• Jeff Dunham is an American Ventriloquist, actor, and stand-up comedian famous for his puppet “Achmed the Dead Terrorist”
• Started ventriloquism from an early age, and began performing professionally in his teenage years
• Had his first big break when he was asked to replace a variety act in the Broadway show “Sugar Babies”
• Holds a Guinness World Record for selling the most tickets for a stand-up comedy tour, in 2014
• Has an estimated net worth of $140 million and earns between $15 to 30 million annually from his over 200 shows

Known for movies

Short Info

Net Worth$45 million
Date Of BirthApril 18, 1962
SpouseAudrey Murdick, Paige Dunham, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States
FactHe owns the 1989 Batmobile from Tim Burton's Batman.

Do you know Jeff Dunham?

Jeff Dunham is a famous American Ventriloquist, known globally for his puppet “Achmed, the Dead Terrorist.” He is also an actor and a stand-up comedian, who has made numerous guest appearances, and appeared in four specials on Comedy Central, one of which went quadruple platinum in its first two weeks by selling over 400,000 copies!

Jeff Dunham’s early life

He was born on 18 April 1962, in Dallas, Texas, USA, but was soon adopted by real estate agent Howard Dunham when he was only three months old. Howard and his wife, Joyce, were devout Presbyterian and he was raised likewise.

Dunham’s interest in ventriloquism was aroused when he received a ‘Mortimer Snerd’ dummy as his Christmas present when he was just eight years old.

Posted by Jeff Dunham on Thursday, December 31, 2020

He then proceeded to the library in search of a “how-to” book on ventriloquism, which he never returned; Dunham would later joke about this in 2011, saying he was ‘a thief in the third grade’. By the time he was in sixth grade, he had already started attending a yearly international meeting of ventriloquists, the Vent Haven Convention in Kentucky, where he got a chance to personally meet Jimmy Nelson. He was soon prevented from entering any more competitions in the convention, because other participants were intimidated by him, and so he was declared a ‘retired champion’.

The solitude he experienced as an only child was compensated for by his long hours of practise, usually in front of a mirror. It also prepared him for his move to Los Angeles to begin his career.

Jeff Dunham’s Career Journey

Dunham had been performing for his church, school and his work place at Six Flags since he was a teenager. He then went on to events which local celebrities like Roger Staubach, the quarterback for Dallas Cowboys, attended. He made his television debut in 1976, after being interviewed by Dallas reporter, Bill O’reily, for a local news story. This small but yet impactful exposure further landed him commercial deals with Tyler and also Datsun while he was still in high school. Dunham matriculated in 1980, and then attended Baylor University the same year with the aim of obtaining a degree in communications.

His performances during his student year didn’t stop, instead, he was doing more than a 100 shows in a year, flying across the country and also entertaining various corporate audiences.

His act soon spread and by his junior year in college, Dunham was already making about $70,000 annually. He got his first big break when he was asked to replace a variety act in the Broadway show “Sugar Babies”.

After his graduation in 1986, he proceeded to entertain in comedy clubs, and also developed newer characters for his act: Peanut and Jose Jalapeno. Although he was gaining popularity amongst audiences, he was not regarded as a true comedian by his colleagues because of his use of costumes and props. After suffering a series of setbacks, Dunham returned to Los Angeles from Texas in 1988, to the dismay of his parents who worried that he didn’t have ‘a real job’. He later met and became friends with the owner of The Comedy & Magic Club, Mike Lacey, who gave him a placement at the club, where he worked alongside Jerry Seinfied and Bill Engvall.

He was able to upgrade his act to a more sophisticated but somewhat adult level content.

About two years later, Dunham got a coveted spot in “The Tonight Show”. He made his first appearance in the show with peanut, one of his props, on 6 April 1990. He continued performing at clubs, and also appeared in small television roles such as the 1996 episode of “Ellen” and a commercial for Hertz. He made a total of four appearances on “The Tonight Show”, which helped propel him as a headliner for a large theatre, an impressive accomplishment for a ventriloquist. He made his first solo appearance in Comedy Central on 18 July 2003; the half hour act though successful wasn’t continued because organisers didn’t think he was suitable for their audience. In 2005, he released his first comedy DVD, “Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself” and also appeared in the feature film “Delta Farce” in 2007.

Jeff Dunham

The same year, Dunham released his widely successful second special, “Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity”, which was filmed in Washington D.C. when his most popular character, Achmed, the Dead terrorist was introduced. It garnered over 140 million views on YouTube and became the most viewed clip as at October 2009, marking the beginning of Dunham’s explosive career. He became sought after, and his career finally crossed borders into countries around the world. His third special was highly successful, and became Comedy Central’s highest rated.

