Fred MacMurray said his wealth was exaggerated by writers

The actor was rich, but his definition of wealth differed slightly from others.

On Now
WATCH: MeTV’s exclusive with Tina Cole, star of My Three Sons
Up Next:

When you see actors buying land, fancy cars and clothes, or simply living lavishly, the first thought that comes to mind is that they're wealthy.

It's no secret that Fred MacMurray was loaded with cash. The My Three Sons star was the wealthiest in Hollywood and the United States at one point, but he wasn't flashy at all. His chill, laid-back guy image overshadowed his riches.

The actor made $420,000 in 1943, equivalent to over $6 million today. MacMurray had various sources of income that contributed to his healthy financial status, and the press loved to write about it.

Did he have way more money than the average person? Yes, but writers seemed to exaggerate his wealth. According to Fred MacMurray, he wasn't as rich as they kept writing about.

"I'm not as rich as you keep writing I am," he said during an interview with the North American Newspaper Alliance in 1969. "I have a couple of apartment houses and a ranch up north and a home here in Brentwood, but when you say rich, I have nothing like Bob Hope or Bing Crosby or Joel McCrea. My ranch is a couple of thousand acres, but it isn't in the same profitable area that Joel McCrea's is."

According to the article in the newspaper, unlike other rich celebrities, MacMurray didn't have butlers, chefs, etc. Yet, he did have a woman who would come into his house and clean. He said he and his family lived a simple life.

"June and I live simple with the twins (the girls are 12 years old and go to day school and will go to a day high school — no boarding schools for the MacMurrays). We have a woman come in to clean, but June does the cooking. She's a complete housewife," he added.

MacMurray's definition of wealth differed from others, and he believed that it had various tiers.

He knew he had complete financial freedom and that money wasn't something to worry about, but he didn't see himself as "filthy rich" as the press did.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


frenchman71 14 months ago
Fred was one of my all-time favorite actors. His 2 best roles (IMO) were "Double Indemnity & The Caine Mutiny". He invested his money very wisely instead of pissing it all away like a lot of Hollywood types. He even cobbled his own shoes.
Vickymartin 16 months ago
Fred MacMurray WAS the BEST!
My all time FAVORITE!
Runeshaper 16 months ago
Fred MacMurray was wealthy in life and very, very smart. Talented too!
Pacificsun 16 months ago
Fred MacMurray came across as such a gentleman.

Where are those kind of actors now.
Dario Pacificsun 16 months ago
Gone forever, I'm afraid.
Tampammm Pacificsun 16 months ago
I'm afraid they're all gone now.

Gone, with the wind.
McGillahooala 16 months ago
Smart idea to steer the press toward Joel McCrea or someone else. People start thinking you have money, you have problems.
LoveMETV22 16 months ago
Great story. It sounds like Fred MacMurray had wealth that isn't measured in💲💲. "Happiness"
LoveMETV22 LoveMETV22 16 months ago
Fred's daughter Kate spoke about her Dad at the TCM Film Festival in 2017.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 16 months ago
What a great interview. I think it may have been you that posted the story of their homestead. Loved it.
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 16 months ago
Yes the homestead clip was a couple of months ago. Mr. MacMurray is/was such a likeable individual.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 16 months ago
Loved that clip. Reminded me of our cabin when I was a kid. Not that they looked anything alike but the idea of mismatched furniture and dishes. Comfortable. Homey.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?