A lot of people die and after a couple of years, they stop being a part of the lives of the living, no longer coming up in conversations and the evidence of their existence eroded with each passing day. That hasn’t been the case of Marilyn Monroe who has remained a part of pop culture conversation since she passed over 55 years ago in 1962. One of the significant ways she has remained alive is the continued enrichment of the Marilyn Monroe estate.
Like most celebrities who left a huge legacy while they were alive, Marilyn Monroe has continued to make money even in her grave due to her enduring brand as the global symbol of beauty, glamour, and sex. Here, we took a look at those who inherited the Marilyn Monroe estate, as well as the occupants of her iconic house at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive after her death.
Marilyn Monroe grew up in poverty and child abuse, having grown up in an orphanage and foster homes. Her mother’s inability to care for her because of her mental illness and the lack of relationship with her father meant she grew up in poverty and oftentimes, had to fend for herself.
Her first job was at the Radioplane Company which led her to a career as a model and ultimately, as an actress where she built her lasting legacy. Before she died, she set up a trust worth $100,000 to care for her mother until her death and left $10,000 for her half-sister, Bernice Miracle. Her mother was to receive $5,000 per year.
Other people who inherited portions of the Marilyn Monroe estate include her psychoanalyst, Marianne Kris, whom she credited for helping her understand her mental and emotional predicament. She gave $10,000 to her secretary, May Reis and gave her friends, Norman, and Hedda Rosten $5,000 each, with $5,000 going to their daughter, Patricia if they died before she did.
Out of the $100,000 trust, she gave $2,500 per year to Xenia Chekhov, who was the wife of Marilyn’s friend, Michael Chekhov, with the rest going to Marianne Kris, Marilyn’s psychiatrist. The remainder of Marilyn Monroe’s estate, according to her will, was to go to May Reis as an additional $40,000 while her doctor, Marianne Kris would receive an additional 25% of the remaining estate while the remaining 75% should go to Lee Strasberg.
Lee Strasberg died in 1982 and passed on his 75% interest of Marilyn Monroe’s estate to his wife, Anna Strasberg. Following the settlement of her estate in 2001 when every yearly payment had ended, every remaining asset was transferred to Anna Strasberg, who had established a company, Marilyn Monroe LLC as the controller of the actress’ estate.
The company was eventually bought out by Authentic Brands Group and NECA for $50 million in 2010, and subsequently created the company, The Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC. As a result of the sale, the company is the current owner of Marilyn Monroe’s estate. The estate continues to generate significant income through social media influence, memorabilia and brand licensing. One year after the sale, Monroe made $27 million in income and she continues to be one of the highest-earning dead celebrities. Marilyn Monroe lived in a couple of apartments and homes during her lifetime (43 in total) but at the time of her death, she lived at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood, Los Angeles. It was the last residence of the iconic actress. Marilyn bought the home for $77,500 in February 1962 and died in it six months after on the 5th of August, 1962. As a result of the lack of inclusion of the house in Marilyn Monroe’s estate, it was sold to Nunez Family in late 1963. Since the initial buyer, a few people have owned and lived in the famous house since she passed. One of which was the actress, Veronica Hamel and her husband, Michael Irving. There is no concrete information on how long they lived at the house but after the Hamel and Irving family, it was occupied by a Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Bull before it was bought by Michael Ritchie, a film director in August 1994. Michael Ritchie and his wife bought the house for $995,000 and lived in it for two years before selling it for $925,000 to an architect and his wife. Rumors of other owners after the architect had swirled, including the fact it was once owned by the model, Anna Nicole Smith and the DJ, Cat Deeley, but so far, that hasn’t been confirmed. At the moment, the last known transfer of ownership of the house was in 2017 when it was sold for $7.25 million after it was listed for $6.9 million. However, the buyer’s identity and the current occupant of the house remain unknown.
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