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The Famous And Bizarre Last Wills Of Famous Celebrities

They say that money can’t buy you happiness. Whether you agree or disagree, that wealth can still bring a world of possibility. From luxurious mansions to fast cars and catered parties full of interesting and powerful friends, a life of wealth can certainly make any life a little (or a lot) easier. This concept holds true into death. The rich and famous that leave reasonable (or insane) last wills are still able to live a life they desire… even though their mortal time has come and gone. All that is left are a few million dollars and one legalized document that dictates how the deceased rich and famous shall continue to spend their fortune. Be amazed with the insane wills of the dearly departed.

Harry Houdini

Houdini was a Hungarian-born American stunt performer, illusionist, and escape artist. Not only did he act as the President of the Society of American Magicians, but he would also sue artists that stole his acts. Upon his death in 1926, Houdini asked his wife to hold a seance once a year in an attempt to contact him. It’s been said that the two crafted a secret code only the two of them knew in order to to ensure that it was actually Houdini’s spirit.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe, formally known as Norma Jean Mortenson, was once “America’s Blonde Bombshell.” The actress, singer, and model was ranked #6 in the American Film Institute’s “greatest female screen legends from the Golden Age of Hollywood” list. Upon her death in 1962, all her personal belongings were given to acting coach, Lee Strasberg. It’s unfortunate as all of her items laid in his basement until his death, 20 years later, in 1982.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was often an actor that was typically asked to portray “lowlife” characters – misfits and bullies, for example. He’s appeared in Mission: Impossible III, the Hunger Games series, Capote, and Charlie Wilson’s War as these sorts of characters. Upon his death in 2014, Hoffman left no money to his children, not looking to create “trust fund kids.” He left his money to his girlfriend. That said, he specified that his son Cooper be raised in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Alexander McQueen

Named British Designer of the Year four times, Alexander McQueen founded his own clothing line in 1992 and acted as the chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 until 2001. Upon his death in 2010, he left $138,000 each to four charities and $75,000 for his pet dogs so that they could continue living life in luxury.

William Shakespeare

Of 39 plays and 154 sonnets, William Shakespeare’s plays are performed more so than of any other playwright. Possibly the greatest English writer of all time, upon his death in 1616, Shakespeare left his wife, Anne Hathaway, his “second-best bed.”

Farrah Fawcett

Once idolized as Jill Monroe in Charlie’s Angels, Farrah Fawcett was a six-time Golden Globe and four-time Primetime Emmy Award Nominee. She may be best remembered for her “red swimsuit” poster. Upon her death in 2009, Fawcett left absolutely nothing to her long-time love interest, Ryan O’Neal. Sadly, O’Neal’s own daughter stated that her father “He had a terrible temper and was very violent. He beat her up,” referring to Fawcett. Instead, she left $100,000 to her last love, Greg Lott.

Gene Roddenberry

The name may not sound familiar but we’re sure Star Trek: The Original Series sounds a bit familiar. His work was so groundbreaking, he was the inaugural TV writer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1985). Upon his death in 1991, Roddenberry asked to have his ashes launched into space. In 1992, seven grams of his ashes were flown to space on Space Shuttle Columbia.

Fred Baur

Food storage technician and organic chemist, Fred Baur, is credited with patenting the tubular container that houses the famously curved chips known as Pringles. Upon his death in 2008, Baur wanted some of his ashes to be placed in a Pringles container and buried. His children obliged and buried a portion of ashes inside an Original flavor Pringles container.

John B. Kelly, Sr.

John Brendan Kelly Sr. was a triple Olympic champion in the sport of rowing. He made millions in construction, specifically in the bricklaying business. He was also the father of actress Grace Kelly, the future Princess of Monaco. Upon his death in 1960, Kelly Sr. wanted a change of (shopping) heart in his daughter. He told her “not bankrupt the Principality of Monaco with the bills about her clothing.”

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was an incredibly successful and popular rock star during the 1960s, remembered for her mezzo-soprano vocals and electrifying performances. Upon her death in 1970, Joplin left $2,500 to fund a wake (celebration of life) party at her favorite pub, the Lion’s Share in San Anselmo, California.


Tupac Amaru Shakur is considered to be one of the most influential rappers of all time, particularly as he addressed social inequality heavily affecting inner cities. Upon his death in 1996, days following a drive-by shooting incident, friends inspired by his song “Black Jesus,” mixed his ashes with marijuana and smoked him.

Mickey Rooney

Actor, comedian, radio personality, producer, and more, Mickey Rooney was a star of the silent-film era. He’s best known across the 1930s and 1940s for playing Andy Hardy. Upon his death in 2014, Rooney made the harsh (or correct) decision to disown his wife (of 35 years) and all 9 of his biological children. They all attempted to regain access to his final $80,000… the courts ruled against them.

Charles Dickens

Some call him the most prominent novelist during Victorian times. Others regard Charles Dickens as the father of several of the best-known fictional characters. Whichever you choose to accept, Dickens wrote the stories behind Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and David Copperfield. Upon his death in 1870, Dickens had requested strict dress attire to his funeral – “those attending my funeral wear no scarf, cloak, black bow, long hatband, or other such revolting absurdity.”

John Bowman

John Bowman was a New York socialite and politician. Sadly, he saw two daughters and his wife pass away in the span of 20 years. In odd fashion, he set up a trust fund upon his death in 1891. $50,000 was set aside each year to employ staff to clean and cook a meal for the family each day… on the rare chance they all came back to life.

