Inset Photo Credit: Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Steve Bannon’s got it, but he doesn’t flaunt it. Looking at a newspaper or magazine photo of him, you might never imagine his net worth is estimated at $50,000,000.
President Trump’s one-time top advisor makes famously outlandish fashion choices, like cargo shorts and flip-flops, and is often pictured sporting a scruffy two-day beard.
Bannon’s net worth is tied up in real estate properties, entertainment ventures and a consulting firm, Bannon Strategic Advisors, which is estimated to be worth between $1 million and $5 million.
He made his money in the 1990s and early 2000s as a producer in Hollywood. In 1993, when CNN, owned by billionaire media mogul Ted Turner, bought the Castle Rock production company from Westinghouse, Bannon advised Westinghouse on valuation.
As part of his advisor’s fee, Bannon accepted a stake in five TV properties, one of which was the mega-hit TV show “Seinfeld.”
The size of Bannon’s personal stake in “Seinfeld” has never been made public, but every time you watch a “Seinfeld” rerun, Steve Bannon gets a little bit richer.
Would you ever have imagined that George Costanza and Kramer helped Steve Bannon put together a $50,000,000 fortune?
Table of Contents
Before Steve Bannon
Stephen Kevin Bannon was born into an Irish working-class family in 1953. He attended a Catholic military high school called Benedictine College Preparatory; afterward, he went on to Virginia Tech and graduated with a degree in urban planning in 1976.
Following graduation, Bannon served seven years in the U.S. Navy.
As Bannon described it later, the defining point of his life came in 1980 when a ship he was navigating through the Persian Gulf was involved in an unsuccessful mission to rescue individuals held in what became known as the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Up until that point, Bannon had been apolitical, but he held Jimmy Carter personally responsible for the mission’s failure.
While in the Navy, Bannon attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service at night, graduating in 1983 with a master’s degree in national security studies.
In 1985, Bannon matriculated with honors from Harvard’s highly regarded MBA program and went to work at Goldman Sachs, which was seeking to expand its footprint in the entertainment industry.
At Goldman Sachs’s behest, he moved to Los Angeles and began negotiating production deals.
Though Bannon was remunerated handsomely for his work and eventually became a vice president at the investment firm, his employment at Goldman Sachs was not responsible for the $50,000,000 fortune he amassed. He accumulated his fortune later after striking out on his own.
How Steve Bannon
Built A Fortune
In 1990, he left Goldman Sachs and persuaded several of his colleagues at that company to join him in a new venture called Bannon & Co.
Bannon & Co. was a boutique investment bank that specialized in entertainment financing.
Bannon was becoming a Hollywood player.
He served as one of the executive producers of Sean Penn’s critically acclaimed film “The Indian Runner.”
In 1993, he helped Westinghouse subsidiary Group W sell Castle Rock Entertainment, a production company that actor/director Rob Reiner helped found.
The company controlled an extraordinary archive of films and television shows, including “When Harry Met Sally,” “A Few Good Men” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”
It was the Castle Rock deal that helped Bannon become a multimillionaire.
Hollywood is a roll of the dice where players lose more often than they win, but Bannon proved to be one of the ones who hit the jackpot. His Hollywood connections enabled him to start building a fortune that today is worth $50,000,000.
In 1993, while he was still deeply involved with Bannon & Co., Bannon became acting director of Biosphere 2, which was an earth science research facility that originally aimed to explore the viability of living systems in outer space.
Under Bannon’s influence, Biosphere 2 shifted its emphasis to the study of ecosystems under pollution and climate change. Bannon left the Biosphere 2 project in 1995.
In 1998, Bannon sold Bannon & Co. to Société Générale and dove headlong into the Hollywood melee.
He became a partner at the entertainment management company The Firm, which represented talent as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez, Robert De Niro, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.
His political beliefs had taken a sharper swerve to the right after the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers, and his deep connections in the entertainment industry gave him a platform from which to proselytize his beliefs.
In 2004, he made a documentary film entitled “In the Face of Evil” about his political idol, Ronald Reagan. During filming, he met writer and publisher Andrew Breitbart, who would subsequently have a huge, if posthumous, influence on Bannon’s career.
Bannon went on to become involved in the production of a number of other films that had roots in his conservative agenda. These included “Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman” in 2010, “The Undefeated” in 2011 and “Occupy Unmasked” in 2012.
Steve Bannon and Donald Trump
In 2010, a nonprofit group called Citizens United won a landmark case when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that had tried to prohibit corporations from making large contributions to political campaigns.
Future president Donald Trump and his future strategist-in-chief Steve Bannon were both strong supporters of Citizens United, and it was at one of the nonprofit’s functions that the two first met.
Trump started testing the waters for a presidential bid in 2012, the year he rejoined the Republican Party for the second time.
His role as host of the immensely popular reality show “The Apprentice” had made him a familiar face in households across the U.S. while his affirmation of anti-abortion and anti-gun-control stances made him popular with tea party-ers and other conservatives.
In 2015, Trump launched an official bid for the office, and in July 2016, he was nominated at the Republican National Convention.
