Berry Gordy is a successful American record executive who has been a songwriter, film producer, and television producer. He is also the founder of the Motown record label. The label was one of the highest-earning African-American businesses for decades.
Berry Gordy's Appearance (Height, Hair, Eyes & More)
|5 ft 9 in
Facts About Berry Gordy
|Estimate Net Worth
|Detroit, Michigan, United States
|November 28, 1929
Berry Gordy's Net Worth
Berry Gordy is an American record producer, songwriter, and film producer. He is most recognized for founding Motown Records, one of the most notable music companies of the ’70s and ’80s. However, he has also worked as a film director and television producer.
As of January 2023, Gordy’s net worth is $450 million. This figure includes the 93-year-old celebrity’s property in Bel Air and Malibu. These properties can add another $50 to $70 million to his wealth.
Berry Gordy's Early Life
Berry Gordy III was born in Detroit, Michigan, on November 28, 1929. He was the son of Berta and Berry Gordy, Sr. Berry was a boxer who won twelve matches in a featherweight career. (1)
At age seven, Gordy was interested in writing songs. At the age of twenty, Gordy decided to become a professional songwriter. He began by writing songs for local singers. In 1953, he married Thelma Coleman. They had three children.
Berry Gordy's Education
Berry Gordy went to Northeastern High School but left in his junior year to pursue a career as a featherweight boxer. He competed in fifteen fights, winning twelve of them. Later on, while serving in the US, he obtained his GED. Army. (2)
Berry Gordy's Wife and Family Life
Berry Gordy had eight children with six different women. He was married three times and has had a long and successful music career. But it’s not just the music that made Berry one of the most famous songwriters in the world. (3)
Soon after his divorce from Raynoma Mayberry Liles, Berry married Grace Eaton. They were together for nine years. A few years later, they had a baby. He is the father of eight children. Jeana Jackson, Sherry Gordy, Stefan Kendal, Skylar Austen Gordy, Kennedy William Gordy, Esther Gordy, and Berry IV.
Berry Gordy's Career
Berry Gordy is a famous American record executive, songwriter, and producer. His work launched many superstars in music history. Some of his best-known artists include Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Rick James, Ricky Nelson, and Michael Jackson. He also founded Motown Records.
While a teenager, Berry was an athlete and boxer. Later, he served in the United States Army during the Korean War. After returning home, he decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. But his siblings viewed him as an underachiever.
He had no money to start his own company. But he discovered and cultivated dozens of superstars. For example, he signed Jackie Wilson, who later recorded five songs he wrote with him.
In 1957, Jackie Wilson recorded a song called “Reet Petite.” This became a hit for Berry. It also topped the charts in the United Kingdom. During this time, Gordy met his future wife, Miss Ray. Together, they had a daughter, Sherry. (4)
While working on an assembly line, Gordy composed songs in his free time. He soon started recording his compositions. By 1958, he had his first hit, “Reet Petite.”
After working for Chess and United Artists, he formed his own independent record company, Tamla Records. Tamla Records merged with Motown Record Corporation in 1960.
He was a co-writer of the hit song “Lonely Teardrops,” which made it to the top ten pop charts. He was also a renowned director, directing “Mahogany,” “The Last Dragon,” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” Berry also helped launch many new Hollywood films and recording talents.
Berry Gordy's Controversies
The founder of Motown, Berry Gordy, has been a thorn in the side of many artists. He reportedly charged them for their recording expenses, travel costs, and incidentals. In addition to being an auto assembly line worker, Gordy was also a boxer. As a teenager, he dropped out of high school to concentrate on his boxing career. However, he returned to Detroit to open his record store. (5)
Berry Gordy's Humanitarian Works and Activism
✨ We're thrilled to announce the lineup of artists performing at the @MusiCares 2023 #PersonsoftheYear gala, honoring the legendary Motown founder and GRAMMY Award nominee Berry Gordy, and GRAMMY Award winner and seven-time GRAMMY Award nominee @smokeyrobinson.— MusiCares (@MusiCares) January 19, 2023
📸: Joan Adlen pic.twitter.com/RgORwKQQsO
Berry Gordy is known for his contributions to popular culture and the arts, but he has also been active in the Civil Rights movement. (6)
When asked if he could have had the success he had with Motown if there hadn’t been a civil-rights movement, Gordy replied, “It’s hard for me to say. I don’t see the connection to success and failure based on any one thing. It was not a visible factor as to whether a person had a hit record or didn’t have a hit record. When we went on tours to the South, we were attacked in our motorcades like everybody else.”
Gordy is also an avid humanitarian and has devoted his time to several causes. These include the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, which focuses on mental health. Other philanthropic efforts include the Heroes and Legends Scholarship Foundation, which supports at-risk youth.
Berry Gordy's Real Estate & Other Properties
Berry Gordy’s Detroit house, known as the Motown Mansion, is located at 918 West Boston Boulevard in the Boston Edison neighborhood of Detroit. This 10-story home sits on a 2.2-acre lot in a historic district. (7)
The house was initially owned by a lumberman named Nels Michelson. He had established a successful lumber business in Michigan. His mansion was built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. It features elaborate wood carvings and stained glass windows. There is a separate three-bedroom carriage house with a five-car garage.
Gordy’s Motown Mansion has been a place of celebration. Many legendary Motown stars have performed at home. Such celebrities include Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Kem, Geena Davis, Robert Ritchie (a.k.a. Kid Rock), and Johnny Knoxville.
While Gordy lived in the home, it was a popular hide-and-seek location. When Gordy sold it in 2002, the mansion was occupied by his brother, Berry Gordy Jr., and his sister, Esther.
In recent years, the house was purchased by Alan Brown, a native of Metro Detroit and global consultant for the arts industry. Brown was able to learn about the place through various sources. For example, he contacted a local artist to paint the flowers in the lower-level ballroom.
- Daniel Dalrymple, Berry Gordy: Biography, retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/berry-gordy-biography-family-songs.html
- Web Post, Berry Gordy, retrieved from https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/berry-gordy
- Web Post, Berry Gordy facts: Motown founder’s age, wife, children and net worth revealed, retrieved from https://www.smoothradio.com/news/music/berry-gordy-facts-age-spouse-children-wealth/
- Scintillating Team. Berry Gordy’s Net Worth 2023: Age, Wife, Kids, Divorce, retrieved from https://www.scintillatingstars.com/berry-gordy-net-worth-2022-age-wife-kids-divorce/
- Greg Kot and Tribune Rock Critic, The Spin Specialist, retrieved from https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1994-12-18-9412180077-story.html
- Diane Haitman, Talk! In the Name of Love : Motown founder Berry Gordy breaks his long silence with a new autobiography, hoping to dispel those stories about the mob and disgruntled artists. As the title says, all he wants is ‘To Be Loved.’, retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1994-12-11-ca-7736-story.html
- Maureen Feighan, As Motown Records turns 60, ‘Motown Mansion’ in Boston-Edison looks to future, retrieved from https://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/home-garden/2019/04/11/motown-mansion-berry-gordy/3334565002/