade for De Palma, beginning with the releases of “Home Movies” and “Dressed to Kill.” Following those, De Palma directed the neo-noir thriller “Blow Out,” starring John Travolta as a movie sound effects engineer who incidentally records audio of a political assassination. Next came 1983’s “Scarface,” a remake of the classic Howard Hawks film starring Al Pacino as Cuban drug lord Tony Montana. This was followed by the erotic thriller “Body Double” and the black comedy crime film “Wise Guys.” In 1987, De Palma had a mainstream hit with the crime film “The Untouchables,” which earned Sean Connery the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. De Palma’s final film of the decade was the Vietnam War drama “Casualties of War,” starring Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox.
De Palma began the 90s with the notorious flop “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” based on the eponymous Tom Wolfe novel and starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith. He had greater success with his 1992 psychological thriller “Raising Cain” and his 1993 crime drama “Carlito’s Way,” which reunited him with Al Pacino and Sean Penn. De Palma’s biggest box-office hit, however, was the 1996 spy film “Mission: Impossible,” based on the classic television series and starring Tom Cruise as agent Ethan Hunt. One of the highest-grossing films of the year, it spawned a long-running film franchise. Closing out the 90s, De Palma directed the mystery thriller “Snake Eyes,” starring Nicolas Cage.
Further Film Career
De Palma’s work in the 00s was mostly tepidly received by both critics and audiences. He began the century with the science-fiction adventure film “Mission to Mars.” Following that, he directed the erotic thriller “Femme Fatale,” a box-office flop that later gained a cult following. In 2006, De Palma returned to the neo-noir genre with “The Black Dahlia,” based on the eponymous novel by James Ellroy. Although it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, the overall critical and commercial failure of the film precipitated De Palma’s exit from the Hollywood studio system. He went on to film and finance his subsequent works overseas, including the Iraq War film “Redacted,” the erotic thriller “Passion,” and the crime thriller “Domino.”
Style and Themes
In terms of his visual style, De Palma has been noted for his use of split-screen, unorthodox camera angles, and long tracking shots. A particular signature of his is the split-diopter shot, which keeps both background and extreme foreground elements in focus at the same time. Meanwhile, De Palma’s favored themes include voyeurism, misogyny, repression, paranoia, and obsession.
Brian De Palma has been married and divorced multiple times. His first wife was actress Nancy Allen, to whom he was wed from 1979 to 1984. After that, De Palma was married to film and television producer Gale Anne Hurd from 1991 to 1993. He was wed to his third wife, Darnell Gregorio, from 1995 to 1997. De Palma has a daughter named Lolita from his second marriage and a daughter named Piper from his third.
Beyond his own directing, De Palma is the subject of an eponymous 2015 documentary film directed by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow.