Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$100 Thousand
Mar 26, 1950 - Jan 13, 2010 (59 years old)
6 ft (1.85 m)
Singer, Songwriter, Composer
United States of America
💰 Compare Teddy Pendergrass' Net Worth

What was Teddy Pendergrass's Net Worth?

Teddy Pendergrass was an American soul and R&B singer-songwriter who had a net worth of $100,000 at the time of his death in 2010. Unfortunately, despite enjoying a highly-successful career over multiple decades, after his death a legal battle over his estate would later indicate that Teddy had "almost no money" when he died. Soon after his death, his family lost his longtime Philadelphia-area home to foreclosure. His relatives spent upwards of $850,000 and nearly a decade fighting over the rights to his estate.

Teddy Pendergrass first achieved recognition as the lead singer of the vocal group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. After leaving the group in 1975, he embarked on a successful solo career, releasing five consecutive Platinum albums on the Philadelphia International Records label. Although his career was briefly halted in 1982 after a car crash left him paralyzed from the chest down, Pendergrass continued his career until retiring in 2007. He died of respiratory failure on January 13, 2010.

Early Life and Education

Teddy Pendergrass was born on March 26, 1950 in Kingstree, South Carolina as the only child of Ida and Jesse. Previously, his mother had endured six miscarriages. When Pendergrass was still very young, his father left the family. At the age of 11, he met his father, but shortly after that his father was killed after being stabbed in an altercation.

Pendergrass grew up in a poor area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and sang at his church. He also took up the drums. As a teenager, he attended Thomas Edison High School, which was all-male at the time. Pendergrass dropped out in the 11th grade to pursue his music career. After dropping out, he recorded his first song, "Angel with Muddy Feet." He also played the drums in a number of local Philadelphia bands.

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

In 1970, Pendergrass attracted the attention of Harold Melvin, the founder of the soul and R&B vocal group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Originally recruited to play drums with the group, Pendergrass was eventually made the lead singer after Melvin noticed his impressive vocal ability. The Blue Notes went on to land a recording deal with Philadelphia International Records in 1971, and the following year, released their first single, "I Miss You." A major R&B hit, the song put the Blue Notes on the map. The group had an even bigger hit with its follow-up single, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," which topped the R&B chart and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Over the subsequent years, the Blue Notes had further commercial hits with such songs as "The Love I Lost," "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon," "Wake Up Everybody," and "Bad Luck." The group also recorded the first version of "Don't Leave Me This Way," which became a disco smash when it was covered by Thelma Houston in 1976. Ultimately, Pendergrass left the Blue Notes in 1975 amid tensions with Melvin. The band fell into relative obscurity after that.


Solo Career in the 1970s

Pendergrass embarked on a solo career after leaving the Blue Notes. Remaining with Philadelphia International Records, he released his self-titled debut album in 1977; it reached number 17 on the Billboard 200, and was eventually certified Platinum. Pendergrass went on to release his second solo album, "Life is a Song Worth Singing," in 1978. An even greater success than his debut album, it peaked at number 11 on the Billboard 200 and launched the hit singles "Only You" and "Close the Door." The latter song established Pendergrass's reputation as a sex symbol in soul music. He continued his success in 1979 with his third solo album, "Teddy," which reached number five on the Billboard 200 and stayed at number one on the R&B chart for eight weeks. The album spawned the R&B classics "Come Go with Me" and "Turn Off the Lights." In addition to his studio albums, Pendergrass achieved major success with his sold-out concerts in the late 70s.

Further Solo Career

Kicking off the 1980s, Pendergrass released the album "TP," which launched the hit singles "Can't We Try" and "Love T.K.O." That was followed by "It's Time for Love" in 1981. By 1982, Pendergrass had become one of the leading male R&B artists of the day, matching the popularity of Marvin Gaye. However, that year, he was involved in a car crash in Philadelphia that left him paralyzed from the chest down. His first album released after the accident was "This One's for You," which included material recorded before the crash. It was followed by "Heaven Only Knows." Both albums had underwhelming commercial performances. After signing a contract with Asylum Records and finishing physical therapy, Pendergrass released "Love Language" in 1984. The album included the pop ballad "Hold Me," featuring a then-unknown Whitney Houston. In the summer of 1985, Pendergrass made an emotional return to live performing at the historic Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. Later that year, he released his album "Workin' it Back."

In 1988, Pendergrass achieved his first R&B number-one hit in close to a decade with his song "Joy," from his album of the same name. His next album was "Truly Blessed," released in 1991; it spawned his last R&B chart-topping single, "It Should've Been You." Pendergrass went on to release his album "A Little More Magic" in 1993. That was followed in 1997 by "You and I." The following year, Pendergrass released the Christmas album "This Christmas (I'd Rather Have Love)," which would be his final studio album. In 2002, he released the live album "From Teddy, With Love," which was recorded at his concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Pendergrass didn't perform much after that, although he did return briefly in 2007 to participate in an awards ceremony that raised money for his charitable organization. He then retired from the music industry.

Car Crash

While driving his new Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit in the East Falls section of Philadelphia on March 18, 1982, Pendergrass was involved in a car crash. At the time of the accident, he was driving with a suspended license due to unpaid parking tickets. Pendergrass was reportedly driving transgender nightclub performer Tenika Watson back home when his car hit a guardrail, crossed lanes, and hit two trees. While Watson sustained only minor injuries, Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

Personal Life and Death

In the 1970s, Pendergrass was in a relationship with his manager, Taazmayia Lang. She was found shot dead on her home's doorstep in the spring of 1977 in a murder that remains unsolved. A decade later, Pendergrass wed dancer Karen Still; they divorced in 2002. He married his second wife, Joan Williams, in 2008. Pendergrass has three children named Tisha, LaDonna, and Theodore Jr.

In mid-2009, Pendergrass underwent successful surgery for colon cancer. A few weeks later, he returned to the hospital with respiratory issues. On January 13, 2010, Pendergrass passed away from respiratory failure at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania. His life was later the subject of the 2019 Showtime documentary film "If You Don't Know Me."

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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