How Much Is Neil Patrick Harris Really Worth?

You may know Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson or Doogie Howser or even Hedwig Robinson — and all of his hard work portraying some of our favorite characters has contributed to his net worth of $50 million, as estimated by Celebrity Net Worth. While the majority of Harris' earnings have come from various acting endeavors on the small screen, the big screen, and the stage, Harris has also been involved in producing television shows, directing plays, and voice acting. Along with these various Hollywood endeavors, he has profited from writing best-selling books, participating in ad campaigns, and even creating a couple of board games.

Before the age of 50, Harris managed to break into an impressive number of creative industries — and he does not show any signs of stopping. Keep reading to learn about how Harris has been adding to his remarkable net worth since he was a teenager.

The humble early life of Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris was born on June 15, 1973, in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Sheila and Ronald Harris, lawyers who ran a restaurant on the side (via Closer Weekly). In his book, "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography," Harris shares that as a child, he had a fascination with magic that was largely influenced by his grandfather, who used to take him to a magic store in Albuquerque and teach him tricks.

The book also explains that Harris' very first acting gig came about when he was 10 years old and landed the role of Toto in a local high school's production of "The Wizard of Oz.". "You love it. Love, love, love it. Everything about it," Harris writes of the experience. "From that moment on, you never have to be persuaded to do anything that might result in a bunch of strangers applauding you."

Neil Patrick Harris' acting career took off when he was a teenager

As New York Magazine reported back in 2009, Neil Patrick Harris was discovered by Mark Medoff, a playwright best known for his work in "Children of a Lesser God," while attending drama camp as a teenager. Even though some may assume that "Doogie Howser, M.D." was Harris' debut, his actual first professional acting role was in "Clara's Heart," a 1988 movie in which Harris starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg. That same year, he acted in "Purple People Eater," a film based on, of course, the "one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater" from Sheb Wooley's famous song.

In 1989, when he was just 14, Harris landed his breakthrough role as a 16-year-old boy genius practicing medicine in "Doogie Howser, M.D." The series, which ran for four seasons and aired, won the People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy Series in 1990 and brought Harris his own first two awards — the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series and the People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series.

From Rent to Into the Woods, Neil Patrick Harris has found success on and off Broadway

Shortly after "Doogie Howser, M.D." ended, Neil Patrick Harris worked on a handful of made-for-television films like "A Family Torn Apart," "Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story," and "My Antonia" before finally taking his acting to a professional stage.

Harris' very first role in the theater was playing Mark Cohen in Los Angeles' 1997 production of "Rent" (via Playbill). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Harris ended up taking home a Drama-League Award for his work on "Rent" within the same year the show opened. "Rent" helped get the actor's foot in the door in terms of professional theater, and his acting career in plays took off from there. Soon after "Rent," Harris starred in "Romeo and Juliet" and concert performances of "Sweeney Todd" before gaining his first Broadway credit acting as Hal in "Proof."

Since then, he has acted in a number of stage performances — such as "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Into the Woods" — and directed three separate plays, according to the American Theatre Wing. He's also hosted the Tony Awards four times, which he's said is much different than acting. "Being able to hide within a character is such a vastly different thing than presenting yourself as yourself," he told Backstage. What's interesting about the hosting gig is that when you succeed as a host, you become more of a personality, an affable person that's trusted as a conduit for other things."

His sustained role in How I Met Your Mother added greatly to his salary

On September 9, 2005, "How I Met Your Mother" premiered on CBS. In the show, Neil Patrick Harris played Barney Stinson, a character known for being a sort of Casanova playboy. As he shared with GQ in August 2022, Harris originally didn't think he was going to land the role of Stinson and even when he did, he didn't think the show would make it past a pilot.

"I thought ['How I Met Your Mother'] was a terrible title when you have 'Friends' and 'Three's Company,' you know, something that looks good on a cap," Harris said. "I thought it would just be a pilot and would never go because of the title. Who names a show 'How I Met Your Mother?' There's not even any rhyming to it, [it's] like a bunch of basic words put together as a sentence. It's not a title, but I digress."

