In this article, we will explore the net worth of Wayne Newton, the renowned American singer, actor, and entertainer. Wayne Newton has achieved great success in his career, with a net worth estimated at $50 million. Known for his musical hits like “Danke Schoen” and “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast,” as well as his impressive Las Vegas performances, Wayne Newton has left a lasting mark in the entertainment industry. Join us as we delve into his early life, career, and personal achievements.
Early Life and Career
Wayne Newton, originally named Carson Wayne Newton, was born on April 3, 1942, in Norfolk, Virginia. His parents were Patrick Newton, an auto mechanic, and Evelyn Marie Smith. At a young age, Wayne displayed his musical talents by learning to play the piano, guitar, and steel guitar. His journey in the entertainment industry began during his childhood when his father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. While the family resided in Newark, Ohio, Wayne and his elder brother performed in clubs, fairs, and theaters under the name “Rascals in Rhythm.” In 1952, due to Wayne’s severe asthma, the family relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. There, they continued their musical pursuits and even had the opportunity to perform in front of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Rise to Stardom
Wayne Newton’s breakthrough came in the spring of 1958 when a Las Vegas booking agent discovered him during a local TV show called the “Lew King Rangers Show.” This led to five years of performing six shows a day with his brother. In 1962, Wayne made his debut as a major actor on the popular Jackie Gleason Show, and he also secured a role on the classic western TV series “Bonanza.” The following year, he signed with Capitol Records and released his first album, “Danke Schoen,” which became an instant hit, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard charts. The title track of the album became his signature song and was even featured in the soundtrack of the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
Throughout his career, Wayne Newton received support from prominent entertainment icons like Lucille Ball, Bobby Darin, and Jack Benny. Benny hired him as an opening act for his show, and Newton eventually earned a headlining act at the Flamingo Hotel. In 1972, his recording of “Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast” sold over 1 million copies. Additionally, Newton performed at the 1983 Independence Day celebration on the Washington Mall, replacing the Beach Boys and The Grass Roots. Despite receiving mixed reactions from the crowd, he maintained his connection with President Reagan, whom he supported both as a friend and a contributor to the Republican Party.
Career Highlights and Achievements
In December 1992, Wayne Newton reached #1 on the Cashbox Pop and Country charts with “The Letter.” However, it became notable as the first record to top the Cashbox chart without making it onto the Billboard Hot 100. Over the late ’80s and ’90s, Newton established himself as a solo act in the Las Vegas circuit, culminating in his 25,000th solo show at Bally’s Hotel in 1994. He signed a groundbreaking 10-year deal with the Stardust Resort and Casino, performing 40 weeks a year, six shows per week, in a showroom named after him. This arrangement, orchestrated by his business manager Jack Wishna, marked a new era in Las Vegas entertainment.
In 2005, Wayne Newton embarked on a new venture with the reality competition show “The Entertainer” on the E! Entertainment network. The winner of the show earned a spot in Wayne Newton’s act and a year of headlining their own show. Additionally, he participated in the fall season of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, partnered with two-time champion Cheryl Burke. Newton’s enduring popularity earned him a guest appearance on The Price is Right with new host Drew Carey in the same year.
Recognizing his contributions to society, Wayne Newton received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2008. This prestigious accolade honors leaders who have made significant charitable contributions to their communities. In October 2009, he commenced a show called “Once Before I Go” at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, taking a five-year hiatus afterward to spend time with his family and prepare for a future Las Vegas residency. In 2016, he made a triumphant return to the stage at Bally’s Hotel with a lounge show titled “Up Close & Personal,” combining singing with performances on his 13 self-taught instruments.
Wayne Newton’s personal life has had its share of significant events. He was previously married to Elaine Okamura from 1968 to 1985, and they have a daughter named Erin Newton, born in 1976. In 1994, he tied the knot with lawyer Kathleen McCrone, and together they have a daughter named Lauren Ashley Newton, born in 2002.
Despite his remarkable success, Wayne Newton faced financial challenges throughout his career. In 1992, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize $20 million in debts, most of which resulted from a libel lawsuit against NBC. The network had reported false information about his involvement with the Mafia in purchasing the Aladdin Hotel. Furthermore, he had to contend with a $341,000 IRS tax lien. However, he managed to recover financially by 1999. Unfortunately, in August 2005, the IRS filed a lawsuit against Newton and his wife, claiming they owed over $1.8 million in taxes and penalties. Additionally, the Oakland County Airport in Michigan asserted that Newton owed more than $60,000 in unpaid parking fees for abandoning a $2 million private plane there three years prior. Despite the fines, Newton never paid, and the plane deteriorated due to mold.
Casa de Shenandoah: A Palatial Estate
From the 1960s until 2010, Wayne Newton and his family resided in a magnificent 39-acre estate called “Casa de Shenandoah” in Paradise, Nevada. The property boasted various lavish amenities, including an 11,000 square-foot mansion, seven additional houses, a zoo housing exotic animals, an equestrian facility, and a car museum. Wayne’s extensive collection of planes, including a Learjet and a Fokker F-28 private jet, had their own terminal and runway. However, financial difficulties and a bankruptcy restructuring in 2010 led to the sale of 80% of the property to a development company for $20 million. The company intended to transform the estate into a theme park but faced opposition from local residents concerned about increased traffic.
In 2013, amidst lawsuits and bankruptcy restructurings, the development company listed the property for sale at various price points, starting at $70 million and eventually reducing it to $30 million. However, no buyers emerged. In 2019, Wayne Newton attempted to repurchase the property for $6 million but was unsuccessful. Instead, the estate was sold to Smoketree LLC for $5.56 million. Newton subsequently filed a lawsuit to reclaim personal items, artwork, and animals from the estate, as well as assert his ownership of the name “Casa Shenandoah.” Despite these legal battles, Wayne Newton and his wife purchased a new 10-acre property nearby in 2013 for $8 million.
Wayne Newton’s journey from a young performer in Virginia to a renowned entertainer in Las Vegas is a testament to his talent, resilience, and enduring popularity. With a net worth of $50 million, he has solidified his place in the music and entertainment industry while leaving an indelible mark on the city of Las Vegas.