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How Ted Danson Achieved a Net Worth of $80 Million

Ted Danson

There are only a few television celebrities that have become cultural icons because of their work on screen. One of the more popular names in this category is Ted Danson. If you happen to be born in recent years and not be familiar with Ted Danson, we guarantee that you at least know what he looks like. Ted Danson has been one of television’s greatest, and he continues to create his legacy to this day. Throughout his longstanding career, Danson has amassed his net worth of $80 million. Let's take a closer look into his life, career, and how he achieved his $80 million fortune.

Early life

San Diego, California native Edward Bridge Danson III was born on December 29, 1947. Since his father was an archaeologist and museum director at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Danson spent a good amount of his childhood in Flagstaff, Arizona. When he was 14 years old, Danson enrolled in the Kent School, a Connecticut prep school. He attended Stanford University after high school, and this was where he began to become interested in drama and acting. He was interested enough to look for a place with a better acting program, and that’s when he transferred to Carnegie Mellon University. Danson received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the school in 1972.

Early career

Three years after his college graduation, Danson received his first TV role. From 1975 to 1976, he played the role of Tom Conway on the daytime soap Somerset. He followed that job with a role on another soap, and he also starred in some commercials during this time. Commercial work is always good for exposure and practice, and Danson knew well enough to take advantage of any acting opportunities—especially so early in his career. From the 70s to the 80s, Danson guest starred in popular television shows including Laverne and Shirley, Magnum P.I., and The Amazing Spider-Man among others. These guest appearances gave Danson the exposure, traction, and experience to start tackling more serious projects in the coming years.


Danson received his career breakthrough after being cast as Sam Malone for the TV sitcom Cheers in 1982. This role is Danson’s most popular to this day, and it’s what he’s mostly known for as well. During its first season, Cheers didn’t do as well as expected, but many took notice of Danson’s performance. As the years progressed, the show’s rating got better and was constantly on television’s top ten. Cheers went on for 11 seasons, going out with a bang in 1993. The show’s finale clocked in an impressive 80 million viewers—the second most watched television finale during that time. The show received acclaim, various nominations, and awards. Danson also shared in that achievement, as he had 2 Emmy wins out of 11 nominations and 2 Golden Globe wins out of 9 nominations throughout the duration of the show. It’s certainly an uncommon achievement, and it became such a solid testament to Danson’s talents as an actor. After Cheers ended, Danson reprised the role of Sam Malone in other TV shows.

Late career

Danson continued to work in television after the success of Cheers. He starred in several comedy works, but he also dabbled in drama. Danson continued to gain award nominations and win awards as well. Some of Danson’s most popular works after Cheersinclude Becker, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Gulliver’s Travel, Damages, Rescue Me, and many others. His most popular role after Cheers is from the show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He played the role of D.B. Russell from 2011 until 2015, including reprising the role in a couple of CSI spinoffs. From 2015 on, he has starred in various other television shows including Fargo, The Good Place, and Mr. Mayor. His fame and success on television continues on.


Even though Danson’s television career has been prolific and highly successful, it wasn’t his only income outlet. Danson also starred in films throughout his career. He’s probably best known for his role in the 1987 film Three Men and a Baby along with Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg. Some of Danson’s other films include The Onion Field, Loch Ness, A Fine Mess, Just Between Friends, and Saving Private Ryan.


Aside from acting on film and TV, Danson also happens to be a published author. Danson has been an environmentalist ever since he was but a child, and his passion continued on to adulthood. In 2011, he published his first book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them. The actor definitely gets some of his net worth from this venture. Interestingly enough, while many actors choose to write autobiographies, Danson chose to write about his environmental passion. It shows how much he truly loves the environment and what he's willing to do to make a difference. He has even been arrested because of protests done in support of the environment. Danson serves as board member for the nonprofit ocean conservation organization, Oceana. In the 80s, He was one of the contributing founders of another conservation organization, American Oceans Campaign, which merged with Oceana in 2011.

Personal life

Danson’s life has been as rich and imaginative as his career has been. It has certainly been full of color, and it hasn’t been without controversy. Danson has been husband, father, stepfather, adoptive father, divorcee, activist, political contributor, and so many more. He has achieved his net worth mostly from his acting career, and that net worth has seen significant distribution towards his various environmental and political pursuits. It’s incredible how Danson started his career in 1975 and is still going strong. This means we’ll probably see his net worth grow higher, but at this point it probably doesn’t really matter. The 72-year old actor has created such a legacy for himself that not many actors can try to attain. His on-screen success is the kind that young actors can look up to and emulate. He’ll forever be one Hollywood icon, and he’ll always be remembered for the incredible roles he has given life to throughout his career.

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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