Marilyn Monroe Net Worth Before Death: Who Inherited Her Estate?

Marilyn Monroe is one of Hollywood’s oldest stars, but the tragedy of her short life often overshadows what an incredible talent and in-demand face she has on screen. With 33 acting credits in a career that spanned only 15 years, you might be wondering what Marilyn Monroe’s net worth was and who would inherit her fortune upon her death.

Some of Monroe’s most famous works depict her as a “bombshell blonde” character with a penchant for the finer things in life; movies like How to Marry a Millionaire and songs like “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from the movie Gentleman likes blond hair to name a few. But at the same time, she is also wary of the industry. A quote from Monroe alludes to her knowledge of how the film industry can be exploited: “Hollywood is where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul,” she once said. Even now, 60 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe’s net worth still makes her one of the highest-paid celebrities ever.

Marilyn Monroe

Photo by ullstein bild / ullstein bild via Getty Images)

What is Marilyn Monroe’s net worth?

What is Marilyn Monroe’s net worth? Celebrity Net Worth estimated Monroe’s fortune to be worth about $800,000 at the time of her death, about $7.8 million in 2022, adjusted for inflation. During her career, she earned less than $3 million ($24 million in today’s economy) from film salaries. “She was world-famous, but that’s not an identity you can live with,” said Joyce Carol Oates, author of Yellow based on the Netflix movie starring Ana de Armas as Monroe, said Diversity. It was one of those things that made a lot of money for a lot of men, but not much for herself. When she passed away, at the age of 36, she did not have enough money to hold a decent funeral. She was very generous with her wealth, and many reports say that she spent her money comfortably on clothes, jewelry, as well as gifts for friends and employees. Monroe’s life was tragically cut short in 1962 when she died of an apparent suicide. Her net worth fell to just $370,000 ($3.5 million today) after multiple settlement costs and estate fees, according to a will filed in Los Angeles County. Monroe’s most prized possession is her home in Brentwood, LA, which was purchased just a few months before the actor’s death. It was the only home she was ever in debt to, buying the property in January 1962 for $77,500, and Celebrity Net Worth reported that she had to borrow money to pay it off from her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio. The sprawling home sold for $7.25 million in 2017.

Who inherited Marilyn Monroe’s fortune?

Who inherited Marilyn Monroe’s fortune? According to Monroe’s will, Monroe gave $10,000 each to her longtime assistant and to her half-sister. She put $5,000 into the trust to educate her assistant’s children, and she left the $100,000 trust to her mother. 75% of Monroe’s intellectual property and assets are left to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, and the remaining 25% is given to her New York psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kris. “She feels that [Kris] very helpful and sympathetic,” said Sarah Churchwell, author of Many lives of Marilyn Monroetold NPR in 2012. “She found that [Kris] began to help her understand what she was going through. ” After Dr. Kris’ death, part of her fortune went to the Anna Freud Center in London, which works with children with mental health problems. [Monroe] really happy,” said Churchwell. “She wants to do good, and she wants to feel as if she’s accomplished something.”


Image: Courtesy of Ecco.

When Monroe’s acting coach Strasberg died in 1982, his second wife Anna Mizrahi inherited Monroe’s estate and hired CMG Worldwide, a deceased celebrity wealth management firm. – to license Monroe merchandise and that’s when Some Like It Hot real stars start bringing in big money. “We have done hundreds of shows with companies from Mercedes-Benz to Coca-Cola for perfumes, clothing, gifts, collectibles, paper products, the like,” said CEO. CMG Mark Roesler told NPR. Mizrahi made Monroe one of the highest-paid dead celebrities in the world, according to Forbes. Marilyn Monroe LLC was founded, and between 1996 and 2000, she made more than $7.5 million in revenue from copyrights.

Monroe’s will stated that she wanted her personal items and clothing to reach her friends and colleagues, but Mizrahi authorized Christies’ auctioneer to sell off those items in 1999. , including the famous peach-pink dress she wore to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr “President” to John F. Kennedy (and Kim Kardashian infamously wore at the 2022 Met Gala). The dress cost over $1 million (it was resold in 2016 for $4.8 million to Ripley Entertainment). Monroe’s beloved grand piano sold for $600,000 to pop icon Mariah Carey. “I wish her things weren’t up for auction,” Carey said at the time. “What a pity – I wish someone had the money to buy it all and put it in a museum.” In 2011, Mizrahi sold his 75% stake in Monroe’s estate to Authentic Brands Corporation for a deal estimated at $20-30 million.

Marilyn Monroe

Ullstein bill’s photo via Getty Images

How did Marilyn Monroe die?

How did Marilyn Monroe die? Her autopsy revealed a lethal dose of tranquilizers, or sleeping pills, in her system. Her housekeeper Eunice Murray spent the night at Monroe’s home in Brentwood, Los Angeles the night Monroe died. The housekeeper is said to have woken up at 3 a.m. and sensed something was wrong and noticed there was a light in Monroe’s bedroom, which she tried to enter but the door was blocked or locked. Murray called the star’s LA psychologist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, who broke into Monroe’s bedroom through a window and found the star unresponsive in her bed. At 3:50 a.m., Monroe’s doctor arrived and pronounced her dead at the scene of an apparent suicide.


Image: Courtesy of Taylor Trade Publishing.

To know more about Marilyn Monroeread her 1974 autobiography, My story. Written in her own words, My story takes the reader through Marilyn’s life, from her childhood as an unwanted orphan to her rise as a movie star and sex symbol. The intimate book also tells about all of Marilyn’s three marriages (including to her controversial second husband, Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio) and the vision she has of herself as “the kind of girl that they were found dead in her bedroom with an empty sleeping pill bottle in her hand,” according to the publisher’s description. Illustrated with rare photographs of Marilyn during her lifetime, My story tells the true story of how Marilyn became the American Hollywood icon the world knows and loves today.


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