Celebrity Estates are Like Dynamite

Celebrity Estates are Like Dynamite

Dividing his estate between 11 different people was quite a task for pop star George Michael’s lawyers. Even more notably, he left out his ex-boyfriends Fadi Fawaz and Kenny Goss, which raised a lot of eyebrows according to The Irish Sun article “Most explosive wills in Hollywood history which left families feuding for decades after George Michael document revealed.” However, he’s far from the only celebrity to cut out loved ones from their estates.

Mickey Rooney—When movie star Mickey Rooney died in April 2014 at the lofty age of 93, most people assumed that this wife and eight children would be his heirs. Rooney had a long career, starring in many movies with many bold face named stars. However, he had a surprise—his estate left behind just $18,000, which went to his stepson Mark Aber rather than to his wife and other children. Several of his biological children objected to the will, which was signed just a few weeks before his death. The case was later dropped, because it was too small an amount to litigate over.

Tony Curtis—This is another movie star who left absolutely nothing to his biological children when he died in 2010. (One of his children is Jamie Lee Curtis, a successful actress and author.) Instead, the star of “Some Like It Hot” and many other movies left approximately $39 million to wife number six, Jill Vandenburg Curtis. Making matters worse, she turned around and auctioned off his personal belongings, adding another million to her pile. One of his daughters, Allegra, said they were “blindsided” by his decision. Another daughter, Kelly started a lawsuit, but later dropped it.

James Brown—This is an estate battle that is just about as legendary as the soul-singer himself. Thirteen years after he died, his last will and testament is still unsettled. Lawsuits, murder accusations and a battle for ownership of his music catalog is still going on. About a dozen lawsuits have been filed by his nine children and grandchildren, who are suing his widow by claiming that she was married to another man when she wed Brown. That estate is estimated to be worth $99 million.

Joan Crawford—Made infamous by her daughter Christina’s tell-all book, “Mommy Dearest,” Crawford left more than $2 million to two of her adopted children, when she died in 1977. However, she made it very clear in her will that her other adopted children, son Christopher and daughter Christina, were not to receive anything. The two contested the will and won about $50,000 each.

Marlon Brando—With 11 children to his name, including some that were adopted, Marlon Brando recognized all in his will but one—adopted daughter Petra. Further, he left out provisions for his teenage grandson, son of his late daughter Cheyenne Brando. With an estate estimated at $20 million, Brando passed away at age 80.

Michael Jackson—The “gloved one” cut his father out of his will before he died from a drug overdose in 2009. His father tried to contest the will but failed. Michael did not include his famous siblings either. It is thought that several of his brothers and sisters are now engaged in an estate battle, which is worth more than $1 billion. Michael did make sure that his will took good care of his mom and his three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket.

Reference: The Irish Sun (June 5, 2019) “Most explosive wills in Hollywood history which left families feuding for decades after George Michael document revealed.”