Don Novello, also known as Father Guido Sarducci, is an American comedian, writer and actor who has had a prolific career in television, film and stage performances. He is best known for his work on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he played the character Father Guido Sarducci from 1977 to 1980 and made occasional appearances until 1987.
With a career spanning over four decades in comedy and acting, Don Novello has amassed an impressive net worth. Here is an overview of Don Novello net worth, salary, and highlights from his prolific career.
|Full Name||Donald Andrew Novello|
|Popular Name||Father Guido Sarducci|
|Birth Date||January 1, 1943|
|Age||80 years old (as of August 15, 2023)|
|Parents||Eleanor Eileen Novello (née Finnerty), a nurse, and Augustine Joseph Novello, a physician|
|Siblings||Joseph Joe Novello|
|Birth Place||Ashtabula, Ohio, United States|
|Ethnicity||Italian and Irish descent|
|Education||Graduated from Lorain High School in 1961, University of Dayton in 1964, and the American Graduate School of International Management in 1965|
|Spouse||Kathleen Marie Dieterich (divorced)|
|Net Worth||$6 Million (as of 2023)|
|Source of Wealth||Acting, writing, directing, producing|
Don Novello Net Worth
According to various reputable sources, Don Novello’s net worth is estimated to be around $6 million as of 2023, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The majority of his net worth comes from his work as a comedian, writer, and actor in television, films, and on stage.
Though his annual salary and per-project fees are not publicly disclosed, it’s clear Novello has earned big paychecks from his diverse comedy and acting credits over the decades. Also, check out Carla Hall Net Worth.
Don Novello Salary Highlights
While Don Novello’s exact salary for his various projects is not known, we can estimates his earnings based on known salaries for comparable work:
- Saturday Night Live cast member: In the late 1970s when Novello was on SNL, cast members reportedly earned around $750 per episode. With over 20 episodes per season, Novello likely earned $15,000 or more per season.
- TV writer: Experienced TV writers today earn $25,000 to $40,000 per episode for sitcoms. Novello likely earned within this range for his writing on hit shows in the 1970s and 80s.
- Film actor: For comedic film roles, established actors can earn from the high six figures into the low millions. Novello likely earned at least a few hundred thousand dollars for his various film appearances over the years.
- Stand-up comedy: Top stand-up comedians can earn anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 for a single live performance today. In his comedy prime, Novello probably pulled in similarly impressive earnings.
Considering his long and successful career spanning different mediums, Don Novello has likely taken home paychecks in the millions across all of his creative roles in the entertainment industry.
Don Novello Career Highlights
Work on Saturday Night Live
Don Novello‘s big break came in 1977 when he was hired as a writer and cast member on NBC’s Saturday Night Live during its second season. He was brought on primarily to play the role of Father Guido Sarducci, a chain-smoking priest with an thick Italian accent who offered comedic commentary and gossip from Vatican City.
Father Guido Sarducci became an instant fan favorite and Novello continued playing him on SNL through 1980. He made occasional guest appearances reprising the character through 1987. As one of the most memorable and iconic SNL characters of the late 1970s, Father Guido Sarducci remains Novello’s most well-known creation.
Stand-Up Comedy as Father Guido Sarducci
After leaving SNL, Don Novello took Father Guido Sarducci on the road, performing stand-up comedy shows in character around the U.S. and internationally. He performed hundreds of live shows as Sarducci throughout the 1980s and 90s, eventually releasing several comedy albums including:
- Breakfast in Heaven (1980)
- The Vatican Doesn’t Issue Newspapers (1982)
- Virgin Vinyl (1987)
- Live at St. Douglas Convent (1990)
Novello also made TV specials like Father Guido Sarducci’s First Annual End of the World Christmas Comedy Special (1985) when he wasn’t touring live shows. Bringing Sarducci to live audiences proved to be a successful career move and offered a constant source of income outside of film and TV roles.
