Jerry Buss

Jerry Buss: Lakers, Wives & Net Worth

Gerald Hatten Buss, known as Jerry Buss, was one of the owners of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks.

Besides being a sports team owner, he was also an American businessman, chemist, real estate investor, poker player, and philanthropist.

This multi-talent legend is not with us anymore, but his great work will always remind us of him.

Owner of NBA Lakers, Jerry Buss
Owner of NBA Lakers, Jerry Buss

Furthermore, Jerry was also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Well, without much revealing, let us jump right into the deep biography of Jerry Buss, starting with some quick facts.

Quick Facts: Jerry Buss

Celebrated Name Jerry Buss
Date of Birth January 27, 1933
Date of Death February 18, 2013
Nick Name Jerry
Birth Name Gerald Hatten Buss
Age 80 years old (at the time of death)
Gender Male
Profession Businessman, Investor, Chemist, Poker Player, and Philanthropist
Place of Birth Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Horoscope Aquarius
Marital Status Divorced
Spouse JoAnn Mueller (Former)
Children Six Children
Father Lydus Buss
Mother Jessie Buss
Siblings Jeanie Buss and Johnny Buss
Known For Owner of the Los Angeles Sparks and Los Angeles Lakers
Religion Christianity
Height 5 feet 8 inches, i.e., 178cm
Weight 81kg, i.e., 178 pounds
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Dark Brown
Net Worth $600 Million (at the time of death)
Source of Income High Jumping Athletism
Cause of Death Kidney Failure
Education University of Wyoming
University of Southern California
Social Media Not Available
Merch of Los Angeles Lakers Signed Jerseys, Signed Cards, Signed Basketballs
Last Update April, 2024

Early Life and Family of Jerry Buss

Gerald Hatten Buss, an American businessman, investor, chemist, and philanthropist, was born on January 27, 1933. 

Buss grew up in the beautiful city of Salt Lake City, Utah, the United States of America, along with his father, Lydus Buss, and mother, Jessie Buss.

After his parents’ divorce, he moved to Los Angeles with his mother at the age of nine.

Moreover, his father was an accountant at Berkeley who taught statistics.

Her mother, Jessie, remarried after three years of moving to Los Angeles, and again, they had to move to Kemmerer, Wyoming. 

Jerry was a sharp and intelligent boy from an early age who attended the University of Wyoming with a scholarship.

In 1953, Buss graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Chemistry in only two and a half years.

Similarly, to continue his education, he moved back to Los Angeles and joined the University of Southern California (USC).

The businessman completed his education with a degree in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at 24 in 1957.

After his academics, Jerry began working as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines then at the aerospace industry on the faculty of USC’s chemistry department.

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Age and Body Measurements

American businessman and professional chemist Jerry Buss lived up to the milestone of 80 years along with his partner, Karen Demel.

Buss celebrated his birthday on the 27th of January, and his zodiac sign was Aquarius, which represented his personality as creative, talented, advanced, and hardworking.

Talking about the body measurement of this businessman, Buss stood tall with an average body height of 5 feet 8 inches, i.e., 178cm.

Similarly, Buss weighed around 81kg, i.e., 178 pounds.

Jerry Buss with Kobe Bryant
Jerry Buss with Kobe Bryant

However, at the age of 80, Buss was still an active person who owned a professional basketball team and contributed to several sports franchises.

Jerry was blessed with a pair of brown eyes and dark brown hair color.

Early Business Career 

As a brilliant student and talented person, he was pretty good at doing business and investing in real estate.

Initially, he entered the real estate business with $1,000 in the 1960s in West Los Angeles.

Luckily, Buss got a rapid and massive success in real estate investment and earned good money from it.

In 1974, Jerry also became a producer for the movie “Black Eye” with Fred “the Hammer” Williamson star.

Along with his business partner, Frank Mariani, he formed a real estate investment company, Mariani-Buss Associates.

With an active income from real estate, he even purchased Pickfair, the Beverly Hills estate in 1979, which Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks once owned.

However, Buss sold the property in 1987. 

Furthermore, this businessman has also owned the Playboy Club of the Phoenix.

Sports Team Owner

Jerry Buss began to appear on the media worldwide after he became the owner of the Los Angeles Strings. 

Businessman Buss purchased the professional basketball team, Los Angeles Lakers, and the professional hockey team, Los Angeles Kings Hockey, and The Forum, with $67.5 million in 1979.

However, Buss sold the Los Angeles Kings Hockey to Bruce NcNall in 1988.

Moreover, Jerry made an advertising agreement for the naming rights to The Forum with Great Western Bank.

