Bass took control of the family Business in 1968. His Investments include oil and gas. Along with his Father and two of his brothers, he was the largest shareholder in The Walt Disney Company from 1984 until after the stock market crash in 2001. Bass was forced to sell his Disney holdings as a result of a margin call.
His first wife was Anne Hendricks Bass. Their marriage produced 2 daughters, one being author Hyatt Bass, and ended in divorce in 1986. In 1988, Bass married the Iranian socialite Mercedes Bass (the former Mercedes Kellogg, née Mercedes Tavacoli). This marriage ended in divorce in 2011, producing no children.
Bass donated $20 million to Yale University for the study of humanities in 1990. In 2006, Bass and his second wife, Mercedes Bass, made a gift of $25 million to the Metropolitan Opera, at the time the largest individual gift in the company's history.
He was listed as the 287th richest person in the world in 2007 by Forbes, with a net worth of US$3.0 billion.