David Letterman Net Worth: Career & Lifestyle

David Letterman
David Letterman (Source: Wallpaper Cave)

One of the most recognized talk show hosts in the history of talk shows, David Letterman’s net worth is a staggering $400 million.

He is an American TV host, writer, producer, and comedian.

David Letterman is perhaps the biggest inspiration to his successors Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert and other up-and-coming late show hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers.

David Letterman
David Letterman (Source: NPR)

Dave hosted a staggering 6,080 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, enough to make him the longest-serving TV host in American television history.

With that, he surpassed even his mentor and friend, the legendary Johnny Carson.

Moreover, in 1996, TV Guide ranked Letterman in 45th spot on their list of 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.

Similarly, it listed The Late Show With David Letterman at 7th position on its 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002.

David Letterman | Quick Facts

Birth Name David Michael Letterman
Known As David Letterman
Nickname Dave, The Big Man, Earl Hofert
Birth Date April 12, 1947
Birth Place Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Residency Los Angeles, California, United States
Age 75 Years Old
Nationality American
Ethnicity White-American
Gender Male
Horoscope Aries
Religion Presbyterian
Father’s Name Harry Joe Letterman
Mother’s Name Dorothy Letterman
Marital Status Married
Wife Regina Lasko (m. 2009-Present)

Michelle Cook (m. 1968–1978)

Ex-Girlfriend Merrill Markoe (1978-1988), Holly Hester, Stephanie Birkitt, Terri Garr, Bonnie Hunt
Children Harry Joseph Letterman
Siblings Gretchen Letterman (Younger Sister), Janice Letterman (Older Sister),
Height 6 ft. 2 inch/188 cm/1.88 m
Weight 78 kg/172 lbs.
Build Slim
Eye Color Blue
Hair Color Former- Dark Brown

Current- Grey

Distinctive Features The gap between front teeth, tall, currently has a long grey facial hair
Education Ball State University, Broad Ripple High School
Profession Television Host, Comedian, Writer, and Producer
Manager Creative Artists Agency
Endorsements Google, AT&T, Super Bowl
Social Media InstagramTwitter
First Film Cabin Boy (1994)
First TV Show The Gong Show (1976)
Merch Signed GQ, Signed People, Signed Autographed Custom Mini Poster CBS Late Night Show, Signed Photo
Net Worth $400 Million
Last Update May 2022

David Letterman | Net Worth & Income

An American comedian and legendary former talk show host, Mr. David Letterman’s net worth is a whopping $400 million May 2022.

Letterman has earned a significant fortune from his successful career as a talk show host, in addition to his standup routine, brand endorsements, and several business ventures.

In a typical year, Dave could easily rack up to $50 million even more in licensing and syndication fees, but the figure has slightly dropped off in recent years.

David Letterman and Former President Barak Obama on Show (Source: BBC)

Before signing a life-altering deal with CBS, David was inked with the NBC network.

In 1980, David earned $1 million in salary.

Similarly, after signing a contract with NBC, his salary was bumped to $7 million.

In 1993, David earned a total of $31.5 million from shows profit and licensing.

Year Salary Source
2004 $40 Million
2007 $40 Million
2009 $32 Million According to New York Times Article
2013 $42 Million CBS Salary & Other Pursuits
2015 $35 Million

In 1993, David Letterman signed perhaps the richest deal in the entertainment history with CBS.

After he finished taping his show on NBC, he quietly left the network and signed a deal with the CBS network worth a staggering $42 million.

It was way back in 1993, and $42 million back then is around $120 million today after inflation adjustments.

The deal paid Letterman $14 million per year salary over three years, a double his previous salary at NBC.

Similarly, in 2013 CBS network extended Letterman’s stay on the network through 2015.

Although the figure of the extension was not revealed, given Letterman’s popularity and long history with the network, he must have earned a handsome deal.

