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How Eugene Levy Achieved a Net Worth of $20 Million

Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy

This year, Netflix's “Schitt's Creek” came to an end. Over the course of 6 seasons and 80 episodes, it made new stars of some of its cast and even bigger stars of the rest. When Eugene Levy joined the show as Johnny Rose, he'd already achieved success as Jason Biggs' father in the "American Pie" franchise. But now he's even bigger and, by all accounts, even wealthier. The 74-year-old Canadian actor is now worth the mammoth sum of $20 million. How'd he make it? Sit tight, because you're about to find out.

The Early Days

Levy was born in Hamilton, Ontario on December 17, 1946. He was educated at Westdale Secondary School and McMaster University. While at McMaster, he served as the vice-president of the student film group, McMaster Film Board. Through his activities with the group, he met filmmaker Ivan Reitman. Reitman went on to cast Levy in his directorial debut, "Foxy Lady" (1971). The part was small, but it paved the way for Levy's casting in the 1972–1973 Toronto production of the musical “Godspell”. As Wikipedia notes, the musical served as the launchpad for numerous Canadian actors, including Martin Short, Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin, along with its director, Paul Shaffer. Fresh from the success of “Godspell”, Levy joined Second City Television and the Toronto sketch comedy series, “The Second City”. He served with Second City Television from 1976 to 1984, gaining a reputation for his portrayal of characters such as the fictional newsreader Earl Camembert and his first-rate impersonations of stars such as Ricardo Montalbán, Sean Connery, Perry Como, Milton Berle, Judd Hirsch, Neil Sedaka, Bud Abbott, James Caan, Ernest Borgnine, Norman Mailer, and talk show host Dr. Morton Shulman.

Increasing Fame

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Levy began to branch into film work. While the roles were typically small, his distinctive appearance and perfect comedic timing soon started to attract attention. Some of his most popular performances during this period came in comedy hits like "Splash", "Once Upon a Crime", "National Lampoon's Vacation", "Serendipity", "Father of the Bride", and "Father of the Bride II". At around this time, Levy began exploring writing opportunities. In 1996, he teamed up with Christopher Guest to create "Waiting for Guffman." As well as writing the film, he also starred as the central character of Dr. Allan Pearl. The film went down a storm (Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "Priceless" while Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide described it as "Frequently funny -- sometimes very funny indeed") and paved the way for further collaborations between Guest and Levy. Some of the duo's other work together include 2000's "Best in Show" and 2003's "A Mighty Wind".

Hitting the Big Time

Although Levy's career was doing quite nicely throughout the 80s and 90s, it was a film made in 1999 that would propel him into the major league. When "American Pie" was released in 1999, its stars were Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, and Mena Suvari. And yet it was Levy's portrayal of 'Jim's Dad' that would prove to be the runaway success of the film. When the character was originally created, Bill Murray was considered for the role. Producers eventually decided to give it to Levy instead, a decision that, as it turned out, was one of the wisest they ever made. Unhappy with the way the character had been written, Levy re-imagined the role from scratch. “I wanted the character to be a real dad. Like a real, corny dad who cares about their children," he says via the Huff Post. "I wanted to be the kind of parent that the kids didn’t want to hang with ... [the original version] was a little creepy. So, I made him more square.” In the final film, all of Levy's lines are improvised - a testament to his comedic talent and an explanation for why, of all the characters in the film, his is the only one to appear in all 4 movies in the franchise. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Levy earned $1 million for his appearance in the first installment of the franchise, $3 million for the second, and $5 million for the third.

Schitt's Creek

After American Pie propelled him into the big time, Levy went on to appear in numerous other comedy hits like "Cheaper by the Dozen 2", "Bringing Down the House", "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian", and "She's Funny That Way". In 2015, he teamed up with his son Daniel to create and write the television series "Schitt's Creek". Since its release, the show has won continued praise for its writing, humor, and acting. It became the first Canadian comedy series to be nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Series, set a new record for most Emmy wins by a comedy series in a single season, and won numerous other honors to boot. After 8 seasons, "Schitt's Creek" wrapped in April 2020. By then, it had made stars of its cast and a very rich man indeed of its writer, creator, producer, and star, Eugene Levy.

Stacking Up the Competition

“Schitt's Creek” may have made a huge star of Levy, but let's not forget, this was an ensemble cast. So, how does Levy's net worth stack up against the other cast members? Very well indeed, if has done its research right. According to the publication, the net worth of the cast breaks down as follows: Daniel Levy: “Schitt's Creek” was conceived by Eugene's son, Daniel, and developed by the pair of them. In the show, Daniel plays Johnny's son, David. The actor has previously appeared in the likes of “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, “Cyberstalker”, and “Admission”. He's the first person to ever win a Primetime Emmy Award in all four major disciplines in a single year, the former host of The Great Canadian Baking Show, and the proud holder of a $14 million net worth. Annie Murphy: Prior to joining the cast of “Schitt's Creek”, Canadian actress Annie Murphy appeared in numerous television series and films, including “The Beautiful Life: TBL” (2009), “Blue Mountain State” (2010), “Against the Wall” (2011), “Good God” (2012), “Rookie Blue” (2012) and “Beauty & the Beast” (2012). Her portrayal of Alexis Rose has won her numerous plaudits, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Her fortune is currently estimated to be around $3 million. Catherine O’Hara: Catherine O’Hara is an actress, comedian, writer, and singer who came to fame as one of the cast members of the sitcom “Coming Up Rosie” (1975–1978). She's since enjoyed success as Kate McCallister, the mother of Kevin, in the “Home Alone” franchise, as Dr. Georgina Orwell in the Netflix series “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, and as Carol Ward in “Six Feet Under”. Her current net worth is estimated to be around $8 million.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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