David Letterman is an American comedian and late night talk show host with a net worth of $400 million.
David Letterman Salary: $50 million per year
One hidden benefit of not being uber-rich: no messy extortion plots. That's a lesson Dave Letterman can appreciate after a harrowing month of extortion by a colleague at CBS. Turns out that the Late Night host had sex with one or more co-workers at some undefined time (before son Harry was born in 2003? Before he married his baby mamma in March 2009?) and the secret ended up in the hands of 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman. Joe devised a primetime crime drama plot that included placing a package of embarrassing emails in Dave's limo and demanding $2 million. Letterman fought back, and with the help the Manhattan District Attorney, Halderman was arrested during a sting operation at the high-end Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in NYC. This insane story didn't surface through normal routes like rumors and gossip columnists; no, Dave broke the news himself on last night's show during a 10-minute monologue. The audience was understandably squeamish (should we clap? is this funny?), but now everything is out in the open and the Lettermans can go back to being filthy rich.
How rich? About $400 million rich by CNW's count. The man and his production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, take in about $30 million per year from his Late Night gig, but there are also inflows from Everybody Loves Raymond and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, both produced by WPI. Letterman's Late Show contract with CBS was recently extended by two years to 2012, with a small paycut thanks to the recession and reduced viewership. Still, $400 million is $400 million and that's not too shabby.
Dave has used his bundle to become something of a real estate mogul. He owns a 108-acre estate in Westchester County, New York (purchase price: $5 million for 88 acres in 1994 and $5 million for the rest in 2007); a 2,700 acre ranch near Chateau, Montana; a place on Martha's Vineyard; and a house in St. Barth's. He co-owns Rahal Letterman Racing, an Indy Racing League team. Dave is also a softie for charities: his private foundation, the American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming, has donated millions to non-profits including the American Cancer Society, Doctors Without Borders, and Ball State University.
The Letterman clan, which includes wife Regina and 6 year-old son Harry, generally keeps a low social profile, a habit that was reinforced after the discovery of a 2005 plot to kidnap baby Harry. Kidnapping, extortion….Yeah, being rich can be such a drag sometimes. But if you play your cards like Dave Letterman, you will probably have the last laugh.
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