Despite earning millions, Jackie Gleason didn't care about money

Money couldn't buy happiness or The Honeymooners star.

Have you ever heard someone say, "I don't care about money"? Jackie Gleason said this before, and he meant it.

The Honeymooners star was worth millions, but being rich is not what gave him the drive to follow his dreams. Of course, it gave him the finer things and an upscale lifestyle, but Gleason cared about success.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, the actor talked about the connection between success, money and his life.

"I don't care about money," Gleason said. "Success is like a blue serge suit. You pick up the lint of your critics' behavior. People seem to think I should be ashamed of making $11,000,000. I'm not. I didn't rob a bank. This is America."

The massive amount he was referring to in the quote was made during a contract with CBS. The agreement was for two years and included projects like The Honeymooners. When the journalist, Sheilah Graham, asked, "Are you happy?" the actor replied, "It doesn't make me sad. But there are some burrs in success."

He added, "It isn't a matter of how success handles you. And the secret of long life in show business is to know how to lay an egg gracefully. And never press — for a laugh or to get money. The only way to make money is to cheat and not to cheat."

In the article, the journalist admitted that she was confused by Gleason's statement, so she continued the interview by asking him about his then-upcoming projects.

"I'll be filming 78 shows — 'The Honeymooners.' And I'll film them in New York, not Hollywood," he said. Since he was making more money, it meant there was a lot of work to be done. Yet, the $11,000,000 deal was a big increase from the $250 a week film contract he got at the beginning of his career.

It's safe to say that Gleason was grateful to be able to do what he loved, and the millions were just a bonus.

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MadMadMadWorld 15 months ago
By himself, he had more talent in his two hands alone than almost all the so-called "greats" combined in Hollyweird today! Jackie and Art Carney duo, destroy all of Hollyweird in talent and decent character, no matter who they are now. There are so few truly great people active (not counting retired, ex, Carol Burnett, now 89; will be 90 on Apr. 26; Bob Newhart, now 93), today in tv-film business!
They didn't call Gleason "The Great One" for nothing!
LoveMETV22 MadMadMadWorld 15 months ago
There are so few truly great people.
Mustn't forget Dick Van Dyke, now 97; will be 98 on Dec 13.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 15 months ago
And Kudos for as active as they still remain (MeTV Ambassadors). Respectful of all their former associates, positive thinking, and gracious to the core. More should be celebrated about them in the moment; rather that deferring an over-abundance of tribute afterwards. Thankfully MeTV is keeping their talent front and center in the eyes of generations of viewers, as we enjoy the TCBS and DVD Show repeatedly. Thank you.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 15 months ago
And Kudos for as active as they still remain
I'm still curious (unless I missed something), why an article wasn't written or posted for
Norman Lear when he crossed the 100 yr old threshold last year?
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 15 months ago


