Leon Schuster has left an indelible mark in the SA entertainment industry as he has been active for more than four decades now. Though his movies do not often appeal to film critics, they have been loved by the South African audience. As a result, Leon Schuster’s films rank among the top highest-grossing films in the history of the SA box office. Schuks, as he is fondly called, has found success in his filmmaking career and as a musician.
Leon Schuster’s albums and songs have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, which has gone a long way to shape his career and net worth. Over the past years, the veteran actor, who is internationally famous for creating films in candid camera type pranks, has served as the writer of box office hits such as Mr. Bones (2001), its sequel, Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past (2008), and Mama Jack (2005). Throughout his decades-long career, he has made his audience roar with laughter with a collection of comedic movies that include Mad Buddies (2012) and Frank & Fearless (2018). His movies often earn millions of rands in theatres, accounting for a bulk of Leon Schuster’s net worth.
How Leon Schuster Worth Accumulated His $3 Million Net Worth
Leon began his career as an elementary school teacher and taught for two years at his alma mater, Hoërskool Jim Fouché, before joining the movie industry. He has established himself as a superstar following years of hard work and determination always to entertain people with his works. Consequently, Schuster has amassed a total fortune estimated at $3 million (over R44 million). He started his career in 1975, and today, he boasts an appealing portfolio that includes over 20 acting credits, with numerous writing, directing, and production works.
His interest in music has also led him to release commercially successful albums and singles that have greatly contributed to his wealth status. For several years now, Schuster has been entertaining millions of people across the globe with his diverse works. He has equally grown to be loved and cherished by the South African audience. As a result, he ranks among the top 50 greatest South Africans based on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s poll.
Schuster Started His Career as a Presenter at SABC
Following his high school graduation, the talented scriptwriter proceeded to the University of Orange Free State. There, he earned a Bachelor’s degree that paved the way for him to get recruited by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as a presenter. While there, he displayed his innate pranking skills. He served as the creator and presenter of a radio programme called Vrypostige Mikrofoon along with Fanus Rautenbach. He was disguising his voice on the show and equally played pranks on some of the audience that called in during the live broadcast.
His Career As a Comic Actor Contributes to His Net Worth
Leon Schuster realized his knack for pranking and filmmaking during his childhood. While growing up, he, alongside his brother, often pull pranks on the other family members and make a video in the process, which the family used to entertain themselves. Today, he has made a name as a comic actor, and his goal to be entertaining his audience with his uncanny pranking ability has paid him off. Schuks began acting in the early ’80s when he was featured in Funny People 2 as a Raffle ticket seller. Later in 1986, he created his first candid camera-type prank movie, You Must Be Joking!
He played various characters in the film and was also featured as himself. That same year, he scored the role of Boet Bruwer in a TV series titled Hoekie vir Eensames. He then created You Must Be Joking Too! in the next year, and like the first installment, he played himself and equally various characters. He further starred in another of his film titled Oh Schuks….. It’s Schuster in 1989. The film earned more than R6 million in theatres across South Africa. The multi-talented actor also starred in Sweet ‘n Short two years later. This movie marked his first collaboration with SA funnyman Alfred Ntombela.
Sweet ‘n Short grossed more than R7.5 million at the box office. It was released in South Africa on December 13th, 1991, and in Hungary on January 22nd, 1993. Leon Schuster further starred as Rhino Labuschagne in Yankee Zulu (1993), Schuks in Panic Mechanic (1996), and Leon Schuster/various characters in The Millenium Menace. He then became an international star in 2001 when he played the titular role in the slapstick comedy film Mr. Bones. The movie was a megahit in South Africa and beyond and emerged as the highest-grossing South African film of all time, with a box office earning of over R33 million.
It was later surpassed by its sequel, Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past, which grossed more than R70 million at the box office. Before featuring in Mr. Bones 2, Leon Schuster jacked up his net worth with diverse roles in two commercially successful movies titled Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol! (2004) and Mama Jack (2005). His sensational performance in Mama Jack earned him the South African Film and Television Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in a Feature Film. Furthermore, he featured in the 2010 comedy film Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa. Schuster subsequently had roles in Schuks! Your Country Needs You (2013), Schuks! Pay Back the Money! (2015), and Frank & Fearless (2018).
Schuks Earns From Writing and Directing Movies
The filmmaker made his scriptwriting debut with the 1986 film You Must Be Joking!, followed by its sequel You Must Be Joking Too! in the next year. He further wrote the scripts for the box office success film, Oh Schuks….. It’s Schuster! in 1989, and Oh Schuks! Here Comes U.N.T.A.G! the following year. Later in 1991, he additionally earned from his work as the scriptwriter of Sweet ‘n Short that performed highly in theatres, Yankee Zulu (1993), Panic Mechanic (1996), Mr. Bones (2001), Mama Jack (2005), and Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past.
Interestingly, Mama Jack, which Gray Hofmeyr directed, added massively to Leon Schuster’s net worth as it grossed $4.4 million (over R60 million) at the worldwide box office. The movie is one of Schuks’ highest-grossing movies. His other writing credits that also performed highly in theatre is Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa (2010). It earned R38 million at the box office. Other movies Schuster has written include Mad Buddies (2012), Schuks! Your Country Needs You (2013), Schuks! Pay Back the Money! (2015), and Frank & Fearless (2018).
On the directing front, Leon Schuster made his directorial debut by working as an assistant director of You Must Be Joking! in 1986. He then directed the sequel You Must Be Joking Too! the next year, followed by Oh Schuks….. It’s Schuster! in 1989. 10 years later, he directed The Millennium Menace and Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol! in 2004.
