Humorous and famous, Rodney Dangerfield was a stand-up comedian and actor who made the phrase “I get no respect” popular across America. Blessed with an infectious charisma, Rodney had an uncanny, inert ability to put the people around him at ease.

Rodney Dangerfield was born in Babylon, New York on November 22, 1921. He was the younger of two children and his birth name was Jacob Cohen. He was raised in a Jewish family. His father, Phillip Cohen, was called Phil Roy and he was part of a comedic juggling act at the vaudeville concert and was barely home.

His father then abandoned the family and his mother, Dorothy Teitelbaum moved him and his sister to Queens, New York. It was at Richmond Hill High School that he attended high school, where he graduated in 1939. Life was not easy, and to help the family, he had to sell ice cream and make the grocery store. When confronted with anti-Semitic slurs from teachers and peers, he turned to jokes to deal with his situation.

When he turned 17, he started playing in variousnightclubs. He had taken the stage name Jack Roy which would later become his legal name at the age of 19 and would perform full time. Over the next two years and despite several gigs, including one at an upstate New York resort, and other side jobs, he struggled financially while earning $300 a week.

Dangerfield left show business in 1951 after meeting singer Joyce Indig. The couple got married and moved to New Jersey together. Their time together was blessed with two children, Brian and Melanie. Dangerfield prioritized his family needs and became an aluminum salesman. His time away from acting was tumultuous, to say the least, he suffered from depression and his marriage suffered from so much bickering. It deteriorated until the divorce in 1962. The couple, however, gave the relationship another chance by remarrying in 1963, but after seven years of struggle, the marriage ended for good in 1970.

By the time he returned to acting, he feared rejection and subsequently changed his name to Rodney Dangerfield taken from Jack Benny. During this time, he also realized he needed an on-stage persona that his audience could interact with. The slogan “I get no respect” was then coined. What many consider his big break came during his performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the early 1970s.

Soon he had other performances on TheDean Martin Show and the Tonight Show. He opened his own comedy club, Dangerfield’s in Manhattan and it allowed him to be closer to his children. The club also gave him a platform to nurture upcoming gigs. Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld were some of the beneficiaries.

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Rodney Dangerfield’s wife and children

As previously reported, Dangerfield was first married to Joyce Indig and blessed with two children. The couple divorced twice, finally in 1970. Son Brian Roy was born in 1949 and daughter Melanie Roy-Friedman. Dangerfield remarried in 1993 to Joan Child. The couple remained together until his death.

Joan met Rodney when he walked into her flower shop in Santa Monica in the early 1980s and they remained close until their marriage in 1993. She is the guardian of Rodney Dangerfield’s entire legion of intellectual labor and still works hard to keep his legacy alive. Dangerfield was raised Jewish but was never truly religious and even declared himself an atheist, a “logical” atheist.

Net value

Rodney Dangerfield only began to be associated in the comedy circle when he was 40 years old. Aside from his comedy gig, he has also had an acting career. His first was The Projectionist in 1971. He won roles in other films like Back to School and Easy Money. When you look through all of his accomplishments in life, you would expect him to have earned a pretty healthy salary package and he certainly did. His net worth is estimated at $10 million.

Is he still alive or dead?

Sadly, the comedy legend is no longer present in the body even though his works endure. He died on October 5, 2004, after developing complications from heart valve replacement surgery.