How much is Jeff Dunham worth? Net Worth, Wife, Divorce

Jeff Dunham is a famous American ventriloquist, known worldwide for his puppet “Achmed, the dead terrorist”. He is also a stand-up actor and comedian, who has made numerous guest appearances and appeared in four specials on Comedy Central, one of which went quadruple platinum in its first two weeks on the air. selling over 400,000 copies!

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He was born on April 18, 1962, in Dallas, Texas, USA, but was soon adopted by real estate agent Howard Dunham when he was just three months old. Howard and his wife, Joyce, were devout Presbyterians and he was raised the same way.

Dunham’s interest in ventriloquism was sparked when he received a ‘Mortimer Snerd’ dummy as a Christmas present when he was just eight years old.

Posted by Jeff Dunham on Thursday, December 31, 2020

He then went to the library looking for a “how to” book on ventriloquism, which he never returned; Dunham would later joke about it in 2011, saying he was “a third-grade thief.” By the time he was in sixth grade, he had already begun attending an annual international meeting of ventriloquists, the Vent Haven Convention in Kentucky, where he had the chance to personally meet Jimmy Nelson. He was soon barred from participating in further competitions at the convention, as the other attendees were intimidated by him, and so he was declared a “retired champion”.

The loneliness he experienced as an only child was compensated by his long hours of practice, usually in front of a mirror. It also prepared him for his move to Los Angeles to start his career.

Dunham had been performing for his church, school and workplace at Six Flags since he was a teenager. He then went to events that local celebrities like Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach attended. He made his television debut in 1976, after being interviewed by Dallas reporter Bill O’reily for a local report. This small but impactful exhibit earned him business deals with Tyler and also Datsun while still in high school. Dunham enrolled in 1980, then attended Baylor University the same year with the goal of earning a degree in communications.

His performances during his student year did not stop, instead he did over 100 shows in a year, flying around the country and entertaining various corporate audiences as well.

His act caught on quickly, and by his freshman year in college, Dunham was already earning around $70,000 a year. He got his first big break when he was asked to fill in for a variety number on the Broadway show “Sugar Babies.”

After graduating in 1986, he continued to entertain at comedy clubs and also developed new characters for his act: Peanut and Jose Jalapeno. Although he was gaining popularity with the public, he was not considered a true comedian by his colleagues due to his use of costumes and props. After suffering a series of setbacks, Dunham returned from Texas to Los Angeles in 1988, much to the dismay of his parents who feared he had no “real job”. He later met and became friends with Comedy & Magic Club owner Mike Lacey, who gave him an internship at the club, where he worked alongside Jerry Seinfied and Bill Engvall.

He was able to upgrade his act to more sophisticated but somewhat adult level content.

About two years later, Dunham landed a coveted spot on “The Tonight Show.” He made his first appearance on the show with Peanut, one of his props, on April 6, 1990. He continued to perform in clubs and also appeared in small television roles such as the 1996 episode of “Ellen” and an ad for Hertz. He made a total of four appearances on “The Tonight Show,” which propelled him to headlining a major theater, an impressive achievement for a ventriloquist. He made his first solo appearance on Comedy Central on July 18, 2003; the half-hour act, while successful, was not continued as the organizers did not feel it was suitable for their audience. In 2005, he released his first comedy DVD, “Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself” and also appeared in the feature film “Delta Farce” in 2007.

Jeff Dunham

The same year, Dunham released his highly successful second special, “Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity”, which was filmed in Washington D.C. when his most popular character Achmed the Dead Terrorist was introduced. It garnered over 140 million views on YouTube and became the most viewed music video in October 2009, marking the start of Dunham’s explosive career. He became sought after and his career eventually crossed borders into countries around the world. Her third special was highly successful and became Comedy Central’s highest rated.

Dunham signed a multi-platform deal with Comedy Central and later released his fourth, fifth, and sixth specials which were all highly successful. In addition to his comedy specials, he released a music album, “Don’t Come Home for Christmas” featuring a parody of Jingle bells by Achmed titled “Jingle Bombs”.

He also appeared in several sitcoms and comedy series, such as “30 Rock, Disney”, “Channel” and “Hart to Hart”.

He started dating Paige Brown, his future first wife in 1992 and married her two years later. He adopted his daughter Bree and the couple went on to have two daughters, Ashlyn and Kenna, in 1995 and 1997 respectively. In November 2008, the couple filed for divorce amid rumors that his prolonged absence from home on tour could have harmed the marriage – the divorce was finalized in 2011. He then met his future second wife, Audrey Murdick, a certified bodybuilder. and nutritionist in 2009. She was assigned to him as his personal bodybuilder, and the two later became attached to each other, fell in love, and married in October 2012. Jeff Dunham’s family has become expanded with the birth of twin sons, James Jeffrey and Jack. Steven, October 11, 2015, born two hours apart.

A controversy arose when Audrey Dunham, formerly Audrey Murdick, sued Paige Dunham for registering certain domains in her name. The lawsuit stated that “the defendant knew at the time it registered the domains of the defendant, that the plaintiff would soon change her name to Audrey Dunham”. She was represented by attorney Wilmore Holbrow, and the demands attached to the lawsuit included a restriction on hacking and seeking damages of approximately $100,000 for each domain name.

Dunham has been dubbed “America’s Favorite Comedian” according to Slate, and holds a Guinness World Record for selling the most comedy tour tickets, in 2014. His “Spark of Insanity” comedy tour sold nearly two million tickets and has performed all over the world. from September 2007 to August 2010.

His timing and unique style were praised by the Dallas Morning News, and he was also voted Best Comedian on Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Showdown.” He was nominated as “Comedian of the Year” by the TNN Music City News Country Awards and won “Ventriloquist of the Year” twice.

Although Dunham has received many positive reviews for her work, her adult rated content has also raised some eyebrows and led to accusations of sexism, homophobia and racism. One of his television commercials involving Ahmad the Dead Terrorist was banned in South Africa, due to complaints from the Muslim community. In Dunham’s defense he said “Achmed makes it clear in my deed that he is not a Muslim”. He was also repeatedly criticized for mocking Comedy Central programming chief Lauren Correo and other television critics during his 2009 tour to promote his show “The Jeff Dunham Show.” The show initially received good reviews, but was not the critics’ favorite.

His book “Dear Walter” was released in 2003 under BRASMA Publications, then his autobiography, “All by My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed and Me” was published in 2010.

Dunham loves building and flying his kit helicopters. He is also passionate about collections such as muscle cars, Apple products and the restoration of ventriloquist mannequins.

Thanks to social media platforms like YouTube, Dunham enjoyed a successful career as a ventriloquist. With a net worth of $140 million, he is considered one of the highest paid comedians in the world. His videos which include his most popular characters like Peanut, Achmed, the Dead Terrorist and Walter the curmudgeon have been viewed over 500 million times, with Achmed drawing 150 million views.

Pollstar called it North America’s highest-grossing stand-up, having sold over four million DVDs and earned around $7 million. In 2009, he was ranked the third highest paid comedian in the United States by Forbes, with Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock ahead of him. It also grossed around $30 million between June 2008 and June 2009, making it one of the highest-grossing comics of that time period. Dunham is rumored to earn between $15 million and $30 million a year from his more than 200 shows.

You can join his more than 800,000 followers on Instagram and two million on Twitter by visiting his handle @jeffdunham.

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