What is Larry David’s net worth?
Larry David is an American comedian, writer, actor, director and television producer who has a net worth of $450 million. Larry David earned his fortune as the co-creator of “Seinfeld,” and the creator/star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Through these two shows, Larry has been producing a successful comedy show on a major network every year continuously since 1989.
Larry earned the majority of his net worth thanks to his ownership stake in the backend syndication royalties generated by “Seinfeld.” By the time the show was sold into syndication, Larry and co-creator Jerry Seinfeld each owned 15% of the show’s backend equity. Much more on this later in the article.
If you are wondering why Jerry Seinfeld is so much richer than Larry David, it should be noted that Larry lost a large portion of his net worth in his 2007 divorce from ex-wife Laurie David. As he has confirmed in interviews, Larry gave Laurie half of his net worth at the time, roughly $200-300 million, in addition to a cut of future revenue generated by “Seinfeld” syndication royalties.
Lawrence Gene David was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 2, 1947, to Rose and Mortimer “Monty” David. He has an older brother named Ken. His family is Jewish. Larry attended Sheepshead Bay High School then the University of Maryland.
While in college, he was a member of the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity. In college, he realized he made people laugh just by being himself. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. After college, David enlisted in the United States Army Reserve and held various odd jobs including working as a store clerk and a limo driver, while also practicing his stand-up at night.
Larry began his comedy career working as a stand-up comic in the late 1970s. While living in Manhattan Plaza, a subsidized housing project just north of the theater district that primarily housed performers and artists, he became acquainted with Kenny Kramer, a stand-up comedian who lived across the hall. His association with Kenny Kramer would become very important in the future.
Fridays & Saturday Night Live
At some point he began to shift his focus from performing to writing. In 1980 he was hired to work on an ABC series called, “Fridays”. The show was similar in format to “Saturday Night Live”, and ran until 1982. He was also a cast member, along with fellow up-and-coming comedian, Michael Richards. Their association would become important later, as well.
In 1984, he was hired to write for “Saturday Night Live. This would prove to not be a good fit and he lasted just one season on the show. Larry famously only got one of his sketches on the air while at “SNL,” which aired at 12:50 AM, the last time slot on the show. At one point Larry resigned out of frustration midway through the season. He actually returned to the studio as if nothing had happened a few days after resigning. This would later be used as a plot device on “Seinfeld.” During his time writing for SNL, one of the cast-members was Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Creation of Seinfeld
In 1989 Larry teamed up with Jerry Seinfeld to create a pilot for NBC which was originally titled “The Seinfeld Chronicles.” The series became known as “Seinfeld”, and was loosely based on Larry David’s own life and experiences, as well as the people around him. Kenny Kramer, his neighbor at Manhattan Plaza, became Cosmo Kramer, played by his friend from the cast of “Fridays” – Michael Richards. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from his “SNL” days, joined the cast as Elaine Benes. He based the character George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, on himself.
Larry was the co-creator and executive producer of “Seinfeld.” The show was on the air from 1989 to 1998 with 180 episodes. Larry wrote 62 episodes of “Seinfeld,” including the iconic episode “The Contest.” David’s work on the show won him two Primetime Emmy Awards in 1993, for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series for “The Contest.” Seinfeld is one of the most successful shows in television history, reaching the top of “TV Guide’s” list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time. “Entertainment Weekly” ranked it the third-best TV show of all time.
Creation of Curb Your Enthusiasm
began scripting “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for HBO in 1999. The show was meant to be a one-off special, but it proved so popular that it was turned into a series, and it’s still running. As with “Seinfeld”, he has brought in actors from his past, including Michael McKean from “SNL”, and all of the cast of “Seinfeld”. With “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, rather than working with a tight script, he, or one of the staff writers that were hired after Season 5, write a loose outline, and everyone involved in the episode improvises. He stars on the series, playing a variation of himself, and like “Seinfeld”, the show is an exploration of his personal experiences. The majority of the series focuses on all of the social and emotional issues he faced after the run away success of “Seinfeld”.
