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Leonard Ross Net Worth | Biography, Income, Career, Cars

Leonard Ross Net Worth Summary

Net Worth$1.5 million
Age39 Years
Date of Birth1st of January, 1945
Day of deathMay 1, 1985
Source of WealthChild prodigy, game show contestant
CareerMiscellaneous Crew
Marital StatusNever married


Leonard Ross (1945–1985) was an American teacher, lawyer, and government official best known for his appearances on television game shows. He committed suicide in a motel pool in California.

Ross net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million.

Leonard Ross’ Net Worth

Leonard Ross net worth is $1.5 million. He earns $ 4,00,000 per year, $ 32,000 per month and $ 8,000 per week.

He is known as a Kid genius and earned his wealth-winning television game shows.

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Early Life

Leonard Ross was born on July 7, 1945, to Pauline Ross. Ross was regarded as a child prodigy and a genius. He made national headlines when he was seven years old by passing a federal examination for a ham radio operator’s license.

He became known as the “whiz kid” who won $100,000 on The Big Surprise, a television quiz show when he was ten years old. Many of the questions he answered correctly concerned the stock market.

He was the first person to ring the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell as a prize.

On February 10, 1957, at the age of eleven, Ross won $64,000 on The $64,000 Challenge. With this total, Ross was the highest winner of game show prize money for two months until it was surpassed on April 16 by another child contestant, Robert Strom.

Ross graduated from high school at 14 and enrolled immediately at Reed College. He transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, to be closer to his family in his senior year. Ross enrolled in Yale Law School when he was 18 years old, in 1963.

He was the Yale Law Journal’s editor-in-chief at the time. To deal with his neurotic tendencies, he began seeing a psychoanalyst. He graduated at the age of 20 and went on to study for three years at Yale’s graduate school of economics. Reports differ on whether he graduated or failed to complete his doctoral dissertation. 

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In the early 1970s, Ross was awarded a teaching fellowship at Harvard. He later taught at Columbia Law School. He also became involved in politics and served in government positions.

After resigning from Columbia University, Ross joined Edmund Gerald Brown Jr.’s (Jerry Brown’s) California gubernatorial campaign as a member of the “issues and ideas staff.”

Later, he would assist in developing Mr. Brown’s first budget. Ross accepted an appointment to the California Public Utilities Commission under California Governor Jerry Brown in 1975, making him one of the commission’s youngest members.

Ross’s appointment was supposed to last six years, but he resigned after only two.

He later worked in the State Department for President Jimmy Carter. He worked as an advisor to a former Yale professor, Richard Cooper, who was the under-secretary for economic affairs at the time.

After one year, Ross resigned from this position and fell into a deep depression. 

While in Boston in 1978, Ross was awarded a foundation grant to write a monograph on nuclear proliferation. Ross attempted suicide after a failed romance and was admitted to McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric clinic outside of Boston.

After being released, he returned to California and joined the faculty of Boalt Hall, the University of California law school on the Berkeley campus. He resigned from the faculty in 1984 after a brief hospitalization after students discovered him under his car, rehearsing his lecture, in the school’s parking lot.

He went on to work for a small law firm in San Francisco, where he was supposed to be the “idea man” with no strenuous legal work, but his mental deterioration made concentrating impossible.

Throughout his career, Ross tended to co-author books and articles with partners who would see the work through to completion—a task that Ross’ racing mind made nearly impossible. He co-wrote a book about students’ legal rights during the Vietnam War draft called “The Lottery and the Draft: Where Do I Stand? “.

Ross co-wrote “Retreat from Riches: Affluence and Its Enemies” with Peter Passell, a fellow professor at Columbia University, about a national policy of rapid growth being the only way to reduce disparities in America.

In April 1972, Ross co-authored an arduous attack on the newly published book, The Limits to Growth, in the New York Times.

Ross co-wrote or wrote three books on economics, articles for the New York Review of Books and The New York Times, and “The Best,” a popular compendium of the best of everything from pizza to police precincts.


Ross was never married and never had children. He is remembered as a “true genius” and a “sweet, likable, and generous man.”

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Luxury Life

He was always starting a new project, memorizing 30 words a day from the Spanish dictionary, or creating a board game. And he was always juggling ideas, some brilliant, some ridiculous, ranging from elegant ways to borrow money to a scheme to buy unfashionable art and inflate its value by loaning it to museums.

Mr. Ross commissioned several law students to research when the draft lottery was implemented during the Vietnam War. He co-wrote a quick and successful book about students’ legal rights called “The Lottery and the Draft: Where Do I Stand?”

He was speaking faster, and the dishevelment that had seemed endearingly eccentric in college was now a troubling reflection of his inability to concentrate.

Ross purchased expensive furniture and hundreds of dollars worth of plants for his Riverside Drive apartment, but he left the furniture askew and piled with papers, and he allowed the plants to shrivel and die.

Achievements and Awards

  • He rose to prominence as a child prodigy and television game show contestant. Ross’s game show winnings of $164,000 (equivalent to $1,511,000 in 2020) were the highest ever earned on a US television game show for two months in 1957.
  • He co-wrote “Retreat from Riches: Affluence and Its Enemies,” a book with fellow Columbia professor Peter Passell, arguing that rapid growth as a national policy was the only way to reduce poverty in America.
  • He also contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Book Review, and Op-Ed page. Mr. Ross was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 1975, making him one of the commission’s youngest members.
  • Leonard Ross was the first guest to ring the opening bell in 1956. (pictured at top of page). The 10-year-old had won a television quiz show by answering stock market questions.

Social Media

There are no social media accounts associated with Leonard ross


Leonard Ross’s net worth was 1.5million before he died. He won a lot of money through game shows as a genius and went ahead to publish a lot of literary works.

One of his assets includes his Riverside Drive Apartment which he furnished with expensive furniture and plants. However, he failed to maintain them.

He never got married and so never had any children. Leonard Ross was a whiz kid.

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FAQs on Leonard Ross’ Net Worth

Leonard ross got rich as a child, winning game shows.

On May 1, 1985, at 39 years old, Ross committed suicide in the pool of Capri Motel in Santa Clara, California.

Leonard Ross’ net worth is estimated to be about $1.5 million.

He earns $ 4,00,000 per year, $ 32,000 per month and $ 8,000 per week.




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