Richest CelebritiesRichest Comedians
Net Worth:
$500 Thousand
Aug 4, 1941 - May 19, 2021 (79 years old)
6 ft (1.84 m)
Screenwriter, Comedian, Actor, Film Producer
United States of America
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What was Paul Mooney's Net Worth?

Paul Mooney was an American comedian, writer, social critic, television and film actor who had a net worth of $500 thousand at the time of his death.

Paul Mooney was known for writing material for such comedians as Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, and Dave Chappelle, including for their various television shows, albums, and films. Mooney also acted in a number of films himself, including "The Buddy Holly Story," "In the Army Now," and "Bamboozled."

Early Life

Paul Mooney was born as Paul Gladney on August 4, 1941 in Shreveport, Louisiana to LaVoya and George. When he was seven, the family moved to Oakland, California. Growing up, Mooney was raised primarily by his grandmother Aimay. He adopted the surname Mooney from famous Hollywood actor Paul Muni.

Career Beginnings

Mooney started his career in the circus, serving as a ringmaster with the Gatti-Charles Circus. While doing this, he began writing comedy and telling jokes, which paved the way for his future professional career in comedy writing.

Comedy Writing

Mooney began writing material for other comedians in the 1970s. He wrote three episodes of Red Foxx's television sitcom "Sanford and Son" in 1972, and later wrote for the sitcom "Good Times" in 1974. Mooney also inaugurated his longterm professional partnership with Richard Pryor, writing some of the comedian's routines on the "Saturday Night Live" episode he hosted in 1975. After that, Mooney wrote for the television variety program "The Richard Pryor Show." In the 1980s, he wrote for the children's series "Pryor's Place," co-wrote material for Pryor's comedy album "Live on the Sunset Strip," and co-wrote the screenplay to Pryor's film "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling." The next decade, Mooney served as the head writer for the first season of Keenen Ivory Wayans's sketch comedy show "In Living Color." Among his other credits, Mooney wrote some episodes of "Chappelle's Show" in 2003, and wrote his own short-lived series, "Judge Mooney," in 2004.

Acting Career

In addition to writing for Richard Pryor, Mooney acted alongside him in the 1977 film "Which Way is Up?" and the 1981 film "Bustin' Loose." In between those two films, he portrayed singer-songwriter Sam Cooke in the biographical drama "The Buddy Holly Story." Returning to comedy, Mooney played the president of the NAACP in the 1987 Eddie Murphy-starring satire "Hollywood Shuffle." In the 90s, Mooney appeared in the war comedy "In the Army Now," starring Pauly Shore and Andy Dick, and the comedy "High Freakquency," starring John Witherspoon and Marcus Chong. Kicking off the new millennium, he played the father of Damon Wayans's character in Spike Lee's satire "Bamboozled." Mooney acted less frequently after that. His further notable credits included "Chappelle's Show," on which he appeared as the character Negrodamus, and his own show "Judge Mooney." He later made an appearance as a Klansman in the 2016 black comedy horror film "Meet the Blacks."

Stand-up Releases

Mooney released stand-up comedy of his own on various formats. In the 90s, he released the albums "Race" and "Master Piece," and in the 2000s released the stand-up comedy DVDs "Analyzing White America," "Know Your History: Jesus is Black; So Was Cleopatra," and "It's the End of the World."

Paul Mooney

Paul Hawthorne /Getty Images

Other Appearances

Among his other notable media appearances, Mooney hosted the BET special "25 Most @#%! Moments in Black History" for Black History Month in 2006. The previous year, at the BET Comedy Awards, he caused some controversy for a segment he did in which he joked about Diana Ross's DUI arrest and made light of the death of Ross's ex-husband Arne Næss Jr.

Mooney also appeared in various documentaries during his career, starting with "F.T.A." in 1972. In the early 2000s, he was interviewed in the comedy documentary "Bitter Jester" and the history documentary "The N-Word," which explores the legacy of the titular slur. Mooney was also interviewed in the 2009 documentary "Good Hair," starring Chris Rock.


In 2007, Mooney released his memoir "Black is the New White," much of which covers his longterm professional partnership with Richard Pryor. It also focuses on Mooney's childhood and some of his more infamous career moments.

Personal Life and Death

Mooney married his wife Yvonne in 1973. Together, they had three children: Spring, Shane, and Symeon. Mooney also had twin sons named Daryl and Dwayne from a prior marriage. In 2001, Symeon was killed after being allegedly shot by a friend.

In late 2014, it was announced that Mooney had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He continued to tour and act in the years after that. Mooney later died of a heart attack in May of 2021; he was 79 years of age.

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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