Net Worth of David Letterman in Different Currencies

Let’s look into David Letterman’s net worth in different currencies, including the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Currency Net Worth
Euro € 367.77 Million
Pound Sterling £ 307.25 Million
Australian Dollar A$ 537.26 Million
Canadian Dollar C$ 502.67 Million
Indian Rupee ₹ 30,367,000,000
Bitcoin ฿ 9,421.95

David Letterman | Houses & Cars

Houses

David Letterman has earned a staggering fortune, and he is not afraid to splash some of it on superb real estate holdings.

Following the success of his TV shows and businesses, he began investing heavily in real estate and has become something of a real estate tycoon.

Back in 1994, he purchased a whopping 88 acres of an estate in Westchester County, New York, for $5 million.

Similarly, he purchased 20 acres for $5 million in 2007, making a total estate holding of 108 acres.

In addition to that, Letterman owns a 2,700-acre ranch near Chateau, Montana.

Moreover, he has a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and a house in St. Barth’s.

Cars

If Mr. Letterman is known for anything other than his splendid talk show hosting and flirting with his celebrity guest, it has to be his extravagant automobile collection.

His collection consists of eight Porsches, ten Ferraris, a Chevy pickup truck, four Austin-Healeys, and two Honda motorbikes.

David Letterman's Ferrari
David Letterman’s Ferrari (Source: MotorBiscuit.com)

Similarly, he also has a Mercedes-Benz, MG, Volvo, Pontiac, and Jaguar.

Some of the most expensive models in his collection include the 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO worth $2.7 million, the 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso worth $1.85 million, and the 1956 Porsche 356 1500 GS Carrera worth $855,000.

David Letterman | Lifestyle

David Letterman hosted television talk shows for 33 years in total.

His biggest influence and guru was the late Johnny Carson. In addition to Carson, he has cited Steve Allen, Garry Moore, Don Rickles, and Paul Dixon as his inspirations.

Despite the fact that he is now one of the most successful and richest TV hosts and comedians, it has not always been like this. His life has been no less than a roller coaster ride.

He has been a victim of blackmail, stalking, and struggled with substance abuse.

Dave began drinking alcohol around the age of 13 and continued until 34 in 1981. Though he no longer drinks, he has stated on more than one occasion that he had once been a horrible alcoholic.

In an interview in 1981, he said that he was drunk 80% of the time back in his drinking days.

David also suffered from anxiety at one point but became calmer through a Transcendental Meditation.

In 2011, it was reported that Letterman was targeted by Al-Qaeda and received a death threat from Islamist militants.

It was also reported that they had posted a death threat against Dave on a website, calling Muslims in America to kill him for making a joke about the death of Al-Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri.

Aside from that, a schizophrenic woman named Margaret Mary Ray stalked Letterman beginning in May 1988.

The woman went on to steal Dave’s Porsche, repeatedly broke into his house, and also camped out on his tennis court.

This might be the worst nightmare for a famous star!

However, the woman killed herself in 1998, for which Letterman said that he had great compassion for her.

Moreover, Letterman suffers from tinnitus (perception of sound when no corresponding external sound is present), a hearing loss symptom.

David Letterman | Charity

For a guy who spent the entirety of his career in front of a camera hosting TV shows, his charitable deeds are somehow concealed. Irony?

Nonetheless, there are some events media has captured over the years.

David donated more than 1,000 memorabilia items to his alma mater, Ball State University.

The memorabilia included 15 Emmy awards he won as a talk show host.

Similarly, Letterman contributes majorly to his own foundation, The Letterman Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming (LFCG), formerly known as The DL Foundation.

The primary beneficiary of the foundation is Child Advocates of Indiana, United States.

Moreover, Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana, gave David a Sagamore of the Wabash award for his distinguished service to the state of Indiana.

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David Letterman | Talk Shows, Endorsements, Investments & Books

Talk Shows

David was given his own show morning comedy show on NBC titled The David Letterman Show on June 23, 1980.

Despite being a critical success, and two Emmy Awards, it was canceled, with the last episode airing on October 24, 1980.

Nonetheless, NBC did not fire David and kept him on its payroll.

