Ray Charles Net Worth

How much was Ray Charles worth?

Net Worth:$75 Million
Profession:Professional Singer
Date of Birth:September 23, 1930
Country:United States of America
1.75 m

Who Is Ray Charles

Fondly called as “The Genius,” his full name is Ray Charles Robinson. Ray was an inspiring pianist and singer who fused the elements of gospel music and blues then stamped it with his unique style. He also appeared on films such as “In the Heat of the Night” and “The Cincinnati Kid.” Ray Charles was also a producer and formed Tangerine Records, Tangerine Music, and Racer Music Company under the Ray Charles Enterprise umbrella.

Award winning singer, composer, and musician who played piano, organ, saxophone, and the clarinet Ray Charles had a net worth of $75 million dollars at the time of his, in 2004. Between friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called “Brother Ray.” He was often referred to as “The Genius.” His music style was a fusion of blues, country, gospel and pop, and is known as one of the greatest artists of all time.

He was 7 years old when he became blind due to glaucoma, but this did not hinder the young Ray. He went to St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind from 1937 to 1945. It is there where he learned how to play the piano and the saxophone as well as studying composition. He was influenced by such performers as Nat King Cole and Charles Brown. Ray would later on perform in clubs around Florida at the age of 15. He moved to Seattle in 1948 and formed a group called Maxim Trio. A year later they had their first hit, “Confession Blues.”

Early Career

After his parents’ deaths, Ray left school for good and was taken in and raised by a couple who had been friends with his mother. He began playing music professionally for local piano bands, and eventually moved to Seattle in 1947 to expand his career. In 1952, he signed a deal with Swing Time Records and took the stage name of Ray Charles to avoid being confused with “Sugar” Ray Robinson, who was a champion boxer at the time. In 1953, the Swing Time label folded and Ray migrated to Atlantic Records. He had his first big hit, “Mess Around,” later in 1953, followed by “I Got a Woman” the next year.

National Success

During the 1950s and ’60s, Ray had a string of R&B; hits, including “The Night Time (Is the Right Time),” “Hit the Road, Jack,” and “Georgia On My Mind.” However, he also struggled with addiction to heroin; after getting busted in 1961, he told police he’d been a user since he was 16. He wound up being arrested for possession multiple times, and in 1965 was admitted to a rehab clinic in Los Angeles. He managed to clean up his act and continue releasing occasional hits during the ’70s and ’80s. Four months after he died of lung cancer, the biographical film about his life, Ray, starring Jamie Foxx, was released.

Biographical Film

The movie Ray, which focused on a 30-year period in Ray’s life, was a critical and commercial success upon its release in October 2004. Jamie Foxx won an Academy Award for his uncanny performance as Ray Charles. The film also won an Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing and Grammy Awards for Best Soundtrack and Best Musical Score.

Personal Life

Although Ray Charles was a huge success in most areas of his professional life, he was unable to have the same success in his own complicated private life.


Ray Charles’ first wife was Eileen Williams, whom he married in July 1951 at the age of 21. They divorced the following year.
He was also married to Della Howard Robinson from April 1955 until 1977, and they had three children together, all male.
Other than his offspring with Della Robinson, Ray sired nine other children with various women between 1950 and 1987. Six were female and three male.

  • Eileen Williams: Eileen, a beautician from Columbus, Ohio, and Ray met through his friend Billy Brooks. Eileen and Ray were married on July 31, 1951 in Georgia before a Fulton County justice of the peace. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1952. We could not find verification of claims that Ray and Eileen had a child together.
  • Della Beatrice Howard Robinson: Della and Ray met in Houston, Texas. “B” was his nickname for her. Ray and Della were married on April 5, 1955. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1977. Three children.


Ray acknowledged having twelve children, 21 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

  • Evelyn Robinson: Born abt. 1950. Her mother is Louise Mitchell.
  • Ray Charles Robinson, Jr: Born abt. 1955. His mother is Della Robinson.
  • David Robinson: Born abt. 1958. His mother is Della Robinson.
  • Charles Wayne: Born abt. 1959. His mother is Marge Hendricks who was one of the Raelettes.
  • Reverend Robert Robinson: Born abt. 1960. His mother is Della Robinson.
  • Raenee Robinson-McClellan: Born abt. 1961. Her mother is Mae Mosely Lyles, an entertainer from New York. Raenee traveled with Ray on the road selling his merchandise.
  • Sheila Raye Charles aka Sheila Robinson: Born September 1963. Sheila is a professional singer. Her mother is Sandra Jean Betts who was a receptionist when she and Ray met.
  • Reatha Butler:
  • Alexandria Bertrand: Her mother is Chantelle Bertrand.
  • Vincent Kotchounian: Born abt. 1977. Raised in France. His mother is Arlette Kotchounian who is credited with artwork/photography on Ray’s 1990 “Would You Believe” album.
  • Robyn Moffett aka Babie Charles: Born abt. 1978. Her mother is singer/artist Gloria Moffett. Robyn is a singer.
  • Ryan Corey Robinson den Bok: Born abt. 1987. His mother is Mary Anne den Bok.


Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia, the son of Aretha and Bailey Robinson. When Ray was still an infant, the family moved to Greenville, Florida. Ray started to lose his sight due to glaucoma when he was 5 years old; by the time he reached 7, he was totally blind. In 1937, he was sent to a school for the blind in the city of St. Augustine, which is where he discovered and began to cultivate his love and talent for playing music. Three years after entering the school, Ray’s father died. His mother died five years after that, when Ray was 15.


Ray Charles was blind by the time he was six years old, and orphaned as a teenager. Overcoming tragedy and poverty, and achieving respect and wealth, he was unable to be successful in marriage. Many of the songs he wrote are thought to be reflections on his failed relationships.

Some biographers noted that he was indifferent to his wives, lovers, and children.

However, his kids revealed that in 2002 Ray gave each of them $1 million.

Ray’s weakness for womanizing was legendary. “The man who was rarely without his signature cocktail —- coffee, sugar and gin —- was a legendary womanizer, and like all legends, it’s tough to separate truth from fiction.” to MTV

Notable Works:

Some of his famous songs are “I Got a Woman,” “What’d I Say,” “Drown in My Own Tears,” “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Take These Chains From My Heart,” “Georgia On My Mind” and “Ruby.”

Interesting Facts:

Ray signed with Atlantic Records in 1952 and with ABC-Paramount in 1959. In 1979, the state of Georgia approved his recording of “Georgia On My Mind” as its official song. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He also received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.


2004: Inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
1993: Awarded the U.S. National Medal of the Arts.
1987: Received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
1986: Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Full name: Ray Charles Robinson.
Born: Sept. 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia.
Died: June 10, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California, Ray Charles died of liver disease and buried in Inglewood Cemetery.

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