Richest CelebritiesRichest Comedians
Net Worth:
$200 Thousand
Jul 24, 1946 - Nov 11, 2022 (76 years old)
Fort Bragg
United States of America
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What Was Gallagher's Net Worth?

Gallagher was an American comedian and producer who had a net worth of $200 thousand at the time of his death in 2022. Gallagher was a popular "prop" comedian in the 1970s and 1980s, perhaps most famous for destroying watermelons with a sledgehammer during his live act (a routine known as "Sledge-O-Matic"). He starred in more than a dozen comedy specials, including "An Uncensored Evening" (1980), "Stuck in the Sixties" (1983), "Melon Crazy" (1984), "Overboard" (1987), "Smashing Cheeseheads" (1997), and "Tropic of Gallagher" (2007), and he produced several of his specials as well. Gallagher was ranked #100 on Comedy Central's 2004 "100 Greatest Standups of all Time" list. He also appeared in the films "Record City" (1977) and "The Book of Daniel" (2013), and in 2003, he ran as an Independent in the California gubernatorial recall election, finishing 16th. Though he had health issues in his sixties and seventies, suffering three heart attacks in 2011 and 2012, he continued touring until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Sadly, Gallagher died of organ failure in November 2022 at the age of 76.

Early Life

Gallagher was born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. on July 24, 1946, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was the son of Garnett Dorothy Phelps and Leo Anthony Gallagher Sr., and he had a younger brother named Ron. Gallagher grew up in Lorain, Ohio, but when he was 9 years old, the family relocated to South Tampa, Florida, due to his asthma. After graduating from Henry B. Plant High School, he earned a chemical engineering degree from the University of South Florida in 1970. As a college student, Gallagher minored in English literature.


After graduating from college, Gallagher began working as a road manager for musician/comedian Jim Stafford. When they traveled to California in the late '60s, Gallagher decided to try comedy, and he started performing at The Ice House and The Comedy Store. Early in his career, he appeared on "The 2nd Annual HBO Young Comedians Show" (1977), "The Midnight Special" (1978), "The Merv Griffin Show" (1979), and "Make Me Laugh" (1979).

Gallagher made his first appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1975. Carson wasn't a fan of prop comedy, so Gallagher mostly appeared on the show when guest hosts filled in, only performing on the show twice when Johnny was present.

Gallagher released his first comedy special, "An Uncensored Evening," in 1980, and he followed it with "Mad as Hell" and "Two Real" in 1981, "Totally New" and "That's Stupid" in 1982, "Stuck in the Sixties" and "The Maddest" in 1983, "Melon Crazy" and "Over Your Head" in 1984, "The Bookkeeper" in 1985, and "Overboard" in 1987. "An Uncensored Evening" was the first stand-up special to ever air on cable.

In the '90s, he starred in the comedy specials "We Need a Hero" (1992), "Smashing Cheeseheads" (1997), and "Messin' Up Texas" (1998), then he released "" (2000) and "Tropic of Gallagher" (2007) and had his own episode of "Gotham Comedy Live" (2014). Gallagher said that he performed "200 shows a year for 35 years," and "Variety" reported that he performed more than 3,500 live shows during his five-decade career.

In July 1999, Gallagher used stereotypes that many considered offensive to Mexicans during a performance in Cerritos, California.

While appearing on the podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" in late 2011, Maron asked Gallagher about accusations of his comedy being homophobic and racist, and Gallagher walked out of the interview.

Due to the nature of Gallagher's act, sometimes audience members sustained injuries during his shows. At a 1990 performance in San Juan Capistrano, California, a woman was hit on the head by a large plush penguin with a fire extinguisher inside it. She filed a lawsuit against Gallagher, asking for him to pay $13,000 in medical bills as well as $20,000 in lost wages and more than $100,000 in punitive damages. When the case went to trial, the jury sided with Gallagher, and the judge said of the trial (in which the comedian took the stand) that "in seven years on the bench, I've seen a lot of characters, but none so theatrical … It was entertaining. It certainly wasn't boring."

[U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher K. Hwang and was licensed through Creative Commons via Wikimedia]

Personal Life

Gallagher married Deedra Kay Higgins in 1980. After they divorced, he wed Geralyn Ann Hines in 1988. Gallagher and Hines also divorced. He had two children, daughter Aimee and son Barnaby. During a March 2011 performance in Minnesota, Gallagher collapsed after having a minor heart attack onstage. In March 2012, he began suffering from chest pains after a performance in Texas. He was taken to a hospital and placed in a medically induced coma due to a "mild to serious" heart attack, and two coronary stents were replaced. A few days after he was released from the hospital, Gallagher had another mild heart attack.

Brother Lawsuit

In the early '90s, Gallagher's brother, Ron, asked for permission to perform shows using the Sledge-O-Matic routine. Gallagher granted Ron permission as long as Ron clarified that the act was Ron Gallagher, not Leo Gallagher, when promoting the shows.

Ron later began calling his act Gallagher Two or Gallagher Too, and it was sometimes promoted in a way that didn't make it clear that he wasn't the more famous Gallagher. Gallagher eventually asked his brother to stop using the Sledge-O-Matic routine, but after Ron didn't comply, Gallagher sued him for false advertising and trademark violations. The courts ruled against Ron and ordered him to stop performing any act in which he impersonated his brother.


On November 11, 2022, Gallagher passed away at the age of 76 at his home in Palm Desert, California, where he had been receiving hospice care. His death was caused by organ failure, reportedly a result of the heart attacks he had suffered in previous years.

Awards and Nominations

Gallagher earned five CableACE Award nominations, winning Writing a Comedy or Music Program for "Gallagher: The Maddest" in 1984. He also received a nomination for Actor in a Comedy or Music Program for that special, and his other nominations were for Writing in a Variety Program for "Gallagher: Stuck in the Sixties" (1983), Performance in a Comedy Special for "Gallagher: Over Your Head" (1985), and Directing a Comedy Special for "Gallagher: Overboard" (1989).

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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