Milton Berle Net Worth – Celebrity Net Worth

What was Milton Berle’s Net Worth?

Milton Berle Net Worth – Milton Berle fans are always asking me about Milton Berle Net Worth. So I thought I would write a blog post for all of you to get the facts on what he was worth at the time of his death. The truth is that most people don’t know how much money Milton had when he passed away, but there are some clues that can help us figure it out.

For example, many people point to a lifelong habit of gambling as one of the reasons why Milton’s net worth decreased in later life. It also didn’t help that he was married four times during his life and each marriage made him poorer than before! Let’s take a look at why this could be true:

1) Gambling:

According to Milton Berle Fan Club president Ken Gude, Milton wrote that he had lost $500,000 at the casinos in two days. That is a LOT of money to lose in just two days!

According to Wikipedia … ” According to William Lobenstein, who worked for Berle as an assistant producer on some television specials during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Berle would bet “unbelievable sums of money” on horse races. Lobenstein said that Berle would stay up all night going over the racing forms and making his bets, sometimes betting hundreds of thousands of dollars (in the 1960s) in one race.”

So if Milton had a habit like this throughout his life, it would have been very hard for him to hold onto his money.

2) Unsuccessful Marriages:

Like most men of wealth from his generation, marrying a younger woman was the thing to do. In 1952 he married a gal named Ruth Cosgrove and she was just 22 years old when they wed! While that didn’t seem to bother Milton, it seemed to have a terrible effect on his bank account. In fact, rumor has it that Berle gave Ruth Cosgrove half of everything he owned when they divorced in 1959. Later, the next Mrs. Berle was actress Joyce Jameson who had been a dancer with Milton’s brother Phil on Broadway. But she was almost half his age when they wed in 1963, so it’s easy to see how their marriage might have cost him money too.

Finally came the lovely Louisa Horton who was also younger than Berle. She became Mrs. Milton Berle in 1967 and they stayed together until he died. Was she just after his money? It seems like a possibility. Whatever the case, it’s clear that his marriages cost him money and eventually left him with very little to his name when he passed away in 2002 at the age of 93.

3) Inflation:

While Milton Berle was clearly a brilliant comedian in his day, would he have been as successful if he were starting out today? It’s doubtful. That’s because we live in a world of crazy television and the internet which has really changed everything! To give you an idea, Milton Berle is most famous for hosting “The Texaco Star Theater” on NBC radio from 1948 to 1949 and then on TV from 1948 to 1956. He also hosted “The Milton Berle Show” on NBC from 1956 to 1962 and “The Buick Circus Hour” in 1963.

According to Wikipedia … “… Today some critics see Berle’s unapologetic style as a forerunner of today’s more risqué comedians such as Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor.”

Well, if that type of comedy was common and acceptable back then, we now live in a world where comedians like Howard Stern and anyone with an HBO special use far more offensive humor than Milton Berle ever did. And that’s the reason why I think it’s likely that Milton Berle would not be as successful today as he was back in his day. After all, if you have a different sense of humor now than you did back in 1948, it’s possible that he just might seem a little tame to your taste.

So what does this all mean?

It simply means that Milton Berle had some habits during his life which definitely cost him money and eventually made him very poor by the time he passed away. But let’s be clear: we’re not saying that Milton was broke and destitute when he died. He still had a couple million dollars to his name and thus could easily afford all of the necessary amenities throughout his life.

However, given what we know about him blowing through $500,000 in two days at the casino and giving away half of everything he owned to his ex-wives, it’s easy to see how he could have lost a lot of money over the years. So do you think Milton Berle was rich or poor when he died? Please leave us a comment below!

Early Life

Milton Berle, born Mendel Berlinger in 1908, was an American comedian and actor. He had three older brothers – Phil, Frank, and Jack. When he was five years old he won the children’s Charlie Chaplin contest in 1913. He also started working as a child model and appeared in silent films at 16 when he enrolled in Professional Children’s School. At 16 years old Milton decided to start going by Milton Berle as his professional stage name. His father worked as a paint salesman while his mother was a homemaker who raised him with their other three sons; Phil became programming executive for NBC while Frank and Jack later became production staff on his television show.