On February 1, 1982, Late Night with David Letterman premiered on NBC with Bill Murray as the first guest and David Letterman as the host.

Late Show With David Letterman
Late Show With David Letterman (Source: TV Insider)

The show immediately garnered a cult following because it was seen as edgy and unpredictable.

However, when NBC chose Jay Leno, a fellow host, as a successor for Johnny Carson over Letterman, he departed from NBC and signed the record-breaking deal with CBS.

This time the show was named Late Show With David Letterman.

David’s shows have received 67 Emmy nominations and 12 wins over the course of his first 20 years on late-night television.

Similarly, Letterman ranked higher than his adversary Jay Leno from 1993 to 2009 in the annual Harris Poll of Nation’s Favorite TV Personality.

Endorsements

Since David’s shows garnered tens of millions of people, top-tier brands always thought it was a good idea to promote their products on his show.

Dave’s humorous yet effective strategies always attracted tons of brands for advertisements on his shows.

Some of the ads that ran on his shows included Lampshade and Good Humor ice cream.

Similarly, David personally has endorsed several brands over the course of his career.

He appeared alongside Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey in a 2010 Super Bowl commercial.

Moreover, Google and AT&T are the top few companies Dave has endorsed.

Investments

Along with lucrative endorsement deals, Letterman has also invested in some successful business pursuits.

David Letterman began his production company named Worldwide Pants Incorporated in 1991. The company produced its own shows and several others.

In addition, to show production, it also produces feature films and documentaries.

The company received substantial attention when it had independently negotiated its own deal with the Writers Guild of America.

The best part of the deal was it allowed David himself, Craig Ferguson, and their writers to return to work while the union was on strike against production companies, studios, and networks.

DL Supporting His Race Team
David Letterman Supporting His Race Team (Source: BMW Motorsport)

Similarly, Letterman founded Clear Entertainment, a record label under Worldwide Pants Incorporated.

Moreover, Letterman co-owns an auto racing team called Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The team competes in the NTT IndyCar series and WeatherTech SportsCar Championships.

Astonishingly, Letterman’s team has won the Indianapolis 500 twice.

Books

David once admitted that book royalties are a great source of passive income post-retirement.

And we bet he is enjoying royalties from some of his best-selling books.

Some of his best-selling books include An Altogether New Book of Top Ten List, Late Night with David Letterman, and This Land is Made for You and Me.

David Letterman | Career

David Letterman was born David Michael Letterman on April 12, 1974, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He was born to a father, Harry, a florist, and a mother, Dorothy Letterman, a church secretary.

He grew up along with his older and younger sisters.

Dave attended Board Ripple High School and also worked at a local supermarket as a stock boy.

In 1969, Letterman graduated from Ball State University in the Department of Television and Radio.

 in His Early Days
David Letterman in His Early Days (Source:
Entertainment Weekly)

He worked as a newscaster and announcer at Ball State’s student-run radio WBST but was fired for speaking humorously and sarcastically on the topic of classical music.

After graduation, he worked as a weatherman on an Indianapolis TV station.

Dave was encouraged by his friend to move to LA and become a comedy writer.

And with years of struggles, he eventually paved the path for himself to NBC in 1980, where he was given his first major show.

And hence the world got the legendary David Letterman!

Unknown Facts About David Letterman

  • In 2017, David Letterman inducted Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • David Letterman loved the rock band Foo Fighters. The band appeared on his final broadcast.
  • Not many people know this, but Letterman never wore the same tie twice on his shows.

FAQs

Is David Letterman on antidepressants?

David struggled with depression for years. He fueled up with low doses of drugs such as Lexapro and Paxil.

Well, it is unclear whether Mr. Letterman still consumes the antidepressants.

Is Jay Leno still friends with Letterman?

The two used to be very good friends, but with the late-night rivalry that lasted for two decades, their friendship never recovered.

Who had higher ratings, Leno or Letterman?

Jay Leno’s show routinely beat David Letterman in the ratings for the majority of the time they went head-to-head.

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