He is Also a Producer with Many Movies Under His Belt
As one of the most successful filmmakers in South Africa, Leon Schuster has produced several films throughout his long-spanning career while simultaneously working as a director and scriptwriter. He made his production debut in the 1987 movie You Must Be Joking. Afterward, he served as the associate producer of Sweet ‘n Short (1991), and co-producer of There’s a Zulu On My Stoep (1993). He further co-produced Panic Mechanic in 1996, followed by The Millennium Menace three years later. The latter was a box office success, having grossed R40 million at the box office.
In 2004, Leon Schuster augmented his net worth once again by working as the producer of one of the highest-grossing movies of his career, Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol! The movie earned R35 million at the box office and featured Alfred Ntombela. He worked as the executive producer of Mad Buddies in 2012 and Frank & Fearless in 2018. The latter was also commercially successful as it grossed over $560,000 (over R8 million) at the box office. It stars Thembalethu Ntuli and Kenneth Nkosi.
A Look at His Best Movies To Date
Throughout his filmmaking career, Leon Schuster’s movies have broken many box office records in Mzansi as they have been ranked among the highest-grossing South African films. The SA box office records were finally shattered by Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past, which emerged as the highest-grossing South African movie of all time and Schuster’s most commercially successful movie to date. It racked up over $4.9 million (R70.8 million) at the box office, surpassing SA box office records for international blockbusters such as Titanic and Harry Potter.
The movie was released worldwide by Videovision Entertainment on November 27th, 2008, while its premiere took place on November 13th, 2008, at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban. Before releasing the aforementioned movie, Mr. Bones was the highest-grossing South African film of all time. It earned more than R33 million within five weeks of its release. It was released in 2001 by Videovision Entertainment. Also, in the early 1990s, Leon Schuster released one of his best films, There’s a Zulu On My Steop, also known as Yankee Zulu internationally.
Released in 1993, the film grossed more than R10 million at theatres across the country. Yankee Zulu was well received by the South African audience and ranked as the highest-grossing SA movie in the country’s box office history. Additionally, You Must Be Joking Too!, released on July 3rd, 1987 in South Africa, earned R43 million from ticket sales at the theatres and DVD sales. It ranks among Leon Schuster’s highest-grossing films, and they account for a good portion of his net worth. Schuks’ Millennium Menace (1999) equally had an unprecedented box office performance, grossing R40 million.
Similarly, Mama Jack, released in 2005, had a phenomenal performance at the theatres. It grossed $4.4 million (over R60 million) worldwide and thus, ranks as one of the top three South African movies of all time. For his notable contributions to the entertainment industry, Schuster was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Bok Radio in October 2018.
Leon Schuster Also Has a Successful Music Career
The Vereeniging native kicked off his music career in the early ’80s. He was asked to compile some sports songs by Decibel Records in 1982. As a result, he dropped an eponymous debut studio album that recorded sales of about 10,000 units. In the following year, he dropped his second studio album titled ‘Broekskeur,’ and it had sales of over 40,000 copies. He also released another album, ‘Waar En Wolhaar,’ in the same year. He then had unprecedented success with his album ‘Briekdans and Leon Schuster – 20 Treffers,’ released in 1984. It sold over 270,000 units.
His 1995 album ‘Kom Die Bokke’ recorded huge sales and thus, bagged the FNB SAMA Music Award for Biggest-selling CD of the Year (1995). His next album ‘Gatvol in Paradise’ was released in 1996 and registered sales of over 125,000 copies. The album gave rise to the unofficial Gauteng anthem known as ‘Gautengeleng.’ Leon Schuster also released ‘Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon Volume 1 and Volume 2’ in 1998. Between 1999 and 2008, the actor cum singer dropped more than nine albums.
They include ‘Springbok Rugby Hits,’ ‘Baas Funny Plaas,’ ‘ Catchup Song and Every Cricket Hit,’ ‘Hie’ Kommie Bokke 2!,’ ‘Op Dun Eish,’ ‘Dra Die Bok,’ and ‘My Beste Jare.’ Some of his hit singles include ‘Hey, Bokke!’ ‘She Sells Sea Shells,’ and ‘Hou Jou Bek.’ Furthermore, he provided soundtracks for some of his movies, such as The Millennium Menace, Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol!, and Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past.
Some of His Works Were Involved in a Racial Controversy in 2020
At the peak of the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2020, some streaming services started reviewing their content for racial insensitivity. As a result, Showmax removed some of Leon Schuster’s films, and they were subjected to a review to ensure they are not racially sensitive material. The movies include Oh Schuks… It’s Schuster, Schuks! Pay Back The Money! You Must Be Joking! You Must Be Joking Too!, and Frank & Fearless. The latter made its way back to the streaming platform after surviving the review. Most of Schuster’s films have been controversial as he used blackface in most of them for comic effect.
For instance, in his 1993 film, There’s a Zulu On My Stoep, he featured in blackface while black actor John Matshikiza featured in whiteface. With blackface having a provocative history as it dates back to the 1800s when it was prominently used for mocking black people, especially for their anti-slavery campaigns, some people regard Leon Schuster as a racist. Speaking in his defense, the filmmaker expressed how shocked he was at Showmax’s decision to pull his films and cited that he created all his movies innocently without any intention to harm anyone. But since it hurts some people’s feelings, he would desist from using blackface in his works.
According to the actor, the decision would affect his upcoming film, Mr. Bones 3: Son of Bones, as he had finished writing the scripts at the time. The 71-year-old hopes that his comedic films will get people from different races to laugh with each other and not at each other. Even though the action taken by Showmax affected him greatly, he stated that it wouldn’t derail him from making movies as his goal is to entertain people.