Nelson Rockefeller Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Nelson Rockefeller Net Worth 

Nelson Rockefeller had an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion at death. The son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., Nelson Rockefeller served four terms as governor of New York. He was later appointed vice president under President Gerald Ford. The majority of his wealth was attributed to the money he inherited from his father. 

Nelson Rockefeller was the grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller Sr. and the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. After working in business and government, Rockefeller was elected governor of New York in 1958 and served four terms. Later, in 1974, President Gerald Ford appointed him as Vice President of the United States. Rockefeller, an avid art collector, and patron, died in New York City in 1979. His name is commemorated by a wing at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

To calculate the net worth of Nelson Rockefeller, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Nelson Rockefeller
Net Worth: $1.1 Billion
Monthly Salary: $3 Million
Annual Income: $50 Million
Source of Wealth: Businessman, Politician

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Early Life and Family

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the third of six children born to John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his first wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, on July 8, 1908. Rockefeller had a rocky relationship with his father, who tried to instill in his children the values of modesty and restraint—qualities deemed unnecessary by the ambitious young Rockefeller. According to many accounts, Rockefeller was the leader of his siblings and his mother’s favorite. He dreamed of becoming president since he was a child.

It’s no surprise, given his pedigree, that Rockefeller rose to become a political powerhouse. Nelson Aldrich, his maternal grandfather, was a powerful Rhode Island senator; his paternal grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Sr., founded Standard Oil, becoming the wealthiest man in the United States during the nineteenth century—and maintaining that position for decades afterwards.

In 1930, Rockefeller graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and married Mary Todhunter Clark. Following a nine-month honeymoon, he began working at the London and Paris branches of Chase National Bank, which is largely owned by the Rockefeller family.

Despite the country’s entry into the Great Depression, Rockefeller Center, which had been initiated by John Jr. in the late 1920s and was the largest private construction project in New York City at the time, broke ground in 1931. Rockefeller quickly rose through the ranks after joining the staff overseeing the Center’s development and assisting in shepherding the ambitious project through a period of economic turmoil.

‘Man at the Crossroads’ Controversy

Rockefeller was appointed president of Rockefeller Center, Inc. in 1938, at the age of 30. His presidency, however, was not without controversy: in 1934, he famously ordered the removal of a mural by Mexican artist Diego Rivera titled “Man at the Crossroads,” which depicted Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.

While he had commissioned Rivera to complete a mural in the RCA building at Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller (along with several others who were able to see the work before it was publicly unveiled) objected to Rivera’s inclusion of Lenin—an addition that had neither been approved nor was known about in advance.

The artist reportedly included the Soviet leader in his mural in an attempt to depict the turbulent political atmosphere at the time, which was largely defined by opposing capitalist and socialist ideologies and escalating fears about the Communist Party’s growth.

The ensuing public backlash against the Rockefellers, who had long claimed a deep commitment to the arts but now appeared both hypocritical and tyrannical, reportedly humiliated Abby Rockefeller, who stated in response to the negative publicity that she had never wanted the mural destroyed.

While Rockefeller is widely credited with destroying Rivera’s mural, his son, John Jr., later attempted to explain the incident, stating, “The image was obscene and, in Rockefeller Center’s opinion, an affront to good taste. Rockefeller Center decided to demolish it primarily for this reason.”

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Political Career Beginnings

Rockefeller’s interest in government began to emerge during his time in New York. He was a member of the Westchester County (New York) Board of Health in 1933. He entered national and international politics in 1940, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him coordinator of the Office of Inter-American Affairs.

Nelson would later be appointed by Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon. His impressive public service career would eventually help to integrate the Rockefeller name into the American political arena.

New York Governor

Rockefeller ran successfully for governor of New York in 1958, and his victory made him an instant contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 1960. Although he lost the nomination to the more conservative Nixon, Rockefeller would run for the party’s nomination again in 1964. That bid, too, failed, as his campaign became mired in controversy over his divorce from Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller and subsequent marriage to the much younger Margaretta “Happy” Murphy.

Although he was unsuccessful as a presidential candidate (he ran again in 1968), Rockefeller received high praise for his work as governor of New York, where he served four consecutive terms. He was a progressive Republican who was interested in education, welfare, housing, transportation, and the arts.

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Vice Presidency and Final Years

Rockefeller was nominated for the vice presidency by President Gerald Ford in 1974, just one year after resigning as governor. He later served as Ford’s vice president from 1974 to 1977.

On January 26, 1979, Rockefeller died of a heart attack in New York City.

Personal Life

Rockefeller had two marriages. Rockefeller had three sons, Rodman, Steve, and Michael, as well as two daughters, Ann and Mary, with his first wife, Mary; with his second wife, Margaretta Murphy, he had two sons, Nelson Jr. and Mark.

Further Reading

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