What is Jay North’s Net Worth?
Jay North is an American actor who has a net worth of $500 thousand. Jay North began began his acting career when he was in elementary school, with an appearance on the children’s program, “Cartoon Express”. The appearance was meant to be a one-time event, but an agent saw him and contacted his mother. She was initially reluctant, but ultimately allowed him to start auditioning for projects. He went on to appear in film and television projects throughout the middle to late 50s. In 1959, he was cast in the role that would make him a household name for the rest of his life, as Dennis on the live action series, “Dennis the Menace.” He gained a massive following almost immediately. His time on the set was difficult, as he was being verbally and physically abused by his aunt, who was there to serve as his on-set guardian. He appeared in film, television, and theater projects sporadically until the early 2000s.
North was born on August 3, 1951 in Hollywood, California to Jay and Dorothy North. His father was an alcoholic, which negatively affected his parents’ relationship. His parents separated when North was 4, after which time North never saw his father again. His mother worked as a secretary for the director of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists throughout North’s childhood. North was a big fan of television and was interested in appearing on some of his favorite shows.
North’s mother took advantage of her connections at work to arrange for her son to appear on his favorite show, “Cartoon Express.” The talent agent, Hazel MacMillan, was impressed by North and contacted his mother the following day to offer to represent him. While his mom was originally concerned to get her son involved with acting, she eventually decided to let him give it a shot.
North landed his first professional acting job in the gameshow “Queen for a Day,” hosted by Jack Bailey. He then began landed commercials and small parts on various NBC shows like “The George Gobel Show,” “The Eddie Fisher Show,” and “The Milton Berle Show.”
Dennis The Menace
In June of 1958, North auditioned for Columbia Pictures’s upcoming show, “Dennis the Menace.” The studio had conducted a nationwide search for the title character and Jay North beat out hundreds of other boys to land the part.
“Dennis the Menace” premiered on CBS in October of 1959 and was quickly a sensation with audiences. His mother helped manage her son’s finances and hired business managers to invest his earnings from the show, which amounted to $500 per episode. She also continued working as her son became famous and North has since been very vocal about how supportive his mother was throughout his time in the spotlight, verifying that she never lived off of his earnings.
However, he has not spoken as highly of his aunt and uncle, who became his guardians on set while his mother was working. Though initially they had a good relationship, his aunt and uncle became increasingly controlling and North was not allowed to socialize with the other cast members and often was required to isolate in his dressing room. North later divulged that his aunt would physically and verbally abuse him when he made mistakes on set. The pressure to be perfect coupled with getting older made North less excited about being the starring member of a hit television show. Ratings for the show also began to fall and “Dennis the Menace” was cancelled after its fourth season in 1963.
North then enrolled in a prep school but had a hard time keeping up, both academically and socially given he had not been allowed to socialize very much on set. He also had a hard time booking other roles and felt he was being typecast due to the popularity of “Dennis the Menace.” However, he eventually was able to book new roles as he grew into his teen years. He booked the starring role in “Maya” as well as the subsequent television adaptation. He then found work as a voice actor for animated television series. He also left Hollywood in 1971 to go to Chicago to work in theater. In 1974, North appeared in his last starring role in the coming-of-age suspense thriller, “The Teacher.”
While North continued taking acting classes, he eventually became disillusioned with Hollywood and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1977. He served for two years before being honorably discharged in 1979, after which time he returned to Hollywood. He landed a few minor roles in television films and soap operas, but eventually decided to pursue other career options.
North was married three times. He met his first wife, Kathleen Brucher, in January 1972. The two were both working on “Butterflies Are Free.” They toured with the production for a year and then returned to Los Angeles to be married in July of 1973. However, their marriage lasted less than a year. They separated in April of 1974 and divorced in October of that year.
In March of 1991, North married his second wife, Rositia. They had met on a blind date but separated after only 3 months of marriage. Soon after, he met Cindy Hackney at a charity event. The two started dating and were married in March of 1993. Three months later, North decided to leave Los Angeles and moved to Hackney’s hometown of Lake Butler, Florida. He also became a stepfather to Hackney’s three daughters. In Lake Butler, he began working as a correctional officer.
Moving to Florida represented North’s permanent break from Hollywood. The same year, the feature film “Dennis the Menace” was released, which renewed public interest in North. He decided to disclose the various abuses he had suffered as a child star. He has primarily stayed out of the public eye, only occasionally appearing on talk shows and in documentaries. He also sometimes attends memorabilia shows to meet his fans.