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Donald Bellisario Has Penned Thrilling Storylines for TV Screens; Here's His Journey and Net Worth

Explore the $500 million net worth of television legend Donald Bellisario, from creating iconic shows to philanthropic contributions.
Donald P. Bellisario Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame | Getty Images | Mathew Imaging
Donald P. Bellisario Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame | Getty Images | Mathew Imaging
Name Donald Bellisario
Net Worth $500 Million
Sources of Income Television production, writing
Gender Male
Date of Birth August 8, 1935
Age 88 years old
Nationality  American
Profession TV producer and director, screenwriter, actor

American television producer, screenwriter, and actor Donald Bellisario is the mind behind action-packed TV shows such as Magnum PI and NCIS, who has earned a whopping $500 million net worth in more than four decades. Bellisario made his mark in advertising with a 15-year-long career, before his foray into showbiz, as a story editor in the 70s. Having grown up listening to stories of war veterans at his father's tavern, he has penned and produced several military-themed shows.

Starting under the mentorship of industry heavyweights like Glen A. Larson and Stephen J. Cannell, he mastered the art of television production and went on to create or co-create iconic shows that have amassed significant wealth through syndication.

Donald P. Bellisario | Getty Images | Giulio Marcocchi
Donald P. Bellisario | Getty Images | Giulio Marcocchi

What are Donald Bellisario's sources of income?

Writing for television has been the primary revenue-generating activity for Bellisario, who also turned producer. He created hit series such as "Magnum, P.I.", "Quantum Leap", "JAG", and "NCIS", which provide ongoing revenue through royalties. Apart from that he has only made cameo appearances in front of the camera for a couple of his shows.

"JAG," another of Bellisario's creations, achieved a remarkable 10-season run, while "NCIS," co-created by him, has been on the air since 2003.


Even after retiring in 2007, he retained the title of executive producer for "NCIS." Bellisario even sued CBS over "NCIS: Los Angeles" to assert his contractual rights to "NCIS" spin-offs and a share of related show profits, resulting in a settlement in 2011.


Bellisario's real estate history features a Montecito home that was bought in 2008 for $4.2 million and was sold for $5.9 million in 2015. In 2020, he purchased a property across the street for $5.2 million, in addition to another Montecito mansion, which was acquired for $9 million in 2012. His Studio City, California home, acquired in 1985 for $1.3 million, was sold for $5.85 million in January 2019.

Bellisario was married multiple times and has several children and stepchildren, including his daughter Troian Bellisario, known for her role in "Pretty Little Liars". He married Vivienne Lee in 1998, and her son, Sean Murray, starred in Bellisario's show "NCIS".

Bellisario established a $1 million scholarship for the College of Communications, and received the Visionary Award at the UCLA Neurosurgery Visionary Ball in 2016. His most significant contribution, a $30 million endowment to Penn State in 2017, led to the renaming of the College of Communications to the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and stands as one of the university's largest donations.

Bellisario received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. Penn State University recognized him as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2001 and later renamed its College of Communications to the "Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications" in his honor.

Donald P. Bellisario Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame | Getty Images | Mathew Imaging
Donald P. Bellisario Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame | Getty Images | Mathew Imaging

What is Donald Bellisario's net worth?

Donald Bellisario's net worth is estimated to be $500 million.

Why did Bellisario leave NCIS?

Donald Bellisario reportedly left working on the show due to ongoing tensions with Mark Harmon, as per Hello Magazine.

How is Sean Murray related to Donald Bellisario?

Donald Bellisario is Murray's step-father.