In addition to his SNL fame, Don Novello has built an impressive resume of roles in hit films such as:
- The Lazarus Syndrome (1980) – Novello wrote and starred in this comedy feature film about a man who fakes his own death.
- Casino (1995) – Novello had a brief but memorable role as a money delivery man in Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed crime drama.
- The Godfather Part III (1990) – He played the role of Archbishop Gilday in one of the most iconic film franchises.
- New York Stories (1989) – Novello again worked with Scorsese, appearing in his segment of this anthology film.
- Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968) – One of his early film roles alongside comedy legends Phil Silvers and Peter Lawford.
Proving his versatility on screen, Novello has shown up in everything from broad comedies to dark, dramatic thriller films over his long career.
While best known as a performer, Don Novello also has extensive experience as a writer for hit TV shows. Some of his writing credits include:
- The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1968-1969) – Novello got his start as one of the original writers on this groundbreaking variety show.
- The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show (1974-1975) – He was a writer on Sid and Marty Krofft’s popular Saturday morning children’s series.
- Saturday Night Live (1977-1980) – In addition to his acting roles, Novello wrote episodes of SNL during his time as a cast member.
- Casablanca (1983) – He wrote 3 episodes for this short-lived NBC drama series based on the classic film.
Proving he could deliver witty content behind the camera as well as on screen, Novello flexed his writing chops across comedy and drama shows over the decades.
Don Novello News and Recent Projects
While his peak fame occurred back in his Saturday Night Live days, Don Novello has remained active with sporadic film and TV roles over the years. Some recent projects of note include:
- Mob Street (2004) – Novello appeared alongside other SNL alums in this mafia-themed comedy film.
- Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011) – He had a brief cameo as a priest in this critically-panned comedy.
- Chapelle’s Show (2004) – Novello resurrected Father Guido Sarducci for a guest appearance in a sketch.
- The Joneses (2009) – He played another comedic priest role in this satirical film about consumer culture.
Now in his late 70s, Novello works less frequently, but does occasional voice acting and still performs live shows reprising Father Guido Sarducci. He also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015 to develop a documentary film about the character’s history and impact.
While his peak popularity and earnings came during his initial SNL run, Novello has maintained a consistent presence in comedy over the past 40+ years. His reputation and ability to resurrect Sarducci have allowed him to continue earning income well into his later career.
5 Frequently Asked Questions About Don Novello’s Net Worth
What is Don Novello’s most famous character?
By far, Novello’s most famous creation is Father Guido Sarducci from Saturday Night Live. As an unlikely comedic figure delivering commentary supposedly from the Vatican, the chain-smoking priest became a quick fan favorite when Novello debuted him on SNL in 1977. Father Guido Sarducci remains closely associated with Novello over 40 years later.
How much did Don Novello make per SNL episode?
Though his exact SNL salary is unknown, reports indicate the show paid its cast members around $750 per episode in the late 1970s when Novello was a regular. With over 20 episodes per season during his main run from 1977-1980, Novello likely took home at least $15,000 per season from SNL alone.
What movies was Don Novello in?
Some of the most noteworthy films featuring Don Novello include The Godfather Part III, Casino, New York Stories, The Lazarus Syndrome, and Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell. Novello has shown his versatility by appearing in acclaimed dramas, edgy crime films, and broader comedies over the years.
Is Don Novello still performing?
Now in his late 70s, Novello works less often but still takes occasional acting and voice roles. He also still performs live shows as Father Guido Sarducci, reprising his iconic character for loyal fans. Though his peak activity and earnings came decades ago during his SNL fame, Novello has maintained a steady presence in entertainment throughout his long career.
After rising to fame playing Father Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live, Don Novello carved out an impressive career in television and film. Though he is now in his late 70s and works more sporadically, Novello will always be remembered for bringing to life one of SNL’s most memorable characters. His body of work demonstrates his versatility and longevity in generating laughter across mediums for over four decades.
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