Good point! They wrote one about Sherwood Schwartz, didn't they? Certainly, many of the MASH behind-the-scenes contributors! Not that I'm here to save the day (I think there's a cartoon theme song to that effect, LOL). But I'll send in a suggestion to Contact Us, that it would make a good story. I love what goes on behind the scenes!!
Runeshaper 15 months ago
Jackie Gleason was a super-talented man 👍👍
Bapa1 15 months ago
Back in the 60's, when he was filming The Jackie Gleason Show in Miami Beach, he either owned or sold his name to a chain of restaurants down here. They didn't last long. Also some museum down here sometime ago did an exhibition of his UFO and Paranormal collection that he had. No alien bodies though.
cperrynaples Bapa1 15 months ago
Yep, he even talked to President Nixon about aliens! Sheila Macrae even said Jackie showed her a bottom of ectoplasm! Maybe he should have been in Ghostbusters...LOL!
cperrynaples Bapa1 15 months ago
PS Of course if he saw a ghost, he would have "Hamanaed" his way out...LOL!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 15 months ago
Can't believe I wrote bottom when I meant to say bottle! Perhaps knowing Reginald Van Gleason I had a Freudian slip...LOL!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 15 months ago
Can't believe I wrote bottom when I meant to say bottle!
We all make mistakes. Even the MeTV writers. Don't need to give it a fancy name or drag Freud into it....LOL!
BuzzFranklin 15 months ago
I love "The Honeymooners"! However, Dish Network removed METV from its channel lineup. So can't watch Honeymooners, Svengoolie, Twilight Zone, anything! Help!!!
MikeSR78 BuzzFranklin 15 months ago
u can check out Philo tv or frndly tv; both streaming services have MeTV
cperrynaples MikeSR78 15 months ago
Yes, a lot of good stuff on Frndly!
LoveMETV22 BuzzFranklin 15 months ago
Dish Network removed METV from its channel lineup.
In some locales, aside from (Cable/Satellite), MeTV can be received OTA( Over the Air). Yes it may be pain to switch your television back and forth from (cab/sat) to antenna, but just another option. FrndlyTV is probably the cheapest though if one doesn't want to go that route. It is also carried on other Cable Systems, however most folks probably don't want to switch providers for one-channel. so there are other choices.
Andybandit 15 months ago
Wow that is amazing. That he didn't care about the money.
MadMadMadWorld Andybandit 15 months ago
He could say that because growing up extremely poor (b. Feb. 26, 1916) with his dad running out on his family at only 9 (never saw his dad again!), his mom died in 1935 (him at only 19) and in the Great Depression years as a teen-young adult, he made his way to a livable salary before striking it rich, playing the tv version of the former radio show, "The LIfe of Riley" in 1949 for the one season. Then his DuMont network (yes, 4 networks then!) aired his "Cavalcade of Stars" variety show. So, money was becoming less a factor for him to worry about then in his growing-up years.
I had the rare privilege to attend one of his Miami Beach tv episodes of his newly-renamed "American Scene Magazine" (1962-66) title for "The Jackie Gleason Show" (1966-Feb. 1970) in the Fall of 1966. The episode was not a "Honeymooners" sketch, but it was fun to be there in person at was then the Miami Beach Municipal Auditorium. Renamed in his honor after he died, Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1987-2007), but in Oct. 2007 renamed, FIllmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater.
"The Honeymooners" address advertised in the series (328 Chauncey Street), was taken from his real life address in Brooklyn: born at 364 Chauncey Street, then grew up at 328 Chauncey Street.

John Herbert "Jackie" Gleason, 71 (Feb. 26, 1916 - Jun. 24, 1987)
MrsPhilHarris 15 months ago
I watched a great interview with Jackie Gleason years ago. Showed him way back when he would travel from New York down to Florida with the band, booze, and girls. Amazing life.
cperrynaples 15 months ago
Technically, he only did 39 Honeymooners and had to do another season of TJGS to fulfill his contract! To put this in perspective, Gleason made $800 a week on Dumont's Calvalcade Of Stars! CBS got him for $4,000 a week in 1952! Obviously, he was the first big money star on TV and it only took 3 years!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 15 months ago
Also, I should point out this wasn't an upfront payment of $11,000,000! It was sort of an annuity that paid him $100,000 for 20 years even if he didn't work! CBS also paid for his famous round house as well as the train that took him down to Miami Beach! Milton Berle had a similar contract with NBC!
justjeff 15 months ago
"Howwwwww sweet it is!"......
Catman justjeff 15 months ago
"A little travellin' music, Sam."
cperrynaples Catman 15 months ago
That was the '60's! In the '50's his bandleader was Ray Bloch!
cperrynaples justjeff 15 months ago
And one more thing: That phrase came from Papa's Delicate Condition! Bonus Question: What Oscar-winning song did he introduce in that movie?
justjeff Catman 15 months ago
...and awaaaaay we go!
justjeff cperrynaples 15 months ago
I used to know that... but I can't remember... and won't Google cheat for the answer...
cperrynaples justjeff 15 months ago
OK, it was Call Me Irisiponsable, a phrase his daughters would agree with!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 15 months ago
Yes, i murdered the spelling, but I didn't want to Google either...LOL!
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