Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg is a marine science instructor and animator from the United States. Also, he is best known for inventing the “SpongeBob SquarePants” animated television series for Nickelodeon. For the first three seasons of the show, he served as the show’s executive producer. The show is presently America’s longest-running animated series.

What Is The Net Worth Of Stephen Hillenburg?

Stephen Hillenburg has made a lot of money in his professional career as an animator, marine biologist, producer, and director. At the time of his death, his net worth was believed to be over $120 million US dollars

Childhood and Early Years

Stephen McDannell Hillenburg, better known by his stage name Stephen Hillenburg, was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, on August 21, 1961. Kelly N. Hillenburg Jr. (father) and Nancy Dufour (mother) were his parents.  Also, Kelly, Stephen’s father, left the military after Stephen was born to work as a draftsman and designer for the aerospace business. His mother, Nancy, was a visually impaired student’s instructor. Following that, the family relocated to California from Lawton, Oklahoma.

He also had a brother named Bryan Hillenburg with whom he grew up. In addition, Bryan, his brother, followed in his father’s footsteps and became an aircraft designer. Since he was a teenager, Stephen has been fascinated by the aquatic environment. After witnessing the video by Jacques Cousteau, a French oceanographer, he grew fascinated with marine life.  Also, he later stated that Cousteau’s film provided him with an understanding of the underwater world that he had never realized existed before to see the oceanographer’s film.


In terms of Stephen’s education, he attended ‘Savanna High School.’ He had also developed an interest in art while there. His maternal grandmother, a talented painter, influenced him to pursue art. He used to play music while at school as well. In addition, he studied marine science at Humboldt State University in California. He also studied painting in college, preparing for a career in both art and marine science.


Stephen Hillenburg died on November 26, 2018, at the age of 57, from cardiopulmonary failure induced by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Animation as a profession

In terms of his professional career, he created his first animated works, the short films “The Green Beret” and “Wormholes,” in 1992 at CalArts.  In addition, “The Green Beret” relates the story of a Girl Scout with enormous fists who distribute cookies and crushes all the houses with a single knock. Stephen’s graduation thesis on relativity theory, “Wormholes,” earned him a Princess Grace Foundation Graduate Film Scholarship.

“Rocko’s Modern Life,” an animated series that aired on Nickelodeon from 1993 to 1996, was also his first professional job in the animation industry. At the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 1992, he met Joe Murray, the show’s producer. Indeed, Wormholes and Murray’s “My Dog Zero” were both participating in this round. Furthermore, after seeing Stephen’s concept, Joe offered to collaborate. As a result, Stephen was promoted to the position of manager.

“SpongeBob SquarePants”

Stephen’s cartoon ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ was one of his most important creations. He came up with the concept for the show while working at the Orange Country Marine Institute in 1986. The first episode of “SpongeBob SquarePants” aired on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, while the final episode aired on July 17, 1999. In its first month on the air, the animated series beat off ‘Pokemon’ to become the highest-rated Saturday morning children’s show. Also, By the end of 2001, the show achieved the highest ratings for a children’s television series.

Caption: Stephen Hillenburg created the animated character SpongeBob (Source: The New York Times)

In 2004, he also released “SpongeBob SquarePants,” a full-length animated film with the same title.  The film was a financial success, grossing $ 120 million. In addition, he released his second full-length film, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.’ After ‘The Simpsons Movie,’ the picture grossed $ 323,4 million, making it the second highest-grossing film of all time (2007).

Awards of Stephen Hillenburg

Also, Stephen Hillenburg has received numerous awards. He was awarded the “British Academy Children’s International Award” in 2007. In addition, he was awarded the ‘Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award’ for the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2010.  Also, he was awarded the ‘Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Animated Series’ in 2018.

Status of the Relationship

Karen Umland is Stephen’s wife.  Also, Karen, his wife, is a Southern California chef who teaches at Culver City’s New School of Cooking. Clay Hillenburg was born in 1998, the couple’s first and only child. Until his death, Stephen was never involved in any form of dispute or gossip.

Social media and Body Measurement

Stephen stood at a height of 5 feet 8 inches.  Also, his eyes are blue, and his hair is brown. Indeed from that, no information about his weight or other bodily dimensions is available.

The animator has passed away. As a result, he is no longer active on social media.

More Facts of Stephen Hillenburg

Full Name: Stephen Hillenburg
Born Date: 21 Aug 1961
Age: 60 years
Horoscope: Leo
Death Date: November 26, 2018
Gender: Male
Profession: Animator, Marine Biologist, Storyboard Artist, producer, director, painter
Country: America
Wife Karen Umland
Net Worth $120 million
Birth Place Lawton, Oklahoma
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Religion Christian
Education Humboldt State University
Father Kelly N. Hillenburg Jr.
Mother Nancy Dufour
Siblings Bryan Hillenburg
Kids Clay