Allen Ludden Net Worth (2024)

Allen Ludden Net Worth (2024)

NameAllen Ludden
Full Birth NameAllen Packard Ellsworth
OccupationGame Show Host
Date of BirthOctober 5, 1917
Place of BirthMineral Point, Wisconsin, USA
Date of DeathJune 9, 1981
Age at Death63 years
Cause of DeathStomach Cancer
Place of DeathLos Angeles, California, USA
GraveyardGraceland Cemetery, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, USA
ParentsElmer Ellsworth and Leila M. Ludden
Spouse(s)Margaret McGloin (1943–1961), Betty White (1963–1981)
ChildrenDavid, Martha, and Sarah Ludden
Net Worth (2024)Estimated at $10 million
Source of WealthTelevision hosting, endorsements
Height6 feet 1 inch
Notable WorksHost of “Password” and “Password Plus”
EducationUniversity of Texas at Austin, BA and MA in English
Military ServiceU.S. Army, served during WWII
– Received Bronze Star Medal
Television Debut1950s, began in radio before transitioning to television
AwardsHoratio Alger Award (1961)
– Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Legacy ContributionsHis name features at Los Angeles Zoo,
donated items for public archive
Notable RelationshipsKnown for his partnership both on-screen and in life with Betty White


Allen Ellsworth Ludden, born Allen Packard Ellsworth on October 5, 1917, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, was a distinguished American television personality, actor, singer, emcee, and game show host. Renowned for hosting various incarnations of the game show "Password" from 1961 until 1980, Ludden’s charismatic presence and affable personality made him a household name in American entertainment.

Early Life and Family Background

Allen was the first child of Elmer and Leila M. (née Allen) Ellsworth. His father, a Nebraska native, worked as an ice dealer and his mother, a Wisconsin native, was a housewife. Tragically, Elmer died from the Spanish flu in 1919 when Allen was just two years old. Around five years old, after his mother remarried Homer J. Ludden, an electrical engineer, Allen took his stepfather’s surname. The family moved frequently within Wisconsin before relocating to Texas when Allen was nine.

Education and Military Service

Ludden attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in English and dramatics, graduating with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1940. He went on to receive a Master of Arts in English in 1941.

During World War II, Ludden served in the United States Army as an officer in charge of entertainment in the Pacific theater, earning a Bronze Star Medal for his service and leaving the military with the rank of captain in 1946.

Broadcasting Career

After the war, Ludden’s career in broadcasting took off when he became the program director at WCBS radio in New York City. He transitioned to television, where he hosted shows like the "College Bowl" and the iconic "Password." Ludden’s knack for connecting with the audience and his warm on-air persona were instrumental in his success.

Host of a Quiz Show

He first gained national attention as the host of the "General Electric College Bowl," a quiz show that pitted teams from various universities against each other in a test of knowledge and quick thinking. His role as a moderator showcased his ability to manage the dynamics of a live show while ensuring that it remained informative and engaging.

The "Password" Era

The pinnacle of Ludden’s career came in 1961 when he began hosting "Password." This game show was innovative for its use of word association and became a significant part of American pop culture.

Ludden’s role involved guiding celebrity and civilian participants through the game, requiring a mix of quick wit, empathy, and humor. His catchphrase greeting to his mother-in-law, "Hi, doll," whenever Betty White appeared on the show, endeared him further to audiences.

Contributions to Literature and Music

Beyond television, Ludden was an accomplished author and even ventured into music. He published several books aimed at young readers and released an album, "Allen Ludden Sings His Favorite Songs," which showcased another dimension of his artistic talent.

Net Worth Before Death

At the time of his death in 1981, Allen Ludden was estimated to have a net worth of approximately $10 million. This substantial sum was accrued over years of successful television hosting, particularly his long-standing role on the game show "Password."

His financial success was further bolstered by various other ventures in the entertainment industry, including endorsements and appearances on other television shows.

Personal Life

Ludden’s first marriage was to Margaret McGloin in 1943, with whom he had three children: David, Martha, and Sarah. After Margaret’s death in 1961, Ludden married beloved actress Betty White in 1963. Their marriage lasted until his death and was highlighted by joint appearances in shows and theatrical productions.

Health Challenges and Passing

In 1980, Ludden was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which led to him stepping down from his hosting duties on "Password Plus." He battled the disease bravely but succumbed to it on June 9, 1981, in Los Angeles.

He was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, alongside his father.


Allen Ludden left an indelible mark on television and in the hearts of those who watched him. His contributions to the entertainment industry were commemorated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located next to that of his wife, Betty White.

His legacy is also preserved through memorabilia and documents housed at the Free Public Library in Mineral Point, a testament to his enduring impact.

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