Had the world not lost Marilyn Monroe in 1962, the Hollywood icon would’ve lived to celebrate her 60th birthday next year. On the eve of her death, she was only 36 years old, with a net worth of about $7 million after adjusting for inflation. But, Ms. Monroe made sure to leave a long-lasting mark on the world. And yes, her name is still worth a lot. But, with no living heirs, who is profiting off of the late icon’s name? Let’s find out.
At the time of her death, Monroe’s legal will dictated that her wealth be distributed to the only close people in her life. The biggest chunk of it – 75% to be exact – went to Lee Strasberg, her acting coach.
Having never met her father and been raised by a single mother all her life, Monroe looked to Strasberg as a father figure without whose help she probably never would’ve made a serious name for herself in Hollywood.
The remaining 25% went to Marianne Kris, her psychoanalyst. Lastly, to care for her mentally challenged mother, Monroe set up a trust and also left a big chunk of change for her half-sister.
So, Who Has the Rights Now?
After Strasberg’s death, Monroe’s fortunes were transferred to his second wife, Anna. Though she was nothing more than an aspiring actress from Venezuela at the time, marrying the late method acting teacher was perhaps the best decision of her life. After her husband’s death, the socialite partnered with the celebrity management company CMG, which guaranteed her at least $1 million every year from Marilyn Monroe merchandise – and boy, did they deliver. From 1996 to 2000, the licensing revenue alone earned Anna over $7.5 million.
However, the now 81-year-old businesswoman no longer owns the Hollywood icon’s intellectual property anymore. Following four lawsuits, she sold her share of the Monroe estate to the American brands' management company, Authentic Brands Group, for over $20 million. It goes without saying, very few business people are as smart as this unpredictable Venezuelan lady.
Wrapping It Up
Even today, Marilyn Monroe’s face is plastered everywhere, even though it’s been about 6 decades since her last movie was released. Perhaps it was her tragic life and death that allows the superstar to retain fame and wealth so assuredly to date. One thing is for sure though – Marilyn Monroe’s face is one we won’t be forgetting for another few decades to come.