Billy Bryan Brown was the patriarch of the Brown family and the mastermind behind an American reality television series called Alaskan Bush People.
The television series follows the extended Brown family’s life and was filmed on location near Hoonah, Alaska. It premiered on the Discovery Channel on May 6, 2014.
Biography & Parents’ Plane Crash
Billy was born to Kathryn Brown and her husband Billy Joe Brown in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 3, 1953.
He was born into a rich family.
“I was given new boats and cars for my birthdays,” said Billy. He continued: ”I was truly the luckiest kid in town – I had it all – clothes, money, big-ticket toys, and a loving family, too.”
At age 16, Billy Bryan Brown lost his family to a plane accident. On March 2, 1969, his sister and parents were traveling in a private plane across Texas and crashed after it was caught in a thunderstorm, causing their death.
After their demise, Billy plunged into poverty since he was cheated into signing an emancipation document (a way to legally separate from parents before you turn 18 years old), which left him penniless and homeless.
He started doing low profile jobs for upkeep.
Wife & Children
At the age of 16, Billy Bryan Brown married his first wife, Brenda. At the time of marriage, both of them were teens.
The couple had two children. Nevertheless, they later divorced. Later, he didn’t stay in touch with his children from this marriage.
In 1979, he married Ami Brown. Billy was 26 years by then. The couple fell in love at first sight. He wrote in his book:
“She was the most beautiful young lady that I had ever met in this life.”
Ami Brown’s brother Les said in an interview that Billy met Ami Brown when he was working as a plumber in his mom’s (Earlene) home.
According to reports, a marriage certificate indicated Ami Brown was only 15 years old when she married Billy. That’s illegal in most states today.
Ami Brown gave his first son Matt Brown (born on September 7, 1982) and second son Bam Bam Brown (born on September 18, 1984).
After, the couple moved to Alaska to raise their children.
They first settled on isolated Mosman Island. After a while, they reached Port Protection. Billy also worked as a commercial fisherman in the North Pacific.
After they resided in Alaska, the couple had 5 more children:
- Rain Brown – born on November 23, 2002;
- Bird Brown – born on November 18, 1994;
- Noah Brown – born on July 18, 1992;
- Gabe Brown – born on December 15, 1989;
- Bear Brown – born on June 10, 1987.
Interesting note – since they live in the wilds for a long time before they meet with other people, the whole family has developed their own accent and dialect.
Alaskan Bush People
Launched in 2014, the TV show has recently finished its 7th season. With 3.98 million viewers, the highest rating was in the third season’s finale.
In 2019, the television show was renewed for season 11, premiering on December 4, 2019.
Media headlines stating that the ”Alaskan Bush People” TV show was fake and that the Brown family spent quite a bit of time outside of Alaska.
Billy is an author and has published 2 books, namely:
- ”One Wave at a Time” 2007 – in this book, he revealed what it was like to become a husband and a first-time dad, what it was like to be orphaned after his parents’ plane crash, and what it was like trying to survive in the wilderness. In this book description, Billy mentions that his life in Alaska was a way of running away “from the emptiness left by his childhood loss.”
- ”The Lost Years” 2009 – described Billy’s life in Alaska.
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Billy passed away on February 8, 2021, after suffering a seizure.
He was 68.
”Our heart is with his family and those that knew him and loved him as they deal with this devastating loss,” wrote the producers of Alaskan Bush People on Facebook.
After lying on government forms about his Alaskan residency, he served time behind bars on account of 2nd-degree unsworn falsification.
His son Joshua was also arrested. Both pleaded guilty, which lessened the fine to an ankle monitor and community service instead of jail time.
In 2017, he revealed that his wife was battling lung cancer. Billy said:
”She was just a few pounds away from dying. She tries to hide it from everybody but four or five times a day she bends over like a baby and cries.”
When the Brown family found out about Ami Brown’s cancer, they moved to Southern California as Amy had to go through chemotherapy and radiation.
By December 21, his wife received results from her latest scans. Her doctors reported that she had won the battle against cancer. Amy stated:
“I was expecting great news, and I could just feel it.”
In 1994, he built a home in Haines, but the house burnt.
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”As long as Ami and my family are beside me, I’ll ride the wind of adventure to the end.’’
”Freedom is having a family so strong and so with you that you can get through anything. Freedom is being with your family.”
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Billy Bryan Brown – Net Worth
He owned a 435-acre land in Okanogan, Washington, which he bought for $415,000. Billy earns most of his income from the ”Alaskan Bush People” TV show as well as selling his books online, especially on Amazon.
Therefore, at the time of his death, reality TV star Billy Bryan Brown had an estimated net worth of $2 million.
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