Dunham signed a mutli-platform deal with Comedy Central and went on to release his fourth, fifth and sixth specials which were all widely successful. In addition to his comedy specials, he released a music album, “Don’t Come Home for Christmas” with a parody of Jingle bells by Achmed entitled “Jingle Bombs”.

He also appeared in several sitcoms and comedy series, such as “30 Rock, Disney”, “Channel” and “Hart to Hart”.

Jeff Dunham’s Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

He began dating Paige Brown, his future first wife in 1992 and married her two years later. He adopted her daughter Bree and the couple later had two daughters, Ashlyn and Kenna, in 1995 and 1997 respectively. In November 2008, the couple filed for divorce amidst rumours that his prolonged absence from home while touring may have put a dent in the marriage – the divorce was finalised in 2011. He later met his future second wife, Audrey Murdick, a certified body builder and Nutritionist in 2009. She was assigned to him as a personal body builder, and the two later became fond of each other, fell in love and married in October 2012. Jeff Dunham’s family increased with the birth of twin sons, James Jeffrey and Jack Steven, on the 11 October 2015, born two hours apart.

A controversy arose when Audrey Dunham, formerly Audrey Murdick, sued Paige Dunham for registering some domains in her name. The lawsuit stated that “Defendant knew at the time she registered the Accused domains, that Plaintiff would soon change her name to Audrey Dunham”. She was represented by attorney Wilmore Holbrow and the requirements attached to the lawsuit included a restraint from cyber piracy and claimed damages of about $100,000 for each domain name.

Jeff Dunham’s Awards and Controversies

Dunham was dubbed “America’s favourite comedian” according to Slate, and holds a Guinness World Record for selling the most tickets for a stand-up comedy tour, in 2014. His “Spark of Insanity” comedy tour sold almost two million tickets and performed worldwide from September 2007 to August 2010.

His timing and unique style were praised by the Dallas Morning News, and he was also voted as the Top comedian in Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Showdown.” He was nominated as the “Comedian of the Year” by TNN Music City News Country Awards, and has won “ventriloquist of the Year” twice.

Though Dunham has received a lot of positive reviews for his work, but his adult rated content has also raised some eye brows, and led to accusations of being sexist, homophobic and racist. One of his television commercials involving Achmed the dead terrorist was banned in South Africa, due to complaints from the Muslim community. In Dunham’s defence, he stated that ‘Achmed makes it clear in my act that he is not Muslim’. He was also criticized on several occasions for mocking Lauren Correo, Comedy Central programming chief and other TV critics during his 2009 tour to promote his show “The Jeff Dunham Show”. The show initially received good reviews, but wasn’t a favourite among critics.

Jeff Dunham’s Books, Publications and Hobbies

His book “Dear Walter” was released in 2003 under BRASMA Publications, and then his autobiography, “All by My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed and Me” was published in 2010.

Dunham loves building and flying his kit helicopters. He is also enthusiastic about collections like muscle cars, Apple products and restoring ventriloquist dummies.

Jeff Dunham’s Net worth

Thanks to social media platforms like YouTube, Dunham has enjoyed a successful career as a ventriloquist. With a net worth of $140 million, he is considered to be one of the highest-paid comedians in the world. His videos which include his more popular characters like Peanut, Achmed, the Dead Terrorist and Walter the curmudgeon were viewed over 500 million times, with Achmed drawing in 150 million views.

Pollstar referred to him as the top-grossing stand-up act in North America, having sold over four million DVDs and made about $7 million. In 2009, he was ranked as the third highest-paid comedian in the US by Forbes, with Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock ahead of him. He also raked in about $30 million from the period of June 2008 to June 2009, making him one of the top grossing comics during that period. It’s also been rumoured that Dunham earns between $15 to 30 million annually from his over 200 shows.

Where to Find Jeff Dunham

You can join his over 800,000 followers on Instagram and two million on Twitter by visiting his handle @jeffdunham.

General Info

Full NameJeff Dunham
Net Worth$45 million
Date Of BirthApril 18, 1962
Height1.83 m
ProfessionScreenwriter, Television producer, Comedian, Film producer, Voice Actor, Ventriloquist, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States
EducationBaylor University


SpouseAudrey Murdick, Paige Dunham, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States
ChildrenAshlyn Dunham, Kenna Dunham, Bree Dunham, James Jeffrey Dunham, Jack Steven Dunham, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States
ParentsJoyce Dunham, Howard Dunham, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States


MoviesLas Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States, Delta Farce, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special, Dinner for Schmucks, Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos, Big Top Scooby-Doo!, The Nut Job, Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map, The Nut Job 2, Jeff Dunham: Spark of In...
TV ShowsLas Vegas, NV, United States, Fresno, CA, United States, Oakland, CA, United States, Comedy Central Presents, Live at Gotham, The Jeff Dunham Show, History of the Joke, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Any Day Now, Xuxa, Halloween Baking Championship, Hot Country Nights

