John Challis net worth: Only Fools and Horses star worth millions ‘Actors don’t retire!’

John Challis attends Only Fools and Horses premiere in 2019

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Only Fools and Horses lost a legend on Sunday 19, September as John Challis’ death was announced. The actor, aged 79, died “peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer,” a statement read. Having portrayed the role of Terence in the hit BBC One comedy alongside David Jason right the way through to the final Christmas special in 2003, the actor has amassed a huge fortune after saving wisely throughout his career. 

John Challis’ net worth

According to, John Challis is worth $18 million (£13.1 million). 

John Challis’ early life and rise 

John was born in Bristol but at the age of one, his family moved to southeast London. 

He attended the state boarding Ottershaw School near Woking, Surrey and upon leaving school, he worked as a trainee estate agent before becoming a professional actor. 

John’s father was a civil servant from Sheffield while his mother, who had her own dreams of becoming an actress, oversaw plays for youth clubs.

John Challis’ acting career 

John was an accomplished character actor, personality and raconteur whose wide-ranging career went from classical roles on stage to heavies in television drama. 

He played a multitude of policemen, sitcom stardom, pantomime performances and even a one-man show. 

But John started off with a television role in the controversial gangster drama Big Breadwinner Hog in 1969 and between 1971 and 1975 he made regular appearances in Z-Cars as Sergeant Culshaw. 

His big break came in 1981 when he played Herman Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in Only Fools and Horses. 

The series’ writer John Sullivan also created a spin-off for John called The Green Green Grass. 

And the outdoor scenes in The Green Green Grass were filmed at John’s then home, surrounding fields and local villages.

Other television appearances include The Sweeney, Doctor Who, Dracula, Coronation Street, The Bill, Open All Hours, Soldier Soldier, Benidorm and Heartbeat. 

Challis has had a number of stage roles, including with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s and the National Theatre. 

He starred in pantomime at the Plaza Theatre in Stockport as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, a role he reprised in 2018 at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. 

John also appeared in pantomime at Weston Playhouse in winter 2011–12 playing Ebenezer in Aladdin and as King Rat in Dick Whittington at the Plaza Theatre in Stockport over Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014. 

In 2014, Challis began a theatre tour of his one-man show titled Only Fools and Boycie, which charted his life before, during and after his time as Boycie.

John Challis’ personal life 

John’s first wife was Jean Robertson, whom he married in 1964 until their divorce two years later. 

In 1981 he wed Debbie Arnold but that marriage only lasted four years until they divorced. 

In 1987 John walked down the aisle with Sabina Franklin but they divorced a year later. 

Then in 1995, John and Carol Davies got married. 

John has no children from any marriages and admitted his regret in 2001. 

He said: “I’d have liked to have had a daughter and I think we would have been good parents.

“It would have been nice to pass on all the stories and the experiences that I’ve had. Not that they’d take any bloody notice, of course. Like me.”

John seldom spoke about the money he made from his career, but in 2007, he spoke about his first wage packet and investing for the future. 

He told “My first wage as an actor was for a touring children’s theatre company. I earned £12 for 23 shows, which was really not enough but it was a long time ago. 

“However, it was more than I got in my very first job when I worked at an estate agents in Surrey. I earned £9 a week and was bored out of my mind.” 

And when asked about saving for retirement, John quipped: “Actors don’t really retire – although I have just turned 65.

“In the mid-Eighties, my accountant bullied me into putting some money away for my retirement. I’m so glad I listened to him because it now means I’ve got a bit more financial support than I’d otherwise have.” 

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