Berle attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. He then started attending City College of New York where he took up a course in business administration. He also studied electrical engineering at Columbia University but eventually dropped out when he found a job in vaudeville, which he kept for 2 years.

Career Highlights

Milton Berle’s career is marked by his many firsts and accomplishments:

-First-person to appear on a television broadcast. The date was August 28, 1941, and the location was Madison Square Garden. Berle had been hired by NBC for this special event to make an appearance at the opening of the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows (Queens), New York. He was also the first to host a television show, The Texaco Star Theater in 1948. This show aired on NBC and ran for 11 years until it ended in 1956.

Berle’s claim to fame was said to be his over-sized ego; he once said about himself “I’m the highest paid man on earth. I’m the only man who turned down a million dollars for a product I put my name on.” Berle was also responsible for turning television into what it is today.

Milton Berle had quite the love life. He had six marriages – one of which ended in divorce while another ended when his wife committed suicide. Berle had an affair with actress Mary Livingstone, who was married to his friend and stage partner, Sam “Moose” Laws. It is believed that he fathered comedian Richard Dawson with another woman in 1948 or 1949 during a long-running affair in Hollywood in the early 1940s.


Following his success so far, Berle was hired by producer Jack White to star in the theatrical featurette “Poppin’ the Cork,” a musical comedy about the repeal of Prohibition. He also helped write the score for the film, as he was also beginning to display an interest in songwriting. He wrote a B-side track for Spike Jones called “Leave the Dishes in the Sink, Ma” and also wrote the title song for the film “Lil’ Abner” in 1940.

He also had begun appearing on “The Rudy Vallee Hour,” a popular radio program from 1934 to 1936. He also was a regular on “The Gillette Original Community Sing” and began hosting “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One” in 1939. He decided to expand his radio career in 1940, reducing various in-person appearances at night clubs, in order to start the radio show “Three Ring Time.” He also hosted the audience participation show “Let Yourself Go” between 1944 and 1945. In 1947, he began hosting “The Milton Berle Show” which featured a number of other popular stars at the time and aired until mid-April 1948.

While he had been focusing on his radio career for much of the 1940s, Berle then began focusing more on television in 1948 when he revived parts of his old vaudeville act for “Texaco Star Theatre” in June. The show premiered on NBC Television Network and while Berle was not originally the permanent host, he became the regular host beginning in the fall after several months of successful spots as a rotating host. The show became a massive hit and Berle and the show won several Emmy Awards after the first. It catapulted Berle into superstardom and earned him the nickname “Mr. Television.” He also became known as “Uncle Miltie” for members of his audience after he once ended a broadcast of the show with the advice, “Listen to you Uncle Miltie and go to bed.”

milton berle net worth
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In 1951, considering the massive success of his show, NBC signed him to an exclusive unprecedented 30-year television contract. However, in 1953, the main sponsor of the show – Texaco – pulled out and was replaced by Buick. The show’s format also changed and ratings began to fall, leading to Buick’s pull out after only two seasons. The final season of the show occurred under the name “Milton Berle Show” from 1955 to 1956.

Following the decline of his television career, Berle began appearing frequently in Las Vegas hotels, clubs, and casinos. He also made a number of film appearances throughout the mid-1950s and into the 1960s. He was acclaimed for several of his dramatic acting performances and received an Emmy nomination for his role on “The Dick Powell Show.” He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Throughout the latter years of his career, Berle appeared on various shows like “Saturday Night Live” and often would appear at awards shows to present awards. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1984.

Milton Berle’s Famous “Asset”

Legend has it that Milton Berle had an exceptionally large penis. The comedian Alan Zweibel once encountered Milton on stage backstage at “Saturday Night Live” and said he’d written numerous humorous quips about Milton’s character throughout his time as a comedian. In reply, Milton offered to show him the merchandise. Alana was willing to accept and later described the item as “anaconda… The size was massive. It was similar to the size of a pepperoni.”

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