HomeBiographyDick Butkus Biography, Age, Family, Wife, Career, Injury, Net Worth, Cause of...

Dick Butkus Biography, Age, Family, Wife, Career, Injury, Net Worth, Cause of Death, and More

Dick Butkus an American football linebacker, sports commentator, and actor, showcased his skills on the football field as a member of the Chicago Bears in the National Football League from 1965 to 1973.



Height- 1.91 m

Weight- 111 kg

Full name-Richard Marvin Butkus

Born-9 December 1942

Birthplace-Chicago, Illinois, United States

Died: 5 October 2023

Death place- Malibu, California, United States

Spouse-Helen Essenberg (m. 1963)

Profession-American football linebacker


Dates joined- 1965 (Chicago Bears), 1962 (Illinois Fighting Illini football)


Butkus was born in Chicago, being the youngest among eight siblings. His father, John, was a Lithuanian immigrant who worked as an electrician for the Pullman-Standard railroad car manufacturing company, despite speaking limited English. His mother, Emma, dedicated 50 hours a week to a laundry job. Growing up in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood on the South Side, Butkus held the distinction of being the first child in the family to be born in a hospital. He entered the world as a very healthy baby, weighing 13 pounds 6 ounces (6.1 kg) at birth.


Butkus tied the knot with his high school sweetheart, Helen Essenberg, in 1963 during their time as students at the University of Illinois. Following his retirement, he relocated to Florida and eventually settled in Malibu, California.

Dick Butkus wife-children


Butkus was a father to three children: Ricky, Matt, and Nikki. Matt pursued college football as a defensive lineman for the USC Trojans and actively participated in philanthropic initiatives alongside his father. Butkus’s nephew, Luke Butkus, has served as an assistant coach in the NFL for teams like the Bears, Seattle Seahawks, and Jacksonville Jaguars. He also coached for his alma mater, the University of Illinois, and as of 2023, he holds the position of offensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers. Additionally, Butkus’s grandson, Ian Parish, is a volleyball player for the UCLA Bruins.


Playing Career

He received invitations to eight Pro Bowls, earned first-team All-Pro honors six times, and was twice named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by his peers. Butkus was renowned for his fierce tackling and unwavering determination, making him one of the most intimidating linebackers in professional football history.

Born in Chicago, Butkus spent his entire football career in his home state of Illinois, starting at Chicago Vocational High School. He played as a linebacker and center for the Illinois Fighting Illini, where he became a two-time consensus All-American. Butkus led the Illini to a Rose Bowl victory in 1963 and was named the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference. His outstanding performance earned him the title of college football’s Lineman of the Year in 1964, leading to his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

Selected as the third overall pick by the Bears in the 1965 NFL Draft, Butkus quickly gained recognition for his ability to force turnovers. Throughout his NFL career, he intercepted 22 passes, recovered 27 fumbles (a record at the time of his retirement), and caused numerous fumbles with his powerful tackles. His tackling prowess earned him both respect and fear from opponents. According to Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, Butkus was a “well-conditioned animal” who aimed to incapacitate his opponents on the field. In 2009, the NFL Network honored Butkus as the most feared tackler of all time.

Butkus is credited with defining the middle linebacker position and continues to be the benchmark against which other middle linebackers are measured. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, and his No. 51 jersey was retired by the Bears. After retiring from professional football, Butkus pursued careers in acting, sports commentary, and celebrity endorsements. He also remained active in philanthropy through the Butkus Foundation, managing various charitable causes.

Dick Butkus career

Film Career

Following his playing career, Butkus transitioned into the entertainment industry, becoming a prominent celebrity endorser, broadcaster, and actor. He appeared in a variety of films, including “The Longest Yard” (1974), “Cry, Onion!” (1975), “Mother, Jugs & Speed” (1976), “Gus” (1976), “Superdome” (1978), “Cracking Up” (1983), “Johnny Dangerously” (1984), “Hamburger: The Motion Picture” (1986), “The Stepford Children” (1987), “Spontaneous Combustion” (1990), “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” (1990), “Necessary Roughness” (1991), and “Any Given Sunday” (1999). He also became a regular character on TV shows such as “Blue Thunder,” “My Two Dads,” “Vega$,” “MacGyver,” and “Hang Time,” and made appearances on “Murder, She Wrote.” In addition to his roles in movies and television, Butkus portrayed himself in the critically acclaimed TV movie “Brian’s Song” (1971) and the 2002 comedy “Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” He played Officer Alvin Dimsky in “Cass Malloy,” the 1982 CBS pilot that later became the syndicated sitcom “She’s the Sheriff,” and made cameo appearances in episodes of various television shows. In 2005, Butkus took on the role of head football coach at Montour High School in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, as part of the ESPN reality series Bound for Glory. He led the team through a challenging season, achieving a 1–6 record, before leaving the position with two games still left in the season. His departure coincided with the completion of his contractual obligations for the show.

Dick Butkus Injury

Injuries sustained during Butkus’s playing career took a toll on his health over time. He underwent a knee replacement with a metal unit and an osteotomy, which left one of his legs 1.5 inches shorter than the other, leading to issues with his hips, back, and neck. Around 2002, nerve damage in his spine caused foot drop, limiting his mobility. His hands also weakened, requiring both to lift even a simple coffee cup. Despite these challenges, Butkus remained steadfast in his belief that football had a predominantly positive impact on his life, emphasizing its enduring benefits.

In August 2001, Butkus underwent quintuple bypass surgery to address arterial blockages. Following the surgery, he collaborated with Dr. Lawrence J. Santora, the physician who performed the procedure, to co-author a book titled “The OC Cure For Heart Disease.”

Net Worth 2023

At the time of his passing, Dick Butkus had accumulated a net worth of $18 million.

Cause of Death

A legendary NFL player, who came to epitomize his position, peacefully passed away in his sleep at home overnight.

Butkus, the renowned middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears, whose remarkable speed and fierceness became the benchmark for the position in the modern era, passed away, as announced by the team on Thursday. He was 80 years old.

Dick Butkus death reason

As per the team’s statement, Butkus’s family confirmed that he peacefully passed away in his sleep overnight at his residence in Malibu, California.

During his illustrious career, Butkus earned first-team All-Pro honors five times and received Pro Bowl recognition in eight out of his nine seasons, until a knee injury compelled him to retire at the age of 31. He embodied the essence of the Monster of the Midway and was rightfully inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, becoming eligible in his very first year. He remains widely regarded as one of the most exceptional defensive players in the history of the league.

Akhil Rawat
Akhil Rawathttps://indiasmagazine.com
I'm a passionate digital marketing expert and content journalist with 6+ years of experience in covering the latest news about the world’s most famous personalities.

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