Last Updated: May 13, 2024
Richest CelebritiesRichest Comedians
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Feb 15, 1964 - Dec 18, 1997 (33 years old)
5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Actor, Comedian, Stunt Performer
United States of America
💰 Compare Chris Farley's Net Worth

What Was Chris Farley's Net Worth?

Chris Farley was an American comedian and actor who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death. Despite his financial and popular success, Chris Farley struggled with addiction and died of a drug overdose in 1997 at the age of 33. Farley is best known for being a cast member of Chicago's Second City Theatre as well as a cast member of "Saturday Night Live." Chris was known for his physical comedy and larger-than-life personality, and his performances in films such as "Tommy Boy," "Black Sheep," and "Beverly Hills Ninja" helped to establish him as a major comedic talent. "Beverly Hills Ninja," which was released shortly after Farley's death, was his biggest box office hit, though it received mixed reviews from critics. "Tommy Boy," which co-starred David Spade, has become a cult classic and is widely regarded as one of Farley's best movies. "Black Sheep," which also starred Spade, was a moderate success at the box office and featured Farley in a number of hilarious physical comedy sequences.

Farley's biggest movies by worldwide box office include:

  • "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997) – $31 million
  • "Tommy Boy" (1995) – $32 million
  • "Black Sheep" (1996) – $34 million

Early Life

Chris Farley was born Christopher Crosby Farley on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin. He grew up in Maple Bluff. His father, Thomas Farley Sr., owned an oil company, and his mother, Mary Anne, was a housewife. He had four siblings: Tom Jr., Kevin, John, and Barbara. His cousin Jim Farley is the Chief Executive Officer at Ford Motor Company. Many of Chris' summers were spent as a camper and a counselor at Red Arrow Camp near Minocqua, Wisconsin. He attended several Catholic schools in his hometown, including Edgewood High School, then he went on to graduate from Marquette University in 1986 with a double degree in Communications and Theater. At Marquette, Farley played rugby and discovered a love of comedy.

Early Career

After college, Chris worked with his father at the Scotch Oil Company in Madison. While working for his father's oil company, he began learning the art of improvisational comedy at the Ark Improv Theatre in Madison, under the guidance of Dennis Kern and alongside Joan Cusack, who was attending UW Madison at the time. Farley then ventured his way to Chicago and performed at the Improv Olympic.

He then went on to work with the famed Second City Improv Company, starting the same day as Stephen Colbert, first with their touring company and then with their main stage company by 1989. As part of the main stage company, Farley was a cast member of three revues: "The Gods Must Be Lazy," "It Was Thirty Years Ago Today," and "Flag Smoking Permitted in Lobby Only or Censorama."


Farley was one of the new "Saturday Night Live" cast members announced in early 1990, along with Chris Rock. Farley frequently collaborated with Rock, as well as fellow cast members Adam Sandler, Tim Meadows, and David Spade. This group came to be known as the "Bad Boys of SNL." Farley's popular characters included motivational speaker Matt Foley, who frequently reminded characters he was "living in a van down by the river." The character was created by Bob Odenkirk when he and Farley worked together at Second City. The character's name came from a longtime friend of Farley's who became a Catholic priest. The mannerisms of the character were taken from Chris' days as a rugby player and coupled with his high school football coach's habit of squatting down to give pep talks.

Other famous characters Farley portrayed included Todd O'Connor of Bill Swerski's Superfans, a Chippendale's dancer in a famous sketch with guest host Patrick Swayze, one of the "Gap Girls," a lunch lady, "Weekend Update" commentator Bennett Brauer, and himself on "The Chris Farley Show," which was a talk show in which Chris poorly interviewed guests or trailed off on random subjects. Many of the characters were brought to life on "SNL" from his days at Second City. Farley also performed impersonations of Tom Arnold, Andrew Giuliani, Jerry Garcia, Meat Loaf, Carnie Wilson, Rush Limbaugh, and many others.

Off-screen, Chris became well known for his pranks around the "SNL" offices. Adam Sandler and Farley would often make late-night prank phone calls from the "SNL" offices in Rockefeller Center, with Sandler speaking in an old woman's voice and Farley farting into the phone. He'd also moon cars from a limousine and even once defecated out of a window. Sandler and Farley, along with many of their other castmates, were released from their contracts at "SNL" in 1995 for various reasons.

Phil Hartman and Chris Farley (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

Film Career

During his time on "SNL," Farley became a huge movie star. His film debut came when he played a security guard in 1992's "Wayne's World." In 1993, he played Ronnie the Mechanic in "Coneheads" and had an uncredited role as a bus driver in Adam Sandler's "Billy Madison." Around this time, he also appeared in the music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers single "Soul to Squeeze," which was a song featured on the "Coneheads" soundtrack. Farley appeared in "Airheads" in 1994. In his first two major films, "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep," Chris starred with "SNL" colleague and close friend David Spade. The films were a huge success at the domestic box office, earning around $32 million each, and gained a large cult following on home video.

The success of the two films cemented Farley's stance as a bankable star, and he was given the starring role in "Beverly Hills Ninja" in 1996. Chris expressed dissatisfaction with "Black Sheep," an attempt by the studio to recapture the chemistry in "Tommy Boy." As a result, on the night of the premiere of "Black Sheep," Farley relapsed from his previous recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, therefore requiring further rehab before he could start work on "Beverly Hills Ninja." The film was released in 1997, and Farley was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance for his role. He completed two more films before his December 1997 death: "Almost Heroes" and "Dirty Work," released in the summer of 1998.

Chris Farley (Photo by Steve Granitz Archive 1/WireImage)

Unfinished Projects

Farley was originally cast as the voice of the title character in "Shrek," recording around 80-90 percent of the dialogue, but died just before recording was finished. The filmmakers felt continuing the film with Chris would be in bad taste, so Shrek's dialogue was recorded by former "SNL" castmate Mike Myers. Farley was slated for another voice role in "Dinosaur." After his death, the character was re-written as a female and was played by British actress Joan Plowright. At the time of his death, Chris had been in talks to co-star with Vince Vaughn in "The Gelfin." Jim Carrey's role in the 1996 film "The Cable Guy" was originally intended for Farley as well.

Chris was also offered the role of Ishmael, eventually played by Randy Quaid, in "Kingpin," but was forced by Paramount Pictures to turn it down in order to star in "Black Sheep." Farley was slated to appear in a third "Ghostbusters" film, and author Dav Pilkey wanted Farley to play the title role in a potential TV series based on the "Captain Underpants" books. In addition, at the time of his death, Chris had been in talks for the lead in an adaptation of the novel "A Confederacy of Dunces." He also had expressed interest in portraying Atuk in an adaptation of the novel "The Incomparable Atuk." Both of these shelved projects have been alleged to be cursed as Farley, John Belushi, and John Candy had all been tied to the projects before their untimely deaths.

Personal Life

Chris was plagued with alcohol and drug addictions for most of his adult life. In 1997, there was a visible decline in Farley's health when he made a guest appearance on Nickelodeon's "All That" as well as when he hosted "SNL" for the first time in October 1997.

In the final years of his life, Chris had attempted treatment for obesity and drug abuse 17 times.

On December 18, 1997, Farley was found dead by his younger brother John in his apartment at the John Hancock Center in Chicago. He was 33 years old. An autopsy revealed he had died of an overdose of cocaine and morphine, with advanced heart disease also a significant contributing factor. A private funeral was held for Chris at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. Over 500 people attended his funeral, including many comedians who had worked with him on "SNL." His remains were interred at Resurrection Cemetery in Madison.

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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