What was Ralphie May’s Net Worth?
Ralphie May was an American stand-up comedian who had a net worth of $2 million at the time of his death. Ralphie May’s comedy career caught a big break at 17 when he won a contest to open for comedian Sam Kinison. It so happened that Kinison was May’s idol. Kinison suggested that Ralphie move to Houston, Texas to further develop his comedy career. In 2003, May participated in the first season of Last Comic Standing, where he finished in second place behind Dat Phan. He subsequently appeared in numerous comedy shows such as The Wayne Brady Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He was the only white comedian to perform in the 2005 The Big Black Comedy Show, which also featured Mo’Nique, Rodman and Vince Morris. His album “Just Correct” was released in 2005. He recorded a total of seven Comedy Central specials: Girth of a Nation (2006), Prime Cut (2007), Austin-tatious (2008), Too Big to Ignore (2012). Imperfectly Yours (2013) and Unruly (2015). Mays also appeared in such films as For Da Love of Money and performed at the 2012 Gathering of the Juggalos. May was marred to fellow comedian Lahna Turner from 2005 to 2015. They had two children together, a daughter and a son. Unfortunately, Ralphie died on October 6, 2017 at the age of 45. His cause of death was reportedly cardiac arrest.
May was born on February 17, 1972 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to parents Sue Ann Sykes May and Charles Winston. He was later raised along with his three older siblings in Clarksville, Arkansas. May had a very close relationship with his grandmother, who he spoke about often and very fondly in many interviews. She is credited with taking care of him and his siblings as they were growing up. His parents were divorced did not have a harmonious relationship, as his father refused to pay child support which resulted in costly legal battles. May has stated that that tension often carried over into how the children were treated.
May enjoyed performing and making people laugh from a young age. He attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. He had moved to Houston based off of a suggestion from comic Sam Kinison, whom he had met at age 17 after winning a stand-up comedy content that allowed May to open for Kinison’s show.
Throughout the 1990s, after he had graduated from high school, May worked on his stand-up comedy skills, often performing at open mic nights and in comedy clubs, first around the Houston area and then in Los Angeles. He eventually developed of a following and fanbase and also attracted the attention of bigger names in comedy. All of this led to him being chosen to participate in the first season of “Last Comic Standing,” a stand-up comedy competition that pits comics against each other night after night until all are eliminated except for the champion. The show began airing in 2003.
May ultimately finished in second place in the competition, just behind winner Dat Phan. The show had become quite popular while airing on Comedy Central and helped boost May’s stardom and name recognition. He was booked for appearances on various comedy shows like “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Wayne Brady Show.” He also was the invited to perform as the only white comedian on “The Big Black Comedy Show” in 2005, featuring Mo’Nique, Rodman, and Vince Morris.
Following his success, May began releasing comedy albums. He released his first comedy album, “Just Correct,” in 2005. Over the next decade or so, he also began recording comedy specials that were aired on Comedy Central. In the months leading up to the specials, he would tour around the country to perfect the material that was later recorded. In 2006, he released “Girth of a Nation” followed by “Prime Cut” in 2007. In 2008, he released “Austin-tatious” and a few years later released “Too Big to Ignore” in 2012. With the popularity of Netflix, he also signed a couple of contracts with the streaming platform. In 2013, he released his special “Imperfectly Yours” followed by “Unruly” in 2015.
A few of May’s specials and pieces of work were also released posthumously. These include “Ralphie May Presents” in 2018 and “What’s Eating Ralphie May” in 2019. His memoir, “This Might Get a Little Heavy,” was also published following his death in 2017.
Personal Life and Death
In July of 2005, May married fellow comedian Lahna Turner. The couple had their first child together, a daughter, in September of 2007. They then had a son together in June of 2009. The couple also started podcast together in 2013 called “Perfect 10.” Several years later, following a challenging time in their marriage, the couple filed for divorce in October of 2015. They sought joint custody of their children but their separation was not ultimately finalized.
Throughout his whole life, May struggled with obesity. In 2004, he competed on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club” in an effort to lose weight and also underwent gastric bypass surgery. This lowered his weight to 350 pounds. However, over the next few years, much of the weight returned. He then lost around 50 pounds after suffering from a very serious case of viral pneumonia in 2011. The next month, he had a nearly-fatal pulmonary embolism caused by the pneumonia after a blood clot became lodged in his artery. May did try to continue focusing on his health after this scare but it remained a challenge.
On October 6, 2017, May went into cardiac arrest while in Las Vegas and ultimately died at the age of 45. He had been battling another case of pneumonia for several weeks leading up to his death, which had resulted in a number of cancelled shows. May had already performed that night in Las Vegas, as he had a residency at Harrah’s, and had even attended a meet and greet with fans following the show, though people close to him say he had already begun to feel badly by this time. Pictures from the meet and greet surfaced following May’s death and show the comic looking pale and in discomfort. Following his death, some friends helped purchase his headstone and a number of comedians and celebrities paid tribute to May’s life in online tributes. A family funeral was held for him in Tennessee.