Even though he was skeptical at first, Harris stayed on the show for all nine seasons, until its finale in 2014. And, according to Forbes, Harris was raking in an outstanding $400,000 per episode in the show's final season, which contained 24 episodes.

Neil Patrick Harris' filmography spans many genres

Since first making it big as a teenager, Neil Patrick Harris has acted in dozens of movies that cover a large range of genres. Notably, Harris played an exaggerated, drug-addicted, womanizing version of himself in the cult-classic Harold & Kumar films. Also, he starred as Patrick Winslow in "The Smurfs" and "The Smurfs 2," which combined grossed over $910 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Apart from these film series, Harris had a supporting role in the Western comedy "A Million Ways to Die in the West." He also starred alongside Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens in "Beastly" and surprised fans with a more dramatic role in David Fincher's "Gone Girl." In the 2014 thriller, Harris plays Desi Collings, protagonist Amy Dunne's ex-boyfriend, which proved to be drastically different from his previous roles.

"To go from a Barney Stinson to a Hedwig Schmidt to a Desi Collings — those are three totally different people, which requires a whole different way of behaving and standing and talking from me," Harris told The Guardian in an interview.

Voice acting has long been one of his successful pastimes

He's the face of Barney Stinson and Doogie Howser, but did you know that Neil Patrick Harris has also been voicing iconic characters since he was a teenager? His career in voice acting began in 1991 when he voiced "TV Bart Simpson" on an episode in the third season of "The Simpsons" (via Behind the Voice Actors). After that, he went on to voice TV characters like Max in "Capitol Critters," Spider-Man (and, in turn, Peter Parker) in "Spider-Man: The New Animated Series," and other roles in shows like "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," "Justice League," and "Robot Chicken."

Along with this, Harris has voice acted for films like the first and second "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" movies, "Justice League: The New Frontier," and "Batman: Under the Red Hood." He's even done work for video games like "Saints Row 2," "Saints Row IV," and "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions."

In 2014, Neil Patrick Harris married fellow actor David Burtka

In 2003, Neil Patrick Harris — who was working as Emcee in Broadway's "Cabaret" — met David Burtka, an actor and chef who was working on the Sam Mendes revival of "Gypsy," the pair wrote in a 2012 essay for Out Magazine. The two revealed that they both shared a fairly immediate attraction, but Burtka was in a long-distance relationship at the time. Eventually, Burtka and this partner broke up and he and Harris went on a movie date the very next week. From then on, the couple was inseparable.

"We started hanging out every single night, and after three months, it was just non-stop," Burtka revealed. "We talk on the phone at least eight times a day and text at least 25 times a day. We are, in a way, very codependent. He's my lifeline, in an amazing way. Without him, I can't breathe."

The couple got married in September 2014, making their current combined net worth $53 million as, according to Celebrity Net Worth Burtka's solo net worth is $3 million.

He played Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events for three seasons

Netflix premiered "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which is based on the Lemony Snicket novels of the same name, in January 2017. Within the series, Neil Patrick Harris starred as Count Olaf, the guardian of the three Baudelaire kids. As Count Olaf, Harris sings and dances while acting as the story's villain.

On why he enjoyed this role, Harris told Variety that he appreciates a good challenge. "I pride myself of being an actor who's more of a technician than someone who's more method. I really like being on set filming and getting the prosthetics on and colors and the paints. I like tech rehearsal. I like all of us working together and to make something cool," Harris said.

The show lasted three seasons, and even though Harris hasn't specifically disclosed how much money he made while working on the show, it stands to reason he made a pretty penny. After all, he was pulling in $400,000 per "How I Met Your Mother" episode in 2014 (via Forbes).

Neil Patrick Harris has written multiple books

Neil Patrick Harris' creative ventures don't stop at acting — in 2014, he broke into the book publishing world with "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography," published by Crown Archetype. Within this book, Harris details his life story in an original, playful way and allows the reader to navigate their way through the events and decisions that have made up his life. The book does a deep dive into major life events as well as some stories that the public probably isn't aware of, such as Harris' experience taking psychedelics as a 20-something-year-old and his bond with the iconic Elton John (via The Wall Street Journal).

