Helen Essenhart is known as the wife of Dick Butkus, the late legendary American football player, actor, and sports commentator. The duo were high school sweethearts and married for over 60 years until the tragic death of Dick Butkus on October 5, 2023.
Quick Facts of Helen Essenhart
|University of Illinois
Meet Helen Essenhart, the unsung hero in the tale of football greatness. Married to the legendary NFL linebacker Dick Butkus, she steered clear of the flashy lights and focused on raising their three kids.
Nestled in Malibu, California, the Butkus home was where family ruled. While Dick tackled opponents on the field, Helen tackled the challenges of parenting. Away from the stadium roar, this is the story of a super mom who turned their house into a touchdown of love.
It’s not just about the football legend; it’s about the quiet strength behind the scenes. Get ready for a peek into the life of Helen Essenhart, the real MVP.
Who is Dock Butkus’s Wife? Wiki/Bio: Age, Early Life
Helen Essenhart was born in 1948 in the USA. However, the details about her birthdate are still a mystery. Helen met her husband Dick Butkus in high school at Chicago Vocational. He was the sports star, and she cheered for him. They started dating and both went to the University of Illinois.
Helen studied education, and Dick focused on physical education. Their journey from high school sweethearts to college students laid the foundation for a life filled with love and shared dreams.
Dick Butkus and Helen Essenhart: Marriage and Children
How long was Butkus married? Helen and Dick Butkus celebrated a remarkable 60-year-long, joyful journey together. Their love story began in college, and they tied the knot on July 6, 1963. After Dick’s football career ended due to a knee injury, they moved to Los Angeles in 1974, settling in peaceful Malibu.
Essenhart played a vital role in supporting Dick’s charitable efforts through the Butkus Foundation. She also cheered him on in his acting ventures, with roles in movies and TV shows like “My Two Dads”, “The Longest Yard”, “Necessary Roughness”, and “Blue Thunder”.
The Butkus family expanded to include three children: sons Ricky and Matt, and daughter Nikki. Ricky followed his father’s footsteps into football, later becoming a sports agent. Matt pursued a business career, while Nikki delved into journalism and authored a book, “Papa Bear: The Life and Legacy of George Halas.”
As a loving mother and grandmother, Helen shares moments with her family, extending to nine grandchildren: Ryan, Jake, Luke, Cole, Max, Grace, Ava, Mia, and Leo.
Career: What Does She Do For a Living?
Helen Essenhart didn’t have a public job, but she was super important to her husband, Dick Butkus. She was his biggest fan and best friend, helping him deal with the challenges of being an NFL star and later, life after football.
She supported him in acting and charity work, being a loyal partner through thick and thin. Even though she wasn’t in the spotlight, Helen played a big role in the success of the Butkus family.
Dick Butkus’ Football Career
In 1965, Dick Butkus faced a tough choice between the NFL’s Chicago Bears and the AFL’s Denver Broncos. Despite a higher offer from the Broncos, he couldn’t resist playing for his hometown team under coach George Halas.
Dick made his mark, scoring his first NFL points in 1969 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a decisive 38-7 victory. Unfortunately, knee injuries cut short his career after nine seasons in 1973.
Post-retirement, Butkus delved into acting, sports commentary, and philanthropy. From CBS Sports’ NFL coverage to hosting shows like “The NFL Today.” Founding The Dick Butkus Foundation, he donated his brain to research chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Dubbed “The Animal” for his aggressive play, Dick Tracy-inspired Dick Butkus adorned Sports Illustrated covers seven times. Ranked among NFL greats, he influenced pop culture, inspiring characters, featuring in songs, and guest-starring on “The Simpsons.”
Net Worth and Salary
Helen Essenhart’s net worth is not disclosed publicly. However, she shared the wealth accumulated by her late husband, Dick Butkus, who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his passing.
The Butkus couple owned various properties in California and Illinois, including a $6 million mansion in Malibu. Specific details about Helen’s financial situation or individual assets are not available.
Cause of Death
The legendary NFL player, Dick Butkus, passed away at the age of 80 on October 5, 2023, in his Malibu home after a medical emergency. The exact cause of his death hasn’t been revealed.
The Bears, in a statement, shared that Butkus died peacefully in his sleep. Team chairman George McCaskey praised him, calling him the “ultimate Bear” and one of the greatest in NFL history.
He highlighted Butkus’s qualities of toughness, smartness, passion, and leadership, stating that Dick’s contributions to the game will live on forever. The Bears expressed gratitude that he was celebrated by fans at their home opener earlier in the year.
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