Last Updated: December 20, 2023
Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$5.8 Million
Feb 14, 1894 - Dec 26, 1974 (80 years old)
5 ft 7 in (1.72 m)
Comedian, Actor
United States of America
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What was Jack Benny's net worth and salary?

Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, and violinist who had a net worth of $5.8 million at the time of his death in 1974. That's the same as $35 million today after adjusting for inflation.

According to a court disclosure a year after his death, the Jack Benny's estate was worth $5,852,000 in 1974. That's equal to $35 million in today's inflation-adjusted dollars. Included in his estate was a 1729 Stradivarius violin that at the time was valued at $46,000. It is one of roughly 500 left in the world. He also owned a mansion in LA's ultra-exclusive Holmby Hills neighborhood directly across the street from the Playboy Mansion. The property was sold in 1985 for $3 million, two years after Benny's widow Mary Livingston died.

Jack Benny evolved from a modest success playing violin on the vaudeville circuit to becoming one of the leading entertainers of the twentieth century with a very successful career in radio, television, and film. His radio and television programs were popular from 1932 until his death in 1974.

Benny had remarkable comic timing and was known for his signature word "Well!". He made his film debut in 1929 for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and also worked for Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, and more. He starred in the TV series "The Jack Benny Program" from 1950 to 1965. Benny won a Golden Globe Award in 1958 for Television Achievement. He won two Primetime Emmy Awards for The Jack Benny Program and received three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Picture, Television, and Radio. Jack Benny passed away on December 26, 1974 at 80 years old.

Early Life

Jack Benny was born on February 14, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Waukegan. His parents, Meyer Kubelsky and Naomi Emma Sachs Kubelsky, were Jewish immigrants. His father owned a saloon and later a haberdashery. He had emigrated from Poland while his mother emigrated from Lithuania. At the age of 6, Benny began studying the violin, the instrument that would later become his trademark. By the age of 14, he was playing in dance bands and in his high school orchestra. He did not do particularly well in his studies and was eventually expelled from high school. He later did poorly in business school and also did not do well in trying to join his father's business. In 1911, he began playing the violin in local vaudeville theaters for a modest income.


Benny formed a vaudeville musical duo with pianist Cora Folsom Salisbury, who needed a partner for her act. He briefly left show business in 1917 to join the United States Navy during World War I. He often entertained fellow sailors with his violin playing. Shortly after the war, Benny developed a one-man act involving both fiddle playing and performing comedy.

In 1929, Benny signed a five-year contract with MGM. His first role was in "The Hollywood Revue of 1929." His second film, "Chasing Rainbows," did not do well and after several months, Benny was released from his contract. He then decided to pursue a career in radio. He quickly became popular, landing his own show called "The Jack Benny Program." The show was a weekly radio show that ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS. It was among the most highly rated programs during its run.

In 1949, Benny made his television debut on local Los Angeles station KTTV. He soon afterward landed a television version of his radio program, "The Jack Benny Program." It ran from October 28, 1950 to 1965. His television program relied more on guest stars and less on his regulars than his radio program.


Meanwhile, Benny also had a very successful film career. He appeared in "The Hollywood Revue of 1929," "Broadway Melody of 1936," "George Washington Slept Here," "Charley's Aunt," and "To Be or Not to Be." After his broadcasting career ended, Benny performed live as a violinist and as a standup comedian. In the 1960s, Benny was the headlining act at Hurrah's Lake Tahoe. Benny made one of his final television appearances in January 1974 on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." He also made several appearances on "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" in his final 18 months of life in which he roasted Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball.

Benny received many awards and accolades over the course of his career. In 1960, Benny was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with three star, for television, motion pictures, and radio. In 1972, he was inducted as a laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln by the governor of Illinois in the area of performing arts. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1988 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989. He was also inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

Personal Life and Death

Benny had various romantic encounters, including one with dancer Mary Kelly. He even proposed to her but her devoutly Catholic family forced her to turn down his proposal because he was Jewish. In 1922, Benny accompanied Zeppo Marx to a Passover Seder in Vancouver at the residence where he met 17-year-old Sadie Marks. They later met again in 1926 and Benny instantly fell for her. They got married the following year. She eventually began working with Benny in his routine and adopted the stage name Mary Livingstone. They later adopted a daughter together, Joan.

In October 1974, Benny cancelled a performance in Dallas after suffering a dizzy spell and experiencing numbness in his arms. Despite many tests, Benny's ailment could not be determined. Further testing revealed that Benny had inoperable pancreatic cancer. He went into a coma at home on December 22, 1974. While he was in a coma, he was visited by close friends like George Burns, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, John Rowles, and Ronald Reagan. He died on December 26, 1974 at the age of 80. He was interred in a crypt at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Upon Benny's death, his family donated his personal, professional, and business papers as well as a collection of his television shows to UCLA. The university established the Jack Benny Award for Comedy in his honor in 1977 to recognize other outstanding people in the field of comedy. Johnny Carson was the first award recipient. Benny also donated a Stradivarius violin that he had purchased in 1957 to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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