When word surfaced Tuesday that Stan Lee has put his Hollywood Hills West home on the market for $3.75 million, some commenters began to speculate about the legendary writer's finances. Of course, they're not the first.
Asked earlier this year by Playboy whether he at least received "a Tony Star-like helicopter" from Disney's $4 billion purchase of Marvel, the 91-year-old creator was quick to point out that he's not as wealthy as some may think.
"My daughter was looking at the internet the other day and read that Stan Lee has an estimated $250 million," Lee said. "I mean, that’s ridiculous! I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that."
Elaborating on why he shouldn't rate George Lucas-scale wealth, he explained that, working at Marvel and its predecessors, "I was happy enough to get a nice paycheck and be treated well. I always got the highest rate; whatever Martin [Goodman] paid another writer, I got at least that much. It was a very good job. I was able to buy a house on Long Island. I never dreamed I should have $100 million or $250 million or whatever that crazy number is. All I know is I created a lot of characters and enjoyed the work I did."
Lee does receive a $1 million annual salary for life from Marvel, and keeps busy with myriad other projects (the latest being a Bollywood adaptation of his comic Chakra the Invincible), but none of that likely pushes his wealth into those "ridiculous" figures. This website places his net worth at $50 million, which seems ... far less ridiculous, and definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Whichever number you believe, it's probably high enough that Lee isn't selling his 2,500-square-foot house because he needs cash. And it certainly doesn't mean he has his eye on a retirement condo, as he makes clear in the latest episode of "Stan's Rants."
"One of the things that bugs me is people are always saying, 'When are you gonna retire?'" he says in the video below. "I figure what they mean is, 'We've had enough of ya, get the hell outta here!' [...] If you're having fun what you're doing, why would you want to retire? [...] Don't ask me to retire. If I'm boring you, just don't listen to me, don't come and see me, don't read my stuff, that's OK. But don't make me stop doing what I'm doing."