Stephen Hillenburg Net Worth 2020, Biography, Education, Career and Awards

Stephen Hillenburg Net Worth 2020, Biography, Education, Career and Awards.

Stephen Hillenburg Net Worth 2020Stephen Hillenburg was an American animator and marine biology teacher. He is best known as the creator of one of the longest-running American animated television series, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.’

Born in Oklahoma and raised in California, Stephen became interested in the aquatic life and oceans. He also became interested in art and started drawing at a very young age.


Stephen Hillenburg was born on August 21, 1961, in Lawton, Oklahoma. His father Kelly N. Hillenburg Jr., worked for the US military. His mother Nancy Dufour worked as a teacher for visually impaired students.

Soon after Stephen’s birth, his father quit working for the military and started working as a draftsman and designer for an aerospace organization. The family subsequently moved to California.

Stephen grew up with a younger brother named Bryan, who eventually followed in his father’s footsteps to become an aircraft designer.

As a kid, Stephen was inspired by the underwater world. He developed a passion for sea life after watching films made by a French oceanographer named Jacques Cousteau. He later said that Cousteau’s films provided him a view of the underwater world, which he never knew existed until watching the oceanographer’s films.

By the time he was in third grade, Stephen had also developed an interest in art. He recalled in an interview that one of the earliest drawings that he made was of an orange slice. He was once appreciated by his teachers when he drew a group of army men kissing and hugging each other instead of fighting.

He was also inspired by his maternal grandmother who was an excellent painter. He also played music while studying at ‘Savanna High School.’ Around the same time, he took scuba diving lessons which strengthened his aspiration of becoming a marine biologist.


Following his high school graduation, he attended ‘Humboldt State University’ in California and studied marine-science. He also studied art in college and prepared himself for a future in art and marine science.


After graduating from college in 1984, he took up several jobs. One among them was his job as a park service attendant in Utah. He also worked as an art director at a company in San Francisco.

He then landed a job as a teacher at the ‘Orange County Marine Institute,’ where he taught children marine biology and maritime history. He also explored his artistic side while working as a teacher.

Upon the request of one of the educational directors, he created a comic book about marine life to make the subjects more interesting for the students. He created the book ‘The Intertidal Zone’ based on the animal life of tidal pools. He then used it to teach his students in a way that was artistic as well as engaging.

He joined the ‘California Institute of the Arts’ in 1989 and enrolled for ‘CalArts’ Experimental Animation Program.’ He studied under Jules Engel, who was impressed with Stephen’s work in ‘The Intertidal Zone.’ Stephen graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in experimental animation in 1992.

He was assigned to work on the show ‘Rocko’s Modern Life,’ Nickelodeon’s first in-house cartoon project. Stephen was first hired as a director but was eventually given the responsibilities to perform as a storyboard writer, executive producer, and story writer. The series ran until 1996 and was quite successful.

While Stephen was working on ‘Rocko’s Modern Life,’ one of the writers of the show saw ‘The Intertidal Zone’ and found it to be interesting. He asked Stephen to come up with an animated television series based on the same idea. Until then, Stephen had not considered developing a series of his own, but the suggestion stayed with him.

Eventually, he decided to go ahead with it. He was also excited about the project as it allowed him to combine his passion for animation and the underwater world. He included several of his other ideas and laid the foundation of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ a comedy animation series about talking aquatic animals.

In 1998, he started his own production company named ‘United Plankton Pictures,’ which currently produces ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.’

Stephen Hillenburg

The series eventually became a major pop culture phenomenon. In 2004, Stephen directed ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,’ which was originally intended to be the series finale.

But the ever-growing popularity of the series had the producers hooked on to it. The series won several accolades and earned Stephen two ‘Emmy Awards’ and six ‘Annie Awards.’

Stephen also worked on several other animated projects, most of which remain unreleased. A short film titled ‘Hollywood Blvd, USA’ was eventually showcased at film festivals. The short film received appreciation from the critics.


Stephen Hillenburg was honored with several awards during his lifetime. In 2010, he won the ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.’ In 2014, he won his second ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Sound Editing – Animation’ for the show ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.’

He was also honored with ‘Walk the Talk’ award in 2001 by the nonprofit organization ‘Heal the Bay’ for his efforts to spread awareness about aquatic life.

Net Worth

Аѕ оf Јаnuаrу 2020, Ѕtерhеn Ніllеnburg hаѕ аn еѕtіmаtеd nеt wоrth оf $120 mіllіоn. Не hаѕ mаdе mоѕt оf hіѕ fоrtunе wіth hіѕ wоrkѕ аѕ аn аnіmаtоr, dіrесtоr, рrоduсеr, wrіtеr, mаrіnе bіоlоgіѕt, аnd vоісе аrtіѕt.

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