Social profile links


1The only way a ventriloquist speaks differently is that he forgoes using his or her lips, and learns to reproduce sounds using the tongue, upper palate, and teeth only. Those 'difficult' letters are B, F, M, P, V, W, and Y.
2Up until college age I was using the typical little-boy dummy that sits on the knee and makes woodpecker jokes. My first original character didn't happen until later, and that was Jose the Jalapeno on a Stick.
3We just got a tour bus. I didn't know tour buses could be this nice. It's just me, Brian Haner the guitar guy, the tour manager and a writer. We laugh ourselves silly. Apparently we're going to have a road dog, a miniature pincher. It's the smallest they've ever seen. How masculine am I going to look, working with dolls and a miniature dog?
4When I was in third grade I taught myself ventriloquism... What's hard is to learn to be an entertainer and make people laugh. I was a few years out of college before I felt I had enough material. Then in 1988 I moved to L.A. and started to do some shows at comedy clubs.
5I had a happy, dramafree youth, growing up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. The only thing that was slightly unusual compared to most of my friends was that I was an only child... I don't think that's why my parents gave me a dummy, at least they've never copped to it.
6In 1980, when I graduated from high school, my goal was to be on 'The Tonight Show' with Johnny Carson at least once before our ten-year class reunion. Our class reunion was in June of 1990, and I was on 'The Tonight Show' in April 1990, so I made it by a few months.
7It's strange because even in the vaudeville days, ventriloquists were never the main attraction. They were the guys brought out to stand in front of the curtain while sets were being changed. Ventriloquism wasn't even celebrated as an art until Edgar Bergen came along in the 1930s.
8My mother and my father have always supported me. Now in their eighties, they actually clamor onto the tour bus with me once or twice a year so they can watch the performances and hear the crowds. Traveling with eighty-something-year-olds on a tour bus... there has to be some sort of reality show in that.
9The best place to find material is in real life. I've always maintained that it's not until the mid-20s that you have enough of a life to draw from. There's nothing better for a comic than to go through some bad stuff - and some good stuff, like getting married.
10I've always said that instead of watching a guy juggle seven things amazingly I would rather see a really bad juggler who's really funny.
11Stand-up comedy is tough right now. Anybody can come to a concert, tape you, and put you up on the Internet. You either fight it or embrace it.
12Growing up doing those Kiwanis Clubs, doing those Cub Scout banquets, doing those church shows, I learned to find that sensibility that most people could laugh at - that all ages and demographics could laugh at.
13When I was eight years old, I got a dummy for Christmas and started teaching myself. I got books and records and sat in front of the bathroom mirror, practising. I did my first show in the third grade and just kept going; there was no reason to quit.
14But the mechanics of learning to 'throw your voice' are pretty simple. Anyone with a tongue, an upper palate, teeth, and a normal speaking voice can learn ventriloquism.
15As humans we like to laugh at our fears, we like to whistle in the dark.
16I've skewered whites, blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, gays, straights, rednecks, addicts, the elderly, and my wife. As a standup comic, it is my job to make sure the majority of people laugh, and I believe that comedy is the last true form of free speech.
17A comedian needs to have his own filters, needs to know his audience, how far he can push things.
18I try to make the majority of my audience laugh. That's my audience. They'll laugh at the dead terrorist.
19I'm a geek to the bone.


1His wife Audrey gave birth to twin boys (her 1st and 2nd children) at age 35, Jack Steven Dunham and James Jeffrey Dunham on October 11, 2015 in Los Angeles with 2 hours apart. The baby boys arrived the day before the couple's third anniversary.
2Has been performing ventriloquism since he was eight, and has never held a "real" job in his life.
3He owns the 1989 Batmobile from Tim Burton's Batman.
4When he was in the process of making Achmed, Jeff Dunham was originally going to call him Phil.
5Parents are Joyce Dunham and Howard Dunham.
6Received first puppet, at age 8. Was a Christmas gift from his parents.
7"Peanut" is his only puppet not hand made by himself.
8"Achmed, Jr." is often referred to as A.J.
9June 2009: His rep has confirmed that he and his wife are in the process of getting a divorce.
10Has three daughters: Bree Dunham(adopted), Ashlyn Dunham, and Kenna Dunham, all from his first marriage.
11Two of his characters are apparent homages to characters performed by previous famous ventriloquists. "Bubba J" strongly resembles Mortimer Snerd, performed by Edgar Bergen. "Jose the Jalapeno on a Stick," who has a face but no body, is similar to the disembodied head in a box performed by Señor Wences.
12An award-winning ventriloquist.




