Ricky Nelson Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Wife

Ricky Nelson Net Worth

Ricky Nelson had an estimated net worth of $1 million at death. Ricky Nelson was an American musician, singer-songwriter, and actor. He was a music sensation among the fans during the late1950s and 1960s. He earned most of his income from his album sales, concerts, and movies. 

Ricky came from a family that loved music and acting, and at the age of eight he and his family had already starred in the radio and television series “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”.

It was Ricky’s song “Poor Little Fool” that became the very first number one on the then newly formed Hot 100 chart. Aside from this song, Ricky had nineteen other Top 10 hits to his credit. Between 1957 and 1973, a total of 53 songs by Ricky were placed in the Billboard Hot 100.

As a singer, he became a “teen sensation”, and this fame helped him get a role in Howard Hawks’ 1959 western “Rio Bravo” alongside John Wayne and Dean Martin.

On January 21, 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also included in the list of the 50 greatest TV stars of all time at TV, where he ranked 49th.

To calculate the net worth of Ricky Nelson, 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: Ricky Nelson
Net Worth: $1 Million
Monthly Salary: $20 Thousand
Annual Income: $300 Thousand
Source of Wealth: Singer, Musician, Actor, Singer-songwriter

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Early Life

Born Eric Hilliard Nelson on May 8, 1940, in Teaneck, New Jersey, Ricky attended Gardner Street Public School, Bancroft Junior High, and Hollywood High School, all in Los Angeles.

He had an older brother David, who also appeared on their radio and TV show, along with their parents, Ozzie and Harriet (Hillard, nee Peggy Louise Snyder).

At Hollywood High School, Ricky played football and also represented his school in the interscholastic tennis tournament.

By the age of 18, Ricky was already in the 93 percent income tax bracket, earning over $500,000 per year. His parents placed his income in a trust fund and allowed him only $50 for personal expenses.


Ricky’s performing career began when his father decided that he and David should play themselves on their parents’ radio program, where the boys had already been characters but voiced by other actors. Ricky often stole the show with his wisecracks and charm, appearing in 432 episodes of the series.

In the meantime he became a pop singer, introducing songs on the show (including his first #1 single, “Poor Little Fool”), and became the first TV personality to do so. From 1957 to 1962 he had thirty Top 40 hits, more than any other vocalist except Elvis (who had fifty-three) and Pat Boone (who had thirty-eight).

By 1960 his fan club had nine thousand chapters, and his career further expanded into feature films, including the 1959 Howard Hawks western classic Rio Bravo with John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Walter Brennan.

Musically, he reached the Top 40 one last time with 1972’s “Garden Party,” and made periodic guest-star appearances on TV shows like The Streets of San Francisco (which featured fellow male icon and future big-screen legend Michael Douglas, son of Kirk).

On Saturday Night Live in 1979, Ricky spoofed his sitcom image, finding himself Twilight Zone–style among characters from vintage sitcoms such as I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, and Leave It to Beaver (a concept that was later utilized to some extent for the 1998 motion picture Pleasantville).

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Major Works

Ricky Nelson is best known for his debut solo album “Ricky”, released in November 1957. The album, which featured mostly pop-rock music, became a huge success, reaching #1 on the US album charts. It has since been re-released on iTunes.


In 1987, Ricky Nelson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1515 Vine Street, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music.

Ricky won the Grammy Award for “Best Spoken Word Album” in 1987 for “Interviews from the Class of ’55 Recording Sessions.”

In 2013, he was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in recognition of his contribution to the music industry.

Personal Life & Wife

Ricky, who died in a tragic small plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1985, was married to Sharon Kristin Harmon (older sister to Mark) from 1963 to 1982, a union that produced children Tracy, who went on to follow in her father’s acting footsteps, twins Gunnar and Matthew (who formed the musical band called “Nelson”), and Sam.

He also had another son, Eric, by girlfriend Georgeann Crew.

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Death & Legacy

On December 31, 1985, the small plane he was flying in on his way to a New Year’s Eve gig in Dallas, Texas, ran into trouble. He and his band crash-landed two miles from De Kalb, Texas. The severely burned pilots survived by escaping through cockpit windows, but all seven other occupants, including Ricky, did not.

He was posthumously inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987) and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (2004), and was ranked #91 on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In “Ricky the Dreamer,” a classic episode of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet that first aired April 10, 1957, the TV-Ricky once told his TV-mother, “I think teenagers like to feel that they’re just people with normal, average reactions, and rhythm and blues records usually tell a story or express an emotion.”

However, Ricky might just as well have been speaking to his mom in real life, as the emotional loss expressed by the family, friends, and millions of fans who were devastated by his demise decades later remains immeasurable.

Ricky Nelson Quotes

To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again.

Ricky Nelson


Today’s teardrops are tomorrow’s rainbows.

Ricky Nelson


You can’t please everyone so you gotta please yourself.

Ricky Nelson


In the town of broken dreams the streets are filled with regret, maybe down in lonesome town I can learn to forget.

Ricky Nelson


She’d play around and tease me with her carefree devil eyes. She’d hold me close and kiss me, but her heart was full of lies.

Ricky Nelson


Yoko brought the walrus, there was magic in the air.

Ricky Nelson


If memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck.

Ricky Nelson


Pretty Polynesian baby over the sea, I remember the night, when we walked in the sands of Waikiki and I held you oh so tight.

Ricky Nelson

View our larger collection of the best Ricky Nelson quotes.

Further Reading

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