Clive Cussler Net Worth: Unveiling the Wealth of the Adventure Novelist

Discover our guide looking at Clive Cussler net worth and how this famous author created a literary empire.

Clive Cussler was an American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist whose thrilling stories have captivated readers for decades. Born on July 15, 1931, Cussler created a literary empire, with his works often landing on The New York Times fiction best-seller list. 

Beyond his talent for crafting page-turning stories, Cussler contributed significantly to underwater exploration as the founder and chairman of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA).

Cussler’s widespread success earned him a dedicated fanbase and an immense fortune. At the time of his death in 2020, his estimated net worth was around $120 million, making him one of the richest writers of all time. 

Some of my favorite Cussler novels feature the popular character Dirk Pitt and his involvement in discovering over 60 historic shipwrecks. These novels are gripping, exciting, and an exciting page-turner that many readers love worldwide. Clive Cussler’s journey to amass fame and fortune is a testament to the power of storytelling and a legacy that will continue to inspire generations of readers and adventurers.

Net Worth

Clive Cussler net worth
Clive Cussler, an American adventure novelist, and marine archaeologist, has a remarkable net worth of $120 million

At the time of his death in 2020, Clive Cussler had a remarkable net worth of $120 million, making him one of the wealthiest authors in the world. His literary works have had a lasting impact on the adventure and thriller genres, and his legacy will continue to live on through his captivating stories and avid fans.

Clive Cussler’s Writing Career

Clive Cussler was an American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist best known for his thriller novels featuring the character Dirk Pitt. Many of his books have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list over 20 times. Born on July 15, 1931, in Aurora, Illinois, Cussler started his writing career in the early 1970s, significantly impacting the literary scene with his fast-paced thrillers.

His writing success skyrocketed, and he soon became a household name among fans of adventure and thriller novels. Besides the Dirk Pitt series, Cussler also wrote numerous books in other series, such as the NUMA Files, Fargo Adventures, and the Oregon Files. These novels often combined elements of adventure and technology, creating engaging stories that kept readers hooked.

Cussler’s writing career spanned several decades, and the popularity of his books only continued to climb. He was also a dedicated marine archaeologist. In 1979, he founded the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization focused on discovering and preserving shipwrecks. This passion for underwater exploration greatly influenced his novels.

Book Sales and Earnings

Clive Cussler was a renowned adventure novelist and marine archaeologist with a net worth of $120 million at the time of his death in 2020. Throughout his career, Cussler crafted a legacy by penning several engaging novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt. His books consistently found their way onto The New York Times fiction best-seller list, earning him critical and commercial success. Cussler was known for his dedication to creating exciting stories for his readers.

“It’s a job. I entertain my readers. I get up in the morning, and I start typing.” 

Clive Cussler

Over several years, Clive Cussler experienced an impressive stretch where 17 consecutive books made it on the New York Times best-selling list, with total book sales exceeding $100 million. Cussler’s novels not only entertained readers worldwide but also found success in film adaptations, aiding in his overall earnings.

Clive Cussler’s prominence in the literary world allowed him to become one of the world’s richest authors. Famous for his gripping storytelling and skillful writing, Cussler’s abilities secured him a place among other successful authors like Stephenie Meyer, whose net worth is $125 million.

Film and TV Adaptations

Sahara
Sahara was adapted into a 2005 action-adventure film starring Matthew McConaughey as Dirk Pitt, the protagonist of many of Cussler’s books

Sahara

Clive Cussler’s novel Sahara was adapted into a 2005 action-adventure film starring Matthew McConaughey as Dirk Pitt, the protagonist of many of Cussler’s books. Directed by Breck Eisner, the film also featured Steve Zahn and Penélope Cruz in prominent roles. The film adaptation of Sahara received mixed reviews from critics and performed modestly at the box office, grossing around $119 million worldwide. If you’re interested in this, you’ll love our round-up of the best spy novels.

Raise the Titanic

Another of Cussler’s novels, Raise the Titanic, was adapted into a 1980 film directed by Jerry Jameson and produced by Lord Grade. The movie starred Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, and David Selby. It was centered around a daring operation to raise the sunken RMS Titanic, and Cussler’s protagonist, Dirk Pitt, played a crucial role in the events. The film was not a critical or financial success, but it did help bring more attention to Clive Cussler’s work. His novel Raise the Titanic was purchased for $840,000 by Viking Publishing in 1976, which significantly increased his net worth.

NUMA and Other Ventures

NUMA was initially a fictional organization in Cussler’s novels. However, Cussler later founded a nonprofit organization with the same name in 1979. Until his death, Cussler led this organization, which focuses on “preserving our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey, and conservation of shipwreck artifacts.”

Through NUMA, Clive Cussler combined his passion for adventure writing and underwater exploration. His involvement in maritime archaeology also influenced his Dirk Pitt novels, which often featured historic shipwrecks and underwater treasures. This unique blend of fiction and real-life passion contributed to the popularity of his work and increased his net worth significantly.

Cussler’s dedication to underwater archaeology extended beyond his novels and the founding of NUMA. He was also actively involved in discovering several shipwrecks, adding to his fame and fortune. Besides his success in maritime archaeology, Cussler’s novels reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list over 20 times, further solidifying his status as a successful and wealthy author.

Charitable Contributions

Cussler’s commitment to preserving history also extended to his personal life, as he amassed a sizable collection of classic automobiles, some of which he donated to and exhibited in museums. His passion for charity and historic preservation can be seen in his contributions throughout his life.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that Clive Cussler contributed financially to various charitable organizations, including those focused on supporting arts, education, and the environment. Although precise figures of his charitable donations may not be public, his philanthropic efforts have touched many lives and left a lasting impact on the causes he passionately supported.

Real Estate and Assets

Clive Cussler’s net worth was estimated at around $120 million at the time of his death. His wealth can be attributed to his successful career as a best-selling adventure novelist, which spanned several decades.

As a man of considerable wealth, it’s unsurprising that Cussler had a noteworthy collection of real estate and assets. While specific details on his properties are scarce, he likely owned luxury homes in prime locations. This can be expected from someone with his level of success in writing and the pursuits of marine archeology.

In addition to real estate, Cussler also had an impressive collection of classic cars. He was an avid car enthusiast who owned over 100 classic automobiles, many of which were featured in his novels. These collectible cars added to the value of his assets and a personal touch to his writing, as the vehicles often played central roles in his stories.

Clive Cussler’s net worth consisted of a combination of real estate, valuable assets such as classic cars, and investments in marine expeditions and archeology. All these elements contributed to the author’s substantial wealth throughout his lifetime.

Summary

Clive Cussler was a renowned American marine archaeologist and adventure novelist best known for his Dirk Pitt adventure series. His estimated net worth was around $120 million at the time of his death.

Born on July 15, 1931, in Aurora, Illinois, Cussler’s writing career spanned several decades, making him one of the most successful authors in the world. Apart from the Dirk Pitt series, he also authored other popular novels, including the Oregon Files and the Isaac Bell Adventures. This impressive body of work contributed significantly to his net worth.

Cussler’s impact wasn’t limited to the literary world. He also made significant contributions to the field of marine archaeology. As a passionate and skilled marine archaeologist, he funded the discovery of more than 60 historic shipwrecks through his non-profit organization, the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA).

To sum it up, the various serial works and his contributions to marine archaeology helped solidify Clive Cussler’s position among the world’s richest authors. His vast achievements and wealth made him notable and cemented his legacy as one of the most successful and well-respected figures in the literary and marine archaeology fields.

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Author

  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.