Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$2 Million
Aug 20, 1942 - Aug 10, 2008 (65 years old)
5 ft 11 in (1.82 m)
Singer, Record producer, Singer-songwriter, Actor, Keyboard Player, Songwriter, Musician, Voice Actor, Film Score Composer, Music Arranger
United States of America
💰 Compare Isaac Hayes' Net Worth

What Was Isaac Hayes' Net Worth?

Isaac Hayes was an American composer, singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer who had a net worth of $2 million at the time of his death in 2008. Isaac Hayes won an Academy Award for 1971's "Theme from Shaft," and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Isaac released more than 20 studio albums, such as the Gold albums "Hot Buttered Soul" (1969), "Joy" (1973), "Chocolate Chip" (1975), and "Don't Let Go" (1979), and he and David Porter co-wrote the song "Soul Man" (first performed by the soul and R&B duo Sam & Dave), which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Hayes voiced Jerome "Chef" McElroy on the animated Comedy Central series "South Park" from 1997 to 2006, and he had more than 70 acting credits to his name, including the films "Truck Turner" (1974), "Escape from New York" (1981), "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (1988), "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (1993), "Blues Brothers 2000" (1998), "Hustle & Flow" (2005), and "Soul Men" (2008) and the television series "The Rockford Files" (1976–1977), "The Hughleys" (1999), "Girlfriends" (2003), and "Stargate SG-1" (2006). Sadly, Isaac died on August 10, 2008, at the age of 65.


Isaac Hayes filed for bankruptcy in 1976. According to the bankruptcy filings at the time, Hayes owed around $6 million, primarily to a bank. As a result of the bankruptcy, Isaac was forced to vacate his mansion and sell most of his personal possessions, including the royalty and catalog rights to his music.

At the time of his death in 2008, Isaac was living in a modest house in Memphis, Tennessee. After his death the home went into foreclosure.

Early Life

Isaac Hayes was born Isaac Lee Hayes Jr. on August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee. He was the son of Isaac Hayes Sr. and Eula Wade, and he had a sister named Willette. He lost his mother at an early age, and Isaac Sr. abandoned the family, so Hayes was raised by his mother's parents. Isaac grew up in family of sharecroppers, and he worked on Tennessee farms during his youth. When Hayes was 5 years old, he started singing at church, and he later taught himself to play the saxophone, organ, piano, and flute. Though Isaac left Manassas High School before graduating, one of his teachers convinced him to earn his diploma, which he completed when he was 21. Several schools offered Hayes music scholarships, but he turned them down to work at a Memphis meat-packing plant in order to provide for his family. At night, he played at juke joints and nightclubs. Isaac landed his first professional gigs in the late '50s, singing at Curry's Club in Memphis.

Isaac Hayes Net Worth



Isaac's recording career began in the early '60s when he started working as a session musician for Stax Records. He co-wrote several hit songs with David Porter for Sam & Dave, such as "Soul Man," "Hold On, I'm Comin'," and "You Don't Know Like I Know." Hayes also produced music for Sam & Dave and other Stax Records artists, and he played on Booker T. and The M.G.s' "Winter Snow," which stated "Introducing Isaac Hayes on piano" on the record's label. He released his first album, "Presenting Isaac Hayes," in 1968, and his next four albums, "Hot Buttered Soul" (1969), "The Isaac Hayes Movement" (1970), "…To Be Continued" (1970), and "Black Moses" (1971), reached #1 on the "Billboard" Soul Albums chart. In 1971, Isaac composed music for the soundtrack of "Shaft," which earned him an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. He appeared in the 1974 blaxploitation films "Truck Turner" and "Three Tough Guys" and worked on the soundtracks for both films. In the mid-1970s, Hayes formed the record label Hot Buttered Soul, then he released the 1975 Gold album "Chocolate Chip," followed by the albums "Disco Connection" (1975), "Groove-A-Thon" (1976), and "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)" (1976).

In 1977, Isaac signed with Polydor Records and released the albums "New Horizon" (1977), "For the Sake of Love" (1978), "Don't Let Go" (1979), "Royal Rappin's" (1979), "And Once Again" (1980), and "Lifetime Thing" (1981). His 1979 single "Don't Let Go" reached #11 on the "Billboard" Hot Soul Singles chart. From 1976 to 1977, Hayes had a recurring role as Gandolph Fitch on "The Rockford Files," then he guest-starred on "The A-Team" (1985), "Hunter" (1986), and "Miami Vice" (1987). He released the albums "U-Turn" (1986) and "Love Attack" (1988) on Columbia Records, "Wonderful" (1994) on Fantasy, and "Raw & Refined" (1995) and "Branded" (1995) on Point Blank Records.