In addition to his work on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, he has also written two films, “Sour Grapes” and “Clear History”. He has also continued to perform off and on, including roles in “New York Stories”, “Whatever Works”, “The Three Stooges”, and “Clear History”.
Larry David “Seinfeld” Syndication Earnings
As you might assume, Larry earned the vast majority of his net worth thanks to his association with the massively successful “Seinfeld.” From the outset of the show, Larry and Jerry each owned 7.5% of the show’s backend equity points. At the peak of the show’s success in the mid-1990s, the duo negotiated a deal with NBC that boosted their points to 15% apiece. Part of that boost also came from Larry and Jerry buying out an equity owner who was looking to cash out. The show was first syndicated in 1998. That first deal generated $1.7 billion in revenue, giving Larry and Jerry each a $250 million windfall. In an average year, he makes $40-50 million between syndication, DVD sales, merchandise, and other platform royalties. In some years that number can be much higher. In 2015 Larry earned a total of $80 million after Hulu paid $180 million to acquire Seinfeld‘s streaming rights, giving both Larry and Jerry an extra $30 million. In the last two decades, Seinfeld has generated well over $4 billion in syndication revenue, roughly $17 million per episode. As of this writing, Jerry and Larry have both earned at least $800 million from “Seinfeld” between salary, DVD, merchandise, and syndication deals.
When “Seinfeld” sold to Netflix for $500 million in September 2019, both Larry and Jerry earned $75 million.
On March 31, 1993, David married Laurie Lennard. They have two daughters, Cazzie Laurel David (born May 10, 1994) and Romy March (born March 2, 1996). Laurie met Larry while she was working as a talent coordinator on “Late Night with David Letterman.” The character of “Cheryl” on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which is played by Cheryl Hines, is loosely based on Laurie David. Laurie is an environmental activist and film producer. She won an Oscar for producing the 2006 Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Laurie David filed for divorce on July 13, 2007, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking joint custody of the couple’s two daughters.
Larry was introduced to comedy producer Ashley Underwood at a birthday party for Sacha Baron Cohen. They married in 2020.
In the summer of 2017, PBS’s “Finding Your Roots” discovered through genealogical research that David and Bernie Sanders are distantly related. The comedian explained that Sanders is “a third cousin or something.” This was quite a coincidence considering that Since 2015, David made multiple guest appearances portraying Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live.”
In November 2022, Larry David and other spokespeople were sued in a class-action lawsuit for their roles in endorsing cryptocurrency exchange FTX Trading Unlimited. The commercial aired during Super Bowl LVI, and in February 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Securities Act of 1933 extends to targeted solicitation using social media.
Laurie David Divorce Settlement
Unfortunately, Larry’s net worth took a pretty large hit after his divorce from ex-wife Laurie in 2007. Larry reportedly paid Laurie 50% of his net worth at the time. That resulted in a $200-300 million settlement that includes future syndication income from both “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
In 2022 Larry appeared in what is now considered an infamous Super Bowl commercial for the fraudulent crypto company FTX. In lawsuits it was later revealed that Larry was paid $10 million to appear in the commercial. That $10 million fee for Larry was on top of the $25 million FTX paid to produce the commercial. The commercial featured a subtle cameo from Sam Bankman-Fried’s father Joseph Bankman, who was apparently a huge Larry David fan.
In 2014, Larry David sold a home in LA’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood for $12 million. The home has seven bedrooms and 10 baths, with a master bedroom that includes a deck overlooking the ocean, a grassy backyard, and a pool. The property features a large guest house, multiple fireplaces, living room, family room, and dining room. He continues to own a home in the same area that he purchased around 2006 for $10.35 million. He owns at least two other homes in the Palisades.
In February 2022 Larry paid $5.7 million for a home in Montecito, California. For some reason he sold this home less than a year later for $6.9 million. Here’s a video tour of this home from September 2021:
In September 2022 Larry closed on a new Montecito mansion, this one setting him back $7.6 million.
In 2004 he bought a modest, but beautiful property on Martha’s Vineyard.