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham was an English social reformer and philosopher. In fact, he is credited with founding the concept of modern utilitarianism (seeking max happiness for all parties). Upon his death in 1832, Bentham sought to be preserved with hay and be displayed (as an exhibit) in the University College London. His friend, Dr. Thomas Smith, had the “honor” of preserving his body.

Sandra West

Sandra West a Beverly Hills socialite that had died from a prescription drug overdose. Upon her death in 1977, she requested to be buried, positioned in her $20,000 Ferrari. To ensure thieves did not steal the car after the burial, the entire car was encased in concrete.

Ed Headrick

Ed Headrick is creator of the modern-day Frisbee. He also established the game of Disc Golf one year after leaving toy brand, Wham-O, where he completely redesigned the Frisbee’s precursor, the flying saucer. Upon his death in 2002, Headrick requested that his friends and family be given Frisbees that included some of his ashes. Additional discs (including his ashes) were later sold as a special and very limited line with proceeds going to fund his Disc Golf Museum in Georgia.

Golda Bechal

Golda Bechal had owned a property empire in the UK worth millions. Upon her death in 2004, she left her property fortune to Kim Sing Man and his wife, Bee Lian Man, owners of the Lian Cantonese restaurant in Essex. Although Bechal’s nieces and nephews argue that their aunt was under ill mental capacity when signing her two wills, Golda herself saw her family only after her money. Therefore, she left a 10 million pound fortune to the loving restaurant owners in one of her rented properties. She greatly enjoyed their Chinese pickled leeks and bean sprouts dish.

Adam Yauch

Better known by his stage name, MCA, Adam Yauch is fondly remembered as a founder of the hip hop group, the Beastie Boys. Upon his death in 2012, Yauch demanded that his image and likeness not be used for advertising purposes… ensuring he would never be a sell-out even after death.

Benjamin Franklin

As a Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin was more than just a politician. He was a writer, philosopher, freemason, scientist, statesman and inventor. Fun fact, he founded the University of Pennsylvania. Upon his death in 1790, he left 408 diamonds to his only daughter (he had two sons as well) noting she was not to turn them into jewelry, “and thereby introduce… the expensive, vain, and useless fashion of wearing jewels in this country.”

Eleanor E. Ritchey

Eleanor E. Ritchey was the heiress to the Quaker State Refining Corporation known for producing Quaker State motor oil. Upon her death in 1968, her 150 dogs eventually received $14 million from her fortune. 16 years later, in 1984, after her last dog had passed away, the remaining fortune was left to the Auburn University Research Foundation to continue funding animal diseases research.

Mark Gruenwald

Mark Gruenwald has been long associated with Marvel Comics as a comic book writer and editor. In 2021, Owen Wilson’s character in Disney’s Loki series is made to resemble the writer’s likeness. Upon his death in 1996, Gruenwald asked to be cremated and his ashes mixed with ink to print the first copies of Squadron Supreme in trade paperback form.

Patricia O’Neil

Patricia O’Neil comes from royalty. She is the daughter of the Countess Of Kenmore. She found her beloved pet chimpanzee, Kalu, tied up to a tree in Zaire and brought her home to her estate in Cape Town. When O’Neil passes away, it’s estimated that Kalu will receive $80 million from her owner.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Typically referred to as just “Napoleon”, Bonaparte was a French military turned political leader that saw drastic success during several campaigns across the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. From 1804 – 1815, he served as the Emperor of the French. Upon his death in 1821, Napoleon desired his head be shaven with the hairs being split equally amongst his closest friends.

Dusty Springfield

Mary O’Brien, known better as Dusty Springfield, was a British singer and television star. She was recognized by her peroxide blonde hair, styled in a bouffant hairstyle, and her constant interest in wearing evening gowns. Upon her death in 1999, she requested that her cat Nicholas be fed the finest imported baby food and be played Springfield’s former records before bed. She also requested he live in an indoor treehouse, with his bed lined with his owner’s former nightgowns. He was lastly to be wed to a female cat owned by a friend.

Charles Vance Miller

Charles Vance Miller was a Canadian attorney. Upon his death in 1926, he promised a large fortune to the woman/women that could bore the most children 10-years following his death. In 1936, four mothers each received $110,000 (nearly $2 million today) for each having nine children.

William Randolph Hearst

Founder of Hearst Communications, the nation’s most extensive newspaper chain and media company, William Randolph Hearst knew how to attract viewers. He heavily emphasized human interest and sensationalism in his stories. Upon his death in 1951, Hearst promised $1 to any individual that could claim they were one of his legitimate children.

George Bernard Shaw

In 1925, Irish activist, critic, and playwright George Bernard Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include Saint Joan, Pygmalion, and Man and Superman. Upon his death in 1950, Shaw left his wealth to establish a 40 letter phonetic alphabet. It had to be distinctly different from Latin. In 1950, the “Shaw Alphabet” was actually finished.

T.M. Zink

T.M. Zink was an Iowan attorney. In his will, following his 1930 death, he left a $50,000 trust to accumulate over 75 years. With this eventual fortune, he requested that a library be built without any art, works, books, or pieces crafted by women. He would not even allow female patrons to visit this prejudicial space. Thankfully, his own daughter rightfully defeated this portion of the will in court.

James Kidd

James Kidd was a prospector that passed away in 1949. In his will found nearly two decades later, he stated “this is my first and only will and is dated the second of January 1946. I have no heirs and have not married in my life and after all my funeral expenses have been paid and $100 given to some preacher of the gospel to say fare well at my grave sell all my property which is all in cash and stocks with E F Hutton Co Phoenix some in safety deposit box, and have this balance money go into research or some scientific proof of a soul of the human body which leaves at death I think in time there can be a photograph of soul leaving the human at death.”


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