Richest CelebritiesRichest Comedians
Net Worth:
$10 Million
May 12, 1937 - Jun 22, 2008 (71 years old)
5 ft 8 in (1.74 m)
Actor, Television producer, Screenwriter, Voice Actor, Comedian, Writer, Film Producer
United States of America
💰 Compare George Carlin's Net Worth

What was George Carlin's net worth?

George Carlin was an American comedian, actor and social critic who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death. George Carlin's career spanned over five decades and left an indelible mark on comedy and popular culture. He is remembered for his groundbreaking routines, including "Seven Dirty Words," and his incisive critiques of politics, religion, and societal norms. Carlin's contributions to comedy and entertainment continue to inspire new generations of performers, and his legacy remains a testament to the power of humor to challenge and provoke. He died on on June 22, 2008 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 71. By the late 1960s, Carlin was making about $250,000 a year performing standup around the country. That's the same as around $2.2 million per year today.

Early Life

George Denis Patrick Carlin was born on May 12, 1937, in the Bronx, New York. His parents, Mary and Patrick Carlin, were Irish immigrants, and he was raised in a Catholic household. Carlin's father was a national advertising manager for the New York Sun, and his mother worked as a secretary. The family later moved to Manhattan, where Carlin attended high school. He struggled academically but discovered a love of performing and began working as a disc jockey in his teenage years.

While he came from a Catholic family, Carlin himself rejected religion. His parents separated when he was two months old due to his father's alcoholism, and he was raised by his mother and his older brother, Patrick, Jr.

Career Beginnings

Carlin joined the United States Air Force when he was old enough and was trained as a radar technician. He also began working as a disc jockey at radio station KJOE, in Shreveport, but was somewhat unsuccessful in his initial leap into the entertainment business.

In 1959, he met Jack Burns, a fellow DJ, and the pair formed a comedy team. After arriving in California, the pair put together an audition tape and created The Wright Brothers, a morning show on KDAY in Hollywood. After two years together as a team, they parted to pursue individual careers, but remained good friends.

It was not until the late 1960s that Carlin began to develop his unique comedic style, which blended satire, social commentary, and linguistic precision. He released his first comedy album, "Take-Offs and Put-Ons," in 1967, which featured a mix of sketches and stand-up routines.

(Photo by Kevin Statham/Redferns)


In the 1970s George changed his image and routine, and morphed into the persona that made him so famous. Carlin's career took off, and he became one of the most popular and controversial comedians of his time. He released a series of successful comedy albums, including "FM & AM" (1972), "Class Clown" (1972), and "Occupation: Foole" (1973), which showcased his biting humor and willingness to challenge societal norms. He also appeared on numerous TV shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," where his appearances became highly anticipated events.

On October 11, 1975, George hosted the very first episode of "Saturday Night Live."

From the late 1980s onward, Carlin's routines focused on a sociocultural criticism of modern American society. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture.

His final HBO special, "It's Bad for Ya," was filmed less than four months before his death.

George Carlin

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Seven Dirty Words

In 1972, Carlin's career took a dramatic turn when he performed his infamous "Seven Dirty Words" routine on stage in Milwaukee. The routine, which listed seven words that could not be used on broadcast television, sparked a nationwide debate about obscenity and free speech. The routine led to Carlin's arrest for disorderly conduct and set the stage for a Supreme Court case that would ultimately redefine the boundaries of free speech on the airwaves. The case, Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation, resulted in a landmark decision that upheld the FCC's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.

Film Career

Carlin also found success in film, appearing in numerous movies throughout his career. He appeared in the films "Car Wash" (1976), "Outrageous Fortune" (1987), and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" (1989), among others. He also provided the voice of Fillmore in the Pixar film "Cars" (2006). Despite his success in film, Carlin remained primarily a stand-up comedian throughout his career, and continued to tour and perform until his death.

Awards and Legacy

Carlin's contributions to comedy were recognized throughout his career, and he received numerous awards and accolades. He won four Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Album, and was inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2004, he was ranked number two on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedy. He ranked ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor. In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Personal Life and Death

Carlin met Brenda Hosbrook while touring in Dayton, Ohio in August 1960. They married at her parents' home in Dayton in 1961. The couple's only child, Kelly Carlin, was born on June 15, 1963. In 1971 the couple renewed their wedding vows in Las Vegas. Brenda died of liver cancer on May 11, 1997, the day before Carlin's 60th birthday.

Shortly after his wife's death, he met Sally Wade, a comedy writer, and he married her a year later in a private ceremony. They remained married until his death in 2008, two days before their tenth anniversary. Wade wrote a book about their relationship, titled "The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade," which was published in 2011. C

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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