What Was Bob Ross’ Net Worth at the Time of His Death?

Bob Ross was one of America’s most beloved artists. The bushy-haired, soft-spoken painting instructor who didn’t make mistakes, only “happy accidents,” stole our hearts through his PBS television show, The Joy of Painting, which ran from 1983 to 1994.

But at the height of his success in 1995, Ross passed away. What was his net worth at the time of his death? Here’s a look at Ross’ life, career, and net worth.

Bob Ross painting a seascape in his studio at home
Bob Ross painting a seascape in his studio at home | Photo by Acey Harper/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Ross’ rise to fame

Ross was born on Oct. 29, 1942 in Daytona Beach, Florida. According to Biography, he dropped out of high school during his freshman year and went on to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. It was there, in the 1960s, that he discovered oil painting.

After returning home, he reportedly attended multiple art schools until he perfected the “wet-on-wet” technique, in which a layer of paint is applied on top of another layer. It allows artists to produce paintings in a short amount of time. Ross started teaching the craft to his peers and eventually received his own television show.

‘The Joy of Painting’

The PBS series debuted in 1983. Each episode, Ross would create landscape paintings, encouraging viewers to join him as he sketched “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees.” But Bob Ross Inc. estimates that only 3% of fans actually painted along. Many watched just to hear his inspiring words and gentle humor.

“Shoot; we have a pretty nice lookin’ little sky,” NPR recalls Ross as saying while admiring his work. “And there wasn’t anything to it.”

Then he’d pull out his favorite brush of the day and say, “Now then — let’s get crazy.”

“He’s making you think it’s so easy,” his former business partner, Annette Kowalsk, told NPR in 2016. “Well, let me tell you something — these are not as spontaneous as they look.”

The expansion of Ross’ brand

Following the launch of the show, Ross started selling how-to books, art supplies, and courses, in which instructors who were taught his methods shared them with students. It further boosted his celebrity.

But in 1994, the show was canceled so Ross could “focus on his health.” Biography reports that the artist had received a lymphoma diagnosis around the same time. At that point, he’d finished more than 1,000 paintings over the course of the show’s 403 episodes.

Ross died the following year on July 4, 1995. He was 52. Ross is survived by a son, Steven, who occasionally appeared on the PBS show.

Bob Ross painting | Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Super 8

What was Bob Ross’ net worth?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Ross had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death.

Though it’s been decades since he passed away, he’s still an omnipresent force in American culture. His images are still used on clothing, coloring books, puzzles, and more, and his show is currently on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.

Read more: What Was Toni Morrison’s Net Worth at the Time of Her Death?

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