Along with his autobiography, Harris published a middle-grade series called "The Magic Misfits" made up of four books. The series is about friendship, magic, and adventure, and the first book was published in 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

"I think because I have such weird likes that kind of run all over the place, putting together a middle grade fiction series was exactly where my brain often sits," Harris told WBUR in 2019. "I had just finished and was doing 'A Series of Unfortunate Events,' Daniel Handler's series that he penned as Lemony Snicket and I recognized his ability to not only tell a very thrilling story but to be able to impart interesting sentence structure and a sense of humor and a vocabulary, so there was some education involved."

He has two board games and two game shows under his belt

As a longtime gamer, Neil Patrick Harris is the perfect type of person to create a game of his own, and it turns out he's done just that — twice! Working with Theory11, the self-proclaimed largest producer of luxury, designer playing cards, Harris released two puzzle board games, Amazed and Box One.

Apart from his board games, Harris has taken his gaming hobby to the small screen through two game shows. The first, "Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris," premiered on NBC in September 2015. The series, which only lasted for eight episodes, was inspired by the United Kingdom's "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway." Three years later, Harris took his shot at a game show again with "Genius Juniors." This series, which also premiered on NBC, celebrated and challenged some seriously smart kids, according to IMDb. Unfortunately, "Genius Juniors" had a similar fate to "Best Time Ever" and only lasted one season.

The Harlem brownstone Harris and Burtka sold brought in nearly $7 million

Neil Patrick Harris has purchased and sold a number of extravagant properties throughout the course of his life. In 2014, for instance, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Harris was selling his six-bedroom, five-bathroom Sherman Oaks, California home for nearly $3 million. While the official sale price was never released, TMZ reported that the home was sold for more than its listing price.

In 2013, Harris and then-boyfriend David Burtka purchased an 8,000-square-foot Harlem townhouse for $3.6 million (via Architectural Digest). Four years later, the couple also bought a 13.5-acre property in East Hampton for $5.5 million, according to Architectural Digest.

While Harris has spent millions on properties, he has also made millions in real estate. In August 2022, The New York Post reported that the couple listed their beautiful Harlem brownstone for a record-breaking price of $6.99 million, making the East Hampton home their primary residence.

He has worked on a number of ad campaigns

Since his acting career really took off, Neil Patrick Harris has worked on a variety of advertisement campaigns. Back in 2014, for instance, Harris worked with American Airlines on a promotion that played off of the airline's impressive history. That same year, that Harris signed a contract making him the face of Heineken Light beer for 18 months, The New York Times reported. In late 2021, he worked with Nintendo on an ad campaign that featured him being beat at Super Mario Kart by his children, Harper and Gideon. As he shared with People, working with Nintendo gained Harris kudos with his two video game-loving kids.

In 2022, HelloFresh, a popular meal-kit delivery service, partnered with Harris and husband David Burtka. As Business Wire reported, Burtka created a series of recipes, like Cheesy Chicken and Bean Enchiladas with Tomato Rice, Pico de Gallo, and Lime Crema and Herb-Roasted Chicken Legs with Brown Butter Veggies and Rice that HelloFresh customers can order.

"Whether we're planning dinner for the twins or entertaining friends, HelloFresh has something for everyone, any night of the week, no matter how busy our schedules are!" Burtka said of the partnership. As Harris explained, "Our lives move a million miles a minute so finding time together as a family or with our friends — ideally over a meal — is super important to us."

Neil Patrick Harris has been known to donate money to many different charity organizations

When he isn't acting (or singing or directing or hosting or writing or doing one of the many things he's found success in), Neil Patrick Harris is known to dabble in philanthropy. He has donated some of his money to a long list of charitable organizations. 

These organizations include the American Cancer Society, Feeding America, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and many more. And, as The Observer reported back in December 2019, Harris once fundraised over $400,000 for Rethink Food NYC, a nonprofit that strives to "create a more sustainable and equitable food system," per their website.

That same year, Harris spoke with Upworthy, a website devoted to telling positive stories, about his passion for giving. "I'm interested in knowing what organizations are actually giving a large percentage of what they get back to the actual charity itself," he said. "And then getting to know the people behind the charity. I'm kind of a stickler for authenticity in that way."