What Was Marilyn Monroe’s Net Worth at the Time of Death?

Despite Marilyn Monroe dying about six decades ago, she remains an iconic figure, widely seen as a sex symbol during the 1950s. The actor and model featured in many films like ‘The Seven Year Itch,’ ‘Some Like it Hot,’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ that catapulted her to a whole new realm, garnering a legion of fans.

Netflix’s ‘The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes’ charts Marilyn’s rise as well as the questionable circumstances surrounding her sudden death in 1962. However, by then, she was already a bonafide star at the height of her fame. So, if you’re wondering how much wealth Marilyn amassed during her short but eventful life, we might have an idea.

How Did Marilyn Monroe Earn Her Money?

Marilyn was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in June 1926 to Gladys Pearl Baker. While her mother spent time in psychiatric institutions, she never had a relationship with her father. Marilyn had a difficult childhood, bouncing around several foster homes and an orphanage, and later talked of being sexually abused when she was younger. But despite the odds, Marilyn pushed through and began her modeling career in the 1940s.

In an interview, Marilyn talked about how she began thinking about becoming an actress when she was five years old. Marilyn added, “I loved to play. I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play house. It was like you could make your own boundaries.” She also talked about working as a dishwasher at one point for five cents a month. In 1946, Marilyn signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox and chose the stage name that she is now known by.

A natural brunette, Marilyn dyed her hair blonde, something that became an iconic look for her later on.  After some minor and supporting roles in films through the 1940s, she became a bonafide star and a sex symbol in the early 1950s. It was also the time when the iconic image of Marilyn standing over a subway grate was photographed. It was part of the promotions for ‘The Seven Year Itch.’ At one point, her movies grossed around $200 million.

Marilyn also talked about the pitfalls of fame and popularity, saying, “I think that when you are famous, every weakness is exaggerated. This industry should behave like a mother whose child has just run out in front of a car. But instead of clasping the child to them, they start punishing the child.” On the personal front, her short-lived marriage to baseball star Joe DiMaggio ended due to his possessiveness and jealousy. It was reported that he was physically abusive as well.

Marilyn married Arthur Miller, a playwright, in 1956, but that marriage, her third, ended in 1961, more than a year before she died. In August 1962, the 36-year-old was found dead in her bedroom, with the death being ruled a probable suicide due to an overdose. Marilyn left money for her assistant and half-sister. She also placed money in a trust fund for her assistant’s child’s education and $100,000 to care for her mother.

Apart from that, Marilyn reportedly left 75% of her intellectual property rights to her acting coach Lee Strasberg and the other 25% to her psychoanalyst, Marianne Kris. The rights