How Much Was Jackie Gleason Worth at the Time of His Death?

Jackie Gleason, star of The Honeymooners, died on June 24, 1987. How much was Gleason worth at the time of his death? Here’s a look at the actor’s life, career, and net worth.

Jackie Gleason on ‘The Honeymooners’

Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason rehearsing for an episode of The Honeymooners. | Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images
Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason rehearsing for an episode of The Honeymooners. | Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Gleason played the role of Ralph Kramden, a bus driver. His character was married to Alice Kramden, played by the late Audrey Meadows. The series, created by Gleason, was based on a comedy sketch of the same name.

Jim Bishop, author of The Golden Ham: A Candid Biography of Jackie Gleason, says there was more than one Jackie Gleason. According to him, Gleason had many layers to his personality. There was “Gleason the comedian.” However, Bishop says there was also “Gleason the serious actor” and “Gleason the producer and Gleason the writer.” He describes him as a talented entertainer.

Jackie Gleason’s movies and TV shows

Gleason made his film debut in the 1941 movie Navy Blues, in which he played the role of Tubby. The following year, he appeared in the movie All Through the Night. Gleason landed a role as a cast regular in the series The Life of Riley in 1949. He played the character Chester Riley until 1959.

Gleason is also known for his appearances in The Jackie Gleason Show, The Red Skelton Hour, Here’s Lucy, and Smokey and the Bandit. Gleason made his last acting appearance as the character Max Basner in the 1986 film Nothing in Common.

Jackie Gleason’s work outside of acting

Although Gleason was known for his acting talent, he worked in other areas of the entertainment industry. The Honeymooners star also had credits as a producer, director, production manager, writer, and composer.

Gleason made his directorial debut in 1976 with a Honeymooners TV special. In 1988, he served as a supervising producer on the series Gleason: He’s the Greatest. The show ran for 26 episodes. Gleason’s writing credits include The Colgate Comedy Hour, Cavalcade of Stars, and The Honeymooners.

His approach to work

Bishop says Gleason took time to perfect his craft as an actor. He would read and study as much as he could. According to him, Gleason had the timing and grace of Charlie Chaplin. Although he was serious about his work, Bishop says Gleason did not become immersed in his characters. He made sure to create some distance between himself and the role he was playing.

Bishop recalled the time Gleason walked over to speak to a stagehand after one of his scenes. He told the stagehand that while he was performing he had been thinking about a discussion they had earlier.  

Highest-grossing films

Gleason’s highest-grossing film was the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit, with $126.7 million in worldwide box office earnings.  His other high-grossing films include Smokey and the Bandit II, with more than $66 million in worldwide box office earnings, and The Toy, with more than $47 million in worldwide box office earnings.

Jackie Gleason’s net worth

At the time of his death, Gleason was worth $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth estimates.

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