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What Is Bruno Tonioli’s Net Worth and Salary?
Bruno Tonioli is an Italian dancer, choreographer, television personality, and author who has a net worth of $9 million. A former professional dancer and noted choreographer, Tonioli has choreographed shows for Tina Turner, Duran Duran, and the Rolling Stones, among other artists. He has served as a judge on the ABC reality competition “Dancing with the Stars” since 2005, and he was a judge on the British dance show “Strictly Come Dancing” from 2004 to 2020. Bruno co-created the 2007 BBC series “DanceX” as well as the 2008 American version, “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann.” In 1983, he starred in Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” music video and Bonnie Tyler’s “Take Me Back” music, and he has also appeared in the films “Absolute Beginners” (1986), “What a Girl Wants” (2003), and “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” (2016) and the television series “Oscar” (1985), “The Bill” (2001), “Fuller House” (2016), and “Horrible Histories” (2021). Tonioli published the memoir “Bruno: My Story” in 2012.
Bruno Tonioli was born on November 25, 1955, in Ferrara, Italy. His father, Werther, worked as a bus driver, and his mother, Fulvia, made a living stitching car seats covers. The family didn’t have much money and lived with Bruno’s paternal grandparents before moving into their own flat when he was 12 years old. After seeing “Cabaret” the musical “eight times in a row” in 1972, Tonioli knew what he wanted to do with his life, but his parents weren’t supportive of his dreams. He told the “Mirror” in 2005, “We had huge screaming rows because I wanted to go to art or drama school and they wanted me to work in a bank. So [I] ran off to ballet classes in Rome.” At the age of 18, Bruno left Italy, then he spent two years with the La Grande Eugene dance company in Paris before moving to London.
Tonioli was a member of the group Duke and the Aces, and they performed in the U.K. competition to choose an act for the Eurovision Song Contest but were not chosen. Bruno has worked as a choreographer for stage shows, music videos, and tours for artists such as Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Sting, Tina Turner, Boy George, Duran Duran, and the Rolling Stones. Tonioli choreographed the 1985 music video “Election Day” for the Duran Duran side project Arcadia, and he was Minnie Driver’s choreographer for the 2004 film “Ella Enchanted.”
In 2010, controversy arose after Bruno called a “Dancing With the Stars” performance by Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower “the worst jive in 11 seasons.” Bolton later said that Tonioli owed him an apology and “should search his soul for what he is doing on that show.” Michael told “People” magazine that his mother had been in the audience, stating, “She was very angry. It’s a good thing that there was an entire dance floor between her and Bruno.” The show’s producers defended Tonioli, telling TMZ, “While we respect the feelings of our celebrities and dancers, we don’t feel Bruno should be expected to apologize for doing his job.”
In 2016, Tonioli was instrumental in the first same-sex “Dancing With the Stars” pairing, in a Judges’ Team-Up Challenge that involved Jodie Sweetin switching partners with Nyle DiMarco, ending with DiMarco and Keo Motsepe dancing the tango. That year Bruno also “personally selected recordings from the finest singers and musicians in the world” for the album “An Italian Romance,” and he appeared on the cover of the album. In 2018, he presented “Bruno Tonioli at the Opera” on BBC Radio 2. Bruno is credited as a choreographer on the films “Space Riders” (1984), “Dancin’ Thru the Dark” (1990), “Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis” (1997), “Little Voice” (1998), “Hotel Splendide” (2000), “Me Without You” (2001), and “Grizzly II: Revenge” (2020), the TV movies “The Ghosts of Oxford Street” (1991), “The Gathering Storm” (2002), and “Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy Tale” (2003), the miniseries “The Blonde Bombshell” (1999), and the television series “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1999), “Bad Girls” (2000), “Absolutely Fabulous” (2003), “French and Saunders” (2003), “Down to Earth” (2004), “Marple” (2004), and “Born and Bred” (2005). Tonioli has appeared on numerous TV shows, such as “The Weakest Link,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Chelsea Lately,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The View,” “The Arsenio Hall Show,” and “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”
Bruno is openly gay, and in a 2005 interview with the “Mirror,” he spoke about growing up in a small Catholic town, stating, “It was frightening. I really WAS the only gay in the village. I was labelled ‘the queenie guy’ and ‘the queer’, which was the worst thing you could be told in Italy in those days.” He added, “I always danced very well, so the great-looking girls would dance around me. One night a bunch of lads got jealous about this. They shouted, ‘You poofter!’ and chased me from the club with a broken bottle, then pinned me up against a wall. I eventually chatted myself out of it with wit and imagination – but I was very lucky.” Tonioli speaks Italian, French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese fluently.
Tonioli earned Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006 and 2007. The show also earned him a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice TV: Personality in 2007.
In 2017, Bruno paid $2.825 million for a 2,359 square foot home in West Hollywood, California. The home is just a few minutes away from the CBS studios (where “Dancing With the Stars” is filmed), and the property includes a pool, deck, and fire pit.