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Jerry Butler Facts

From “The Iceman” to “The Voice” – Discovering the Fascinating Journey of Jerry Butler


Jerry Butler is a name that resonates with music lovers worldwide. With a career spanning over 60 years, he has enthralled audiences with his velvety baritone voice, charming personality and captivating stage presence. From his early days as a founding member of the legendary R&B group, The Impressions, to his successful solo career and philanthropic endeavors, Jerry Butler has left an indelible mark on the music industry. In this article, we delve deeper into the life of this iconic singer, exploring his personal and professional milestones, his top hits, his net worth, and much more.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Jerry Butler was born on December 8, 1939, in Sunflower, Mississippi. His family moved to Chicago when he was just a few months old, where he grew up in the Cabrini-Green housing complex. Jerry started singing at an early age, and by the time he was a teenager, he had joined the Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers. In 1957, at the age of 18, Butler co-founded The Impressions with fellow Cabrini-Green residents Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden, Fred Cash and Richard Brooks. The group became a sensation, and their debut hit, “For Your Precious Love,” went on to become an R&B classic.

Personal Life

Jerry Butler has been married twice in his lifetime. His first marriage was to Betty Johnson, and they had two children together: Cheryl and Tony. His second marriage was to Annette Helton in 1960, and they have four children: Jerry Jr., Eric, Tonya and Joshua.

Career Highlights

The Impressions

As a founding member of The Impressions, Jerry Butler established himself as one of the most distinctive and talented singers of the early R&B era. With hits such as “Gypsy Woman,” “Amen” and “People Get Ready,” the group became known for their socially conscious lyrics and smooth harmonies. In 1958, Jerry left the group to pursue a solo career.

Solo Career

Jerry Butler signed with Vee-Jay Records in 1958 and began churning out a series of successful singles. His solo hits included “He Will Break Your Heart,” “Moon River,” “Make It Easy On Yourself” and “Only the Strong Survive.” He also collaborated with Gamble and Huff on the hit single “Ain’t Understanding Mellow” and recorded duets with Brenda Lee Eager, such as “Ain’t That Loving You Baby.”

Television and Film Work

Jerry Butler’s musical talent was not limited to singing. He also ventured into television and film work, hosting and appearing in music-related shows such as “Soul Train” and “The Jerry Butler Show.” In addition, he acted in movies, including the renowned blaxploitation film “Three the Hard Way.”

Height and Net Worth

Jerry Butler stands at an impressive 6’2”. His net worth is estimated at $8 million, earned from his long and illustrious career in music and entertainment.


Jerry Butler has devoted a significant part of his life to philanthropy and community work. He served as a Cook County Board Commissioner from 1985 to 2018, advocating for the rights of low-income families, HIV/AIDS awareness, and issues facing ex-offenders. He also founded the Jerry Butler Scholarship Endowment and has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 1972.


Jerry Butler’s career has spanned over six decades, and yet he continues to captivate audiences worldwide with his timeless hits and remarkable talent. His personal and professional milestones make him a role model and an inspiration to millions of people, especially in Chicago and the African American community. Jerry Butler’s legacy has cemented him as one of the all-time greats in the music industry, and his contributions and philanthropy continue to make him a beloved figure to all who know him.

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