Sheryl Leach is an American author and television show creator who has a net worth of $20 million. She is best known for creating the popular children’s show Barney & Friends. Leach created Barney the Dinosaur in the mid-1980s. She created Barney to keep her son, Patrick, who was a preschooler at the time, entertained.
Leach was previously a school teacher in Dallas when she officially created the kid-friendly dinosaur in 1988. Barney is considered one of the most popular children’s television shows and a top-selling children’s brand worldwide. Among other honors, Leach has been nominated for the 20th and 23rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.
Sheryl Lyna Stamps Leach was born in Athens, Texas on December 31, 1952. Leach graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She then went to study at Texas A&M University, where she earned a master’s degree in bilingual education and later an honorary doctorate from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Leach began her career as a teacher in Texas. She then started working at Developmental Learning Materials, a local family-run business. However, she left her job after giving birth to her son. After a while, she realized she needed something to distract her enthusiastic 2-year-old son, Patrick.
Leach eventually made a plan to create an animal that would entertain children. She chose dinosaurs since they were her son’s favorite prehistoric creatures. Leach was eventually given a friendly, pear-shaped dinosaur with no sharp teeth, claws, spikes, or talons, but with silly, huge feet and a constantly fixed smile.
She and co-creators Dennis DeShazer and Kathy Parker developed and marketed the Barney property in over 150 countries globally in the mid-1980s. Barney became one of the most popular children’s television shows and best-selling children’s brands in the world.
After some time, Leach assembled a team and produced a series of home videos called Barney and the Backyard Gang. The home videos were later sold to the general public. Meanwhile, Connecticut Public Television employee Larry Rifkin rented a Barney video for his kid.
Larry loved the concept and met with Leach and the other co-creators to discuss getting Barney on TV. Production on the new television show, Barney & Friends, began in October 1991. In April 1992, the TV show was launched on PBS, and Barney garnered various awards and honors.
Leach has been married twice. She met her first husband, James Edmund Leach, while working as a writer for DLM Inc. Within the same year, the pair began dating and got married. They had a son together, Patrick. Jim initially agreed to be a stay-at-home dad so that Leach could work on the Barney brand.
However, Barney’s success finally ended their marriage. In 2001, Leach and Jim divorced. Jim, sadly, committed suicide three years later. Eventually, Leach then married his second husband, Howard Rosenfeld, with whom she founded the private organization known as the Shei’rah Foundation.
Why Was Leach’s Son Arrested?
On the other hand, her son, Patrick, had many surgeries and was dealing with a benign brain tumor. Patrick developed a marijuana addiction and was jailed in 2013 after shooting his Malibu neighbor in the chest. Police arrested him with a loaded gun and a bulletproof vest. Patrick was eventually released after five years and is now a married man with two children.
Patrick, who was 27 at the time, claimed Eric Shanks was trespassing on his property when he shot the rifle. He was stopped by authorities on the Pacific Coast Highway, and a search revealed that he was carrying a loaded handgun and a rifle.
Brenda Lee, a Deputy District Attorney from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, described Patrick at the time of his arrest as “paranoid and very tightly wound.” In 2015, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to assault with a deadly weapon. His sentence was reduced from 15 to 5 years.
Leach and Howard have been able to support other organizations, such as
- Connecticut Public Television
- NEXTNEXT Entertainment
- The Global White Lion Protection Trust
- The Alliance for a New Humanity
- The Foundation for Conscious Evolution and many more.
Howard also collaborated with Leach to establish the Smithy, a sustainable market in New Preston, Connecticut. The Smithy sources and sells local artisan foods and handicrafts and supports local farmers and producers. Leach received the National Freedoms Foundation award for her efforts with the Shei’rah Foundation.
She was the first female recipient of the award since Eleanor Roosevelt. Leach has also been active in various land conservation efforts in Warren, Connecticut. Leach also has a farm in South Africa that contributes to the Global White Lion Protection Trust.
On October 12, 2022, a new documentary titled “I Love You, You Hate Me” appeared on Peacock. The documentary revealed some shocking truths about Leach’s life, including a horrific divorce, suicide, and the arrest of her son. She even preferred Barney over her own child, which also ruined her marriage.
Sheryl Leach Net Worth
As of 2023, Sheryl Leach’s net worth is estimated to be $20 million. The majority of her income came from her years working on Barney and The Backyard Show. Barney & Friends was aired between 1992 and 2010 for 268 episodes. The show also inspired a line of books and toys that were hugely popular in the early to mid-1990s.
Leach has also sponsored a number of projects with her life partner, Howard Rosenfeld, through the Shei’rah Foundation, a philanthropic organization. Furthermore, Leach and Rosenfeld are interested in community development and land conservation projects, which contribute greatly to her riches.