The Nut Job 22017filmingMole (voice)
Angie Tribeca2016TV SeriesFisher Price
Achmed Saves America2014VideoAchmed Bubba J Himself (voice)
The Nut Job2014/IMole (voice)
Big Top Scooby-Doo!2012VideoSchmatko / Conductor (voice)
From Up on Poppy Hill2011Gen (English version, voice)
Dinner for Schmucks2010Lewis the Ventriloquist
Sonny with a Chance2009TV SeriesJeff / Walter
30 Rock2009TV SeriesPumpkin
Delta Farce2007Amazing Ken
Blue Collar TV2005TV Series
One on One2003TV SeriesBenny / Kenny
She Spies2002TV SeriesElvis Presley Ventriloquist
Any Day Now2002TV SeriesVentriloquist
Ellen1996TV SeriesStarky & Gus
Hot Country Nights1991TV SeriesVentriloquist


Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood2015TV Movie
Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map2014TV Special
Achmed Saves America2014Video characters / creator
Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters2012TV Special
Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos2011TV Special
The Jeff Dunham ShowTV Series creator - 1 episode, 2009 writer - 1 episode, 2009
Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special2008TV Special documentary
Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity2007TV Special
Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself2006TV Special
Comedy Central Presents2003TV Series documentary writer - 2 episodes


Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map2014TV Special executive producer
Achmed Saves America2014Video executive producer
Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters2012TV Special executive producer
Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos2011TV Special executive producer
The Jeff Dunham Show2009TV Series executive producer - 1 episode
Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special2008TV Special documentary executive producer
Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity2007TV Special executive producer
Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself2006TV Special executive producer


Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special2008TV Special documentary lyrics: "Jingle Bombs" / performer: "Jingle Bombs", "Roadkill Christmas"

Art Department

Achmed Saves America2014Video original character design


Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map2014TV Special


The Biggest Schmucks in the World2011Video short special thanks
Mr. Chili: Too Hot for TV!2007Video short special thanks


60 Minutes Wednesday2005TV Series documentaryHimself - Ventriloquist (segment "Ventriloquist Convention")
TV Land's Top Ten2005TV Series documentaryHimself
Just for Laughs2005TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood Squares2004TV SeriesGuest Appearance
Comedy Central Presents2003TV Series documentaryHimself Melvin the Superhero Guy Peanut ...
The Test2001TV SeriesHimself - Panelist
The Rosie O'Donnell Show1998TV SeriesHimself
Xuxa1993TV SeriesHimself
Bob Hope and Other Young Comedians: The World Laughs, Young and Old1992TV SpecialHimself
Hot Country Nights1991-1992TV SeriesHimself
The Chuck Woolery Show1991TV SeriesHimself
Jonathan Winters and His Traveling Road Show1990TV MovieHimself
The Comedy Concert II1990TV MovieHimself
Halloween Baking Championship2016TV SeriesHimself - Host
Hell's Kitchen2016TV SeriesHimself - Restaurant Patron
Jay Leno's Garage2015TV Series documentaryHimself - Ventriloqust-Comedian
Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood2015TV MovieHimself Walter Bubba J ...
Today2014-2015TV SeriesHimself - Guest / Himself
Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map2014TV SpecialHimself Walter Bubba J ...
Late Show with David Letterman2006-2014TV SeriesHimself - Comedian / Himself - Guest / Ventriloquist Perfomer / ...
The O'Reilly Factor2012TV SeriesHimself
Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters2012TV SpecialHimself Achmed Jr. Walter ...
The Wendy Williams Show2012TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Fox and Friends2012TV SeriesHimself
The Batmobile2012TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno1996-2012TV SeriesHimself / Walter
Jeff Dunham: Birth of a Dummy2011TV SpecialHimself Walter Peanut ...
Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos2011TV SpecialHimself Walter Achmed the Dead Terrorist ...
The Biggest Schmucks in the World2011Video shortHimself
The 2010 American Country Awards2010TV SpecialHimself
The Jeff Dunham Show2009TV SeriesHimself Walter Achmed the Dead Terrorist ...
The Jay Leno Show2009TV SeriesHimself
I'm No Dummy2009DocumentaryHimself
Boogie2009TV SeriesHimself
Last Call with Carson Daly2009TV SeriesHimself
Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special2008TV Special documentaryHimself Walter Achmed the Dead Terrorist ...
Live at Gotham2008TV SeriesHimself
History of the Joke2008TV Movie documentaryHimself
Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity2007TV SpecialHimself Walter Achmed the Dead Terrorist ...
Mr. Chili: Too Hot for TV!2007Video shortHimself
Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself2006TV SpecialHimself Walter Sweet Daddy Dee ...

Archive Footage

CMT's Biggest Laughs2012TV MovieHimself - Comic / Walter
Aangenaam... Comedy 20092009VideoHimself


Won Awards

1998American Comedy AwardAmerican Comedy Awards, USAFunniest Male Stand-Up Comic

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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