In 1996, after the formation of the WNBA, Jerry took charge of the Los Angeles franchise, the Los Angeles Sparks.

Later in 1999, all three teams of Buss moved into a modern arena as the Staples Center.

For that, he also had to sell the Great Western Forum.

Nevertheless, during his tenure as ownership, The Lakers were a successful team with ten NBA Championships.

Lakers had great players like Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Pau Gasol, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant

Along with the Lakers, he also won two WNBA championships with Lisa Leslie, DeLisha Milton-Jones, and Tameka Dixon.

Jerry Buss a proud owner of NBA Lakers
Jerry Buss, a proud owner of NBA Lakers

Not to mention, this millionaire and businessman had also owned the Los Angeles Lazers of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

With his huge contribution to the basketball industry, he was honored at the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

And he was also awarded the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1983.

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Poker Career of Jerry Buss

As a millionaire businessman and real estate investor, Jerry was also fond of playing poker.

Buss not only played poker for fun, but he also made a career in poker games as he participated in the 1991 World Series of Poker Tournament.

During the tournament, he became the third-best finish.

Similarly, in the 2003 World Poker Tour, Jerry Buss came in second place.

Furthermore, this poker player also appeared in the GSN series High Stakes Poker and the NBC late-night series Poker After Dark.


Buss was a kind-hearted and humble person who liked helping people and believed in donating.

In January 2008, Jerry Buss donated a massive amount of $7.5 million to USC.

In addition, the fund was used for two endowed chairs and an endowed scholarship fund for students with a chemistry degree. 

The two endowed chairs were named after his mentors at USC, professor David Dows and Sidney Benson.

Moreover, he also became an inaugural member of the USC College Board of Councilors.

As an owner of the Lakers, one of the players, Walt Hazzard, who suffered a catastrophic heart stroke in 1996, Jerry Buss looked after his expenses, saying that he is an employee of the Lakers.

Even though after the death of Hazzard in 2011, he was still an employee of the Lakers.

Personal Life of Jerry Buss

Jerry Buss was a kind-hearted and humble human being who is no longer with us; however, his children represent him, who works in the Lakers organization.

Buss married JoAnn Mueller and had four children; Johnny Buss in 1957, Jim Buss in 1959, Jeanie Buss in 1961, and Janie Buss in 1964.

Sadly, the couple couldn’t last forever and got divorced in 1972.

After the divorce, Jerry started dating Karen Demel, with whom he had two more children, Joey Buss in 1985 and Jesse Buss in 1988.

He had a string of young girlfriends and was also known as a playboy during his young and adult age.

Buss with his daughter holding star award
Buss with his daughter holding star award

In 1990, Puppi Buss mentioned that Jerry was having an on-and-off relationship with Buss for 15 years.

Similarly, on May 29, 2007, he was caught by California Highway Patrol officers for citation of driving under the influence.

Moreover, the officers saw his golden Mercedes-Benz on the wrong side of the road.

After the test, he was found intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of over 0.08 percentage and was taken into custody.

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How did Jerry Buss die?

Jerry Buss began to face some intestinal problems in 2012 and was hospitalized for months.

Due to his bad health condition, he couldn’t attend the game of Lakers during the 2012-13 season.

Before his death on February 14, 2013, doctors revealed that Buss was battling cancer since 2012.

To be exact, Buss passed away at 5:55 a.m. on February 18, 2013, because of kidney failure.

To pay tribute towards the legendary human being, Jerry Buss, hundreds of his friends, relatives, colleagues gathered at the Nokia Theatre L.A. 

On February 22, he was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in a private ceremony.

Moreover, many big athletes, including Kobe Bryant, said a positive message about Buss as “the Greatest Owner in sports ever.”

After his death, 66% of Lakers ownership was handed over to his six children, with 11% for each child.

Since March 27, 2017, Lakers is watched over by his daughter, Jeanie.

Jerry Buss: Net Worth

You might already have assumed that this businessman and owner of an NBA basketball team is a multi-millionaire.

Jerry Buss had a massive net worth of around $600 million.

As a multi-talented and multi-professional, he had several different sources of income generation.

Today, the value of the Lakers is up to $1 Billion as one of the most valuable sports franchises.

Social Media Presence

Unfortunately, Buss is not available on any social media platforms as he passed away earlier before the rise of social platforms.


How and when did Jerry Buss die?

Jerry Buss died of kidney failure on February 18, 2013.

What are the sports teams Jerry owned?

Jerry was the owner of Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), Los Angeles Kings Hockey (NHL), and The Forum.

What level of academic qualifications did Buss achieve?

Buss achieved M.S. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California at 24. 

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