Isaac Hayes net worth

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

South Park

In 1997, Isaac began voicing Chef on Trey Parker and Matt Stone's animated series "South Park," and he stayed with the show until 2006. On the series, he performed songs such as "Chocolate Salty Balls," "Love Gravy," and "Make Love, Even When I'm Dead," and he also voiced the character in the 1999 film "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" and several video games.

Hayes left "South Park" in March 2006, a few months after the show aired an episode lampooning Scientology, and a statement that was released in his name said, "There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins." His son Isaac III later revealed that Hayes' entourage decided that he should quit the show. He told "The Hollywood Reporter" in 2016, "Isaac Hayes did not quit 'South Park;' someone quit 'South Park' for him. What happened was that in January 2006 my dad had a stroke and lost the ability to speak. He really didn't have that much comprehension, and he had to relearn to play the piano and a lot of different things. He was in no position to resign under his own knowledge. At the time, everybody around my father was involved in Scientology — his assistants, the core group of people. So someone quit 'South Park' on Isaac Hayes' behalf. We don't know who."

Personal Life

Isaac married a woman named Dancy in 1960, and after they divorced, he wed Emily Ruth Watson on November 24, 1965. He and Emily welcomed three children, Vincent, Melanie, and Nicole, before divorcing in 1972. Hayes married Mignon Harley on April 18, 1973, and they had two children together, Heather and Isaac III. Hayes and Harley divorced in 1986.

Isaac wed his fourth wife, Adjowa, in May 2005, and they remained married until his death in 2008. The couple had one child together, a son named Nana Kwadjo Hayes, who was born in April 2006.


In 1993, Isaac got involved with Scientology, and he later contributed blurbs for several Scientology books and was featured in the Scientology film "Orientation." He started hosting "The Isaac Hayes and Friends Radio Show" in 1996, and while working at New York City's WRKS, he met vegan chef Elijah Joy, who became his personal chef.

In 2001, Isaac recorded the album "The Joy Of Creating – The Golden Era Musicians And Friends Play L. Ron Hubbard" with fellow Scientologist Doug E. Fresh. In 1999, he founded The Isaac Hayes Foundation to help "vulnerable populations in realizing their full potential through grants, technical assistance and program development in the areas of health care, economic, community, environmental and human development." In Ghana, Isaac was crowned as a chief in honor of his work as a humanitarian and his economic efforts for the country.


In March 2006, it was reported that Isaac had suffered a minor stroke two months earlier. His spokeswoman denied the claims, but Hayes confirmed the news in October of that year. On August 10, 2008, a few of Isaac's family members found him unresponsive in his Memphis home next to a treadmill that was still running. After being taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital, Hayes was pronounced dead just after 2 p.m. at the age of 65. Medical examiners later stated that Isaac's death was caused by a recurrence of stroke. Hayes was laid to rest at Memphis' Memorial Park Cemetery. In 2010, the Tennessee General Assembly named part of Interstate 40 the "Isaac Hayes Memorial Highway" and made the naming official on what would've been his 68th birthday.

Awards and Nominations

In 1972, Hayes earned two Academy Award nominations, winning Best Music, Original Song for "Theme from Shaft." His other nomination was for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score for "Shaft." He won a Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture for "Shaft," and he received a nomination for Best Original Song – Motion Picture for "Theme from Shaft." In 2021, "Shaft" was inducted into the Online Film & Television Association Hall of Fame in the "Score" category, and Isaac earned a BAFTA Award nomination for the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for "Shaft" in 1972. Hayes was nominated for 13 Grammys, taking home the prize for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special for "Shaft" (1972), Best Instrumental Arrangement for "Theme from Shaft" (1972), and Best Pop Instrumental Performance by an Arranger, Composer, Orchestra and/or Choral Leader for "Black Moses" (1973). Isaac won a BMI TV Music Award for "Soul Man" at the 1998 BMI Film & TV Awards, and he also received five BMI R&B Awards, two BMI Urban Awards, and two BMI Pop Awards and was named a BMI Icon in 2003. He also earned and NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for "South Park" in 1999, and Hayes and his "Hustle & Flow" co-stars received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in 2006.

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