Dick Gregory Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Dick Gregory Net Worth 

Dick Gregory had an estimated net worth of $8 million at death. Dick Gregory was a pioneering comedian and civil rights activist who took on race with layered, nuanced humor during the turbulent 1960s. He earned most of his income from his career as a comedian and actor. 

Dick Gregory made his big break as a stand-up comedian at the Playboy Club in the early 1960s. Gregory became a comedy headliner and a trailblazer for other African American comedians such as Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby, thanks to his sophisticated, layered humor that addressed racial issues of the day. He was also an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and later ran for political office. He worked as a lecturer in his later years and pursued his interests in health and fitness.

To calculate the net worth of Dick Gregory, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Dick Gregory
Net Worth: $8 Million
Monthly Salary: $100 Thousand
Annual Income: $2 Million
Source of Wealth: Comedian, Actor, Writer, Entrepreneur

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Early Life

Claxton, Richard Gregory was born on October 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri, as the second of six children. Gregory grew up in abject poverty. His father abandoned the family, forcing his mother to work long hours as a maid to make ends meet. Gregory discovered the power of comedy at a young age to defend himself against childhood bullies. “They’d laugh anyway, but if I made the jokes, they’d laugh with me instead of at me,” he wrote in his autobiography in 1964. “After a while, I felt like I could say whatever I wanted.” I developed a reputation as a witty individual. And then I started making fun of them.”

He was also a track star in high school and demonstrated a thirst for activism when he protested against segregated schools. He was later accepted to Southern Illinois University, where he excelled in track, and drafted into the Army in 1954. At the time, he began performing stand-up comedy, and after winning a talent contest, he joined the Army’s entertainment division.

Stand-Up Career

Gregory returned to the United States and worked as an emcee at various Chicago clubs, honing his craft while working the comedy circuit and doing odd jobs. His ground-breaking satirical humor addressed racial issues and sociopolitical issues straight from the news.

Gregory got his big break in 1961 at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club in Chicago, where he performed as a replacement act in front of a room of white executives from the segregated South. Despite this, Gregory was a huge success and a crossover star. In a Boston Globe interview in 2000, Gregory said, “It was the first time they had seen a Black comic who wasn’t bucking his eyes, wasn’t dancing and singing and telling mother-in-law jokes.” “I was just talking about something I read in the newspaper.”

The comedian’s time at the club was extended by several weeks, and he went on to become a national comedy headliner. Gregory made history the same year when he appeared on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show, becoming the first African American guest to do so after making it clear he wanted to be invited to sit on the couch and chat with the host like white entertainers. Gregory became a recurring guest on the show after his appearance.

He also released the successful albums In Living Black and White (1961) and Dick Gregory Talks Turkey (1962). 

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Civil Rights Activism

During the 1960s, Gregory was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, becoming friends with pivotal figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers. He was arrested numerous times as a result of his activism. In 1963, while imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama, he wrote that he received “the first really good beating I ever had in my life.”

Throughout the 1960s, he was active in politics. In 1967, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Chicago against Richard Daley. A year later, he ran for President of the United States as a write-in candidate for the Freedom and Peace Party during the election between Richard Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey.

Later Years and Death

Gregory became devoted to health and fitness over time, adopting a vegetarian diet and researching dietary issues in African American communities. He became a well-known university lecturer and went on hunger strikes on a regular basis to raise awareness about various global issues such as the Vietnam War, women’s rights, apartheid in South Africa, police brutality, and American Indian rights.

During the mid-1980s, the comedian/activist launched the Slim/Safe Bahamian Diet, a weight-loss program. He eventually filed a lawsuit against his business partners and faced major financial difficulties, which resulted in the loss of his family’s 40-acre farm in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Gregory later became known for his support of various conspiracy theories regarding the assassinations of King, John, and Robert Kennedy, the crack cocaine epidemic, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also took a break from stand-up for a while, preferring to avoid clubs that served alcohol, but he eventually returned to the stage. He appeared in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production Dick Gregory Live! in 1996.

Nigger: An Autobiography is one of the many books written by the comedian/activist (1964). “Wherever you are, if you ever hear the word ‘nigger’ again, remember they are advertising my book…” he wrote in the foreword to his deceased mother. In a 2002 interview with NPR, he discussed the controversial word in the title of his book: “I said, let’s pull it out of the closet, lay it out there, deal with it, dissect it,” he said. “It should never be referred to as ‘the N-word.'”

No More Lies: The Myth and Reality of American History (1971), Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ With Nature (1973), and the memoir Callus on My Soul (1976) are among his other works (2000).

Gregory was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1999, but he refused chemotherapy and instead relied on diet and alternative treatments. The cancer was declared cured. On August 19, 2017, he died at the age of 84.

Personal Life

Gregory married Lillian Smith in 1959. They had 11 children, one of whom, Richard Jr., died as an infant. Gregory acknowledged that, due to the demands of his job, his wife was the primary emotional caregiver for their children.

Further Reading

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