In August 2016, Donald Trump invited Steve Bannon to join his struggling campaign as campaign chief executive.
One of Bannon’s great strengths is that he was able to sense the enormous anger simmering in the hearts of many Americans against the political establishment. He was able to leverage that anger on behalf of his new boss’s campaign.
When Donald Trump won the presidency on November 8, 2016, in what many media outlets described as a stunning upset, he immediately offered Bannon the position of Chief of Staff. Bannon shared this position with Reince Priebus.
Shortly after his inauguration, Trump also gave Bannon the authority to participate in meetings of National Security Council principals.
Chief of Staff No More
Then the first signs of cracks appeared. Bannon’s larger-than-life personality soon began to cause friction within the fledgling Trump administration.
In early April 2017, his National Security Council authority was terminated, and later that month, Trump denigrated Bannon’s much-vaunted contributions to Trump’s winning strategy.
On August 16, Bannon gave an interview to American Prospect Magazine in which he appeared to undercut President Trump’s efforts in North Korea. Two days later, Bannon was forced to resign.
According to Bannon, he and the President continued to speak frequently in the months immediately following his resignation. However, press secretary Sarah Sanders disputed this allegation.
If true, those conversations came to a halt following revelations in a book about the Trump administration called “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Author Michael Wolf had interviewed Bannon at some length and quoted Bannon’s description of Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign meeting with a Russian lawyer as potentially “treasonous.”
Trump exploded on Twitter, labeling Bannon “Sloppy Steve.” “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump concluded.
Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad! https://t.co/mEeUhk5ZV9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
Steve Bannon Breitbart
Andrew Breitbart, whom Steve Bannon met in 2004 during the filming of “In the Face of Evil,” had gone on to found an eponymous news website in 2007 that had become a rallying point for members of the right.
In 2012, Breitbart died suddenly, leaving the website’s future uncertain until Steve Bannon was tapped to become its executive chairman. Bannon had been a member of Breitbart’s board since the website’s inception.
The same year he took over at Breitbart, Steve Bannon helped found a conservative nonprofit think tank called the Government Accountability Institute.
The Government Accountability Institute was instrumental in the publication of a book by Breitbart senior editor Peter Schweizer called “Clinton Cash.”
Through Breitbart, Bannon also became close to the Mercer family, one of the website’s co-owners.
While running Breitbart, Bannon became vice president of the board of the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which was owned by the Mercer family.
Under Bannon’s management, Breitbart News vastly expanded its operations.
The website aligned with the alt-right movement, though Bannon noted that he personally repudiated ethno-nationalism.
Breitbart News strongly supported Donald Trump’s candidacy, and it became the news site most frequently quoted on Donald Trump’s own campaign website.
When Steven Bannon joined the Trump campaign in August 2016, he stepped down from the leadership of Breitbart News.
He returned after his stint at the White House was terminated, but that assignment only lasted five months.
It ended after Rebekah Mercer announced she was no longer willing to fund Bannon’s initiatives.
Although Bannon had a sizeable fortune of his own, he was not willing to use it to keep the website alive as a viable political force.
Steve Bannon Filmography
Steve Bannon wrote, produced or directed 17 films in all:
|1991||The Indian Runner||Co-executive Producer|
|2004||Reagan: In the Face of Evil||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2006||Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration||Executive Producer|
|2007||Tradition Never Graduates: A Season Inside Notre Dame Football||Executive Producer|
|2009||The Chaos Experiment||Executive Producer|
|2010||Generation Zero||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2010||Battle for America||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2010||Fire from the Heartland||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2010||Sarah Palin: The Undefeated||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2012||The Hope & the Change||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2012||District of Corruption||Producer, Director, & Writer|
|2012||Occupy Unmasked||Director, & Writer|
|2014||Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power||Executive Producer|
|2016||Clinton Cash||Executive Producer & Writer|
|2016||Torchbearer||Executive Producer, Director & Writer|
Wife and Kids
Steve Bannon has been married three times, and each marriage ended in divorce.
Bannon’s first wife was Cathleen Suzanne Houff. Bannon and Houff have a daughter Maureen who was born in 1988.
Maureen Bannon graduated from West Point in 2010 and is currently West Point’s Director of Operations for Volleyball and Sprint Football.
Bannon’s second marriage was to investment banker Mary Louise Piccard. The pair have twin daughters born in 1995.
Bannon’s third marriage was to Irish model Diane Clohesy in 2006. The two divorced in 2009.
How to Build A
Steve Bannon Net Worth
Steve Bannon has an impeccable pedigree as a young man with an MBA from Harvard and experience at Goldman Sachs on his resume before becoming a Hollywood media mogul.
Building a $50 million fortune by following in his footsteps is no mean feat for the ordinary Joe or Jane but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your own net worth through smart financial planning.
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However, if you prefer to be hands-off yet want your hard-earned savings invested for the long-term without paying an arm and a leg in fees, consider top tier robo-advisors like Ellevest, Betterment, and Personal Capital.
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