Michael Richards' Net Worth In 2024 and How Rich He Got From 'Seinfeld'

Michael Richards

Michael Richards' net worth in 2024 could've been significantly higher had he not had a really racist outburst in 2006.

In a rant caught on video and memorialized forever on the Internet, Richards lashed out at a heckler during a performance at Los Angeles' Laugh Factory comedy club, using the n-word (with a very hard R) repeatedly. It was one of the first and only times "cancel culture" actually stuck to a comedian.

"I was immediately sorry the moment I said it onstage," Richards told PEOPLE in 2024 about the incident. "I'm not looking for a comeback."

Richards said that while there's no excuse for what he did, it did force him to come to terms with internalized anger and insecurity he'd suffered with for decades.

"Rather than run from it, I dove into the deep end and tried to learn from it. It hasn’t been easy," he said. "Crisis managers wanted me to do damage control. But as far as I was concerned, the damage was inside of me."

Explaining that he'd always felt inadequate as a comedian and performer, he added, "I'm not racist. I have nothing against Black people. The man who told me I wasn’t funny had just said what I’d been saying to myself for a while. I felt put down. I wanted to put him down."

It also put down his earning potential ... but thanks to Seinfeld, he's going to live comfortably forever regardless.

Related: Larry David's Net Worth and How Much He Makes From Seinfeld

How did Michael Richards become famous?

Born Michael Anthony Richards on July 24, 1949, Richards' father died when he was a toddler, and he was raised by his mother in Los Angeles. After high school, he earned his bachelor's degree in drama from Evergreen State College and served for two years in the Vietnam War before being honorably discharged.

After returning to the states, Richards dabbled in improv with Ed Begley, Jr. and acted in student productions at Los Angeles Valley College. His breakthrough came in 1979 when he appeared in a Billy Crystal TV special, then again in 1980 when he worked with Larry David on ABC's Fridays. He had a particularly memorable scene with Andy Kaufman that many at the time didn't realize was scripted (including the crew).

Following Fridays, Richards worked consistently in small but memorable parts, including as a recurring clumsy fitness expert on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, guest roles on Cheers and Night Court, as Stanley Spadowski in Weird Al Yankovic's UHF and as the Bow Tie Killer in Problem Child.

Michael Richards as the Bow Tie Killer in "Problem Child" (1990)<p>Universal Pictures</p>
Michael Richards as the Bow Tie Killer in "Problem Child" (1990)

Universal Pictures

Throughout, he continued auditioning for sitcoms, and after being passed over for Married With Children patriarch Al Bundy in favor of Ed O'Neill, his Fridays co-star and writer David came back into his life in a big way when Richards was cast as Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld.

Jerry Seinfeld as himself, Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes in "Seinfeld"<p>NBC</p>
Jerry Seinfeld as himself, Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes in "Seinfeld"


He went on to win three Best Supporting Actor Emmys for the iconic role of the eccentric, fruit-loving, frizzy-haired ne'er-do-well—more than any of his castmates in the historic comedy series.

Related: Jerry Seinfeld's Net Worth

What is Michael Richards' net worth in 2024?

Estimates place Michael Richards' net worth in 2024 at $30 million. He's doing fine!

After Seinfeld, Richards starred in his own sitcom, The Michael Richards Show, but it was short-lived. He continued acting and appearing in films and TV shows, with roles in The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Kirstie.

Related: Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Net Worth and How Wealthy She Was Even Before Seinfeld

How much has Michael Richards made from Seinfeld?

Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer in "Seinfeld"<p>NBC</p>
Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer in "Seinfeld"


Richards got quite rich from Seinfeld, though not as ridiculously wealthy as Jerry Seinfeld and David did. In 1997, Variety reported the supporting casts' salaries at $600,000 per episode, a massive raise from the $160,000 per episode they'd made for prior seasons. He and the rest of the supporting cast (Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) made about $13 million each for the show's final season.

That said, they could've made more if negotiations went better. Though Richards and Louis-Dreyfus haven't spoken publicly about it, Alexander told The Globe and Mail in 2004, "Julia, Michael and I, during our big renegotiation for the final year, asked for something that I will go to my grave saying we should have had, and that is back-end participation in the profits for the show. It was categorically denied to us, which forced us to then ask for ungodly salaries."

According to Alexander, the pay disparity caused a rift between Seinfeld and the rest of the Seinfeld cast, and none of them make much from residuals and re-airings of the series. Alexander said at the time, "We make very little, standard Screen Actors Guild residuals for the reruns." The Globe and Mail estimated that to be around $250,000 each in 2004. They've likely earned quite a bit more in the 20 years since then, but still nowhere near as much as the titular star.

Richards also revealed in a 2003 interview with The New York Times that he and the rest of the supporting cast initially refused to record new material for the DVD release, noting, "I innocently asked a question: Is there some compensation? I don't believe there is. There isn't anything." They eventually negotiated a deal where the supporting cast would get a percentage of the DVD sales, and they all lived (relatively) happily ever after.

Related: 100 Best Seinfeld Quotes

Is Michael Richards friends with Seinfeld?

Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld attend the Los Angeles premiere of "Unfrosted" held at The Egyptian Theatre Hollywood on April 30, 2024.<p>Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images</p>
Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld attend the Los Angeles premiere of "Unfrosted" held at The Egyptian Theatre Hollywood on April 30, 2024.

Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images

He sure is. Though Richards is largely reclusive, he appeared with Seinfeld at the red carpet premiere of Unfrosted in April 2024.

How much is Kramer from Seinfeld's net worth?

Richards' net worth is estimated at $30 million.

Next, What We Know About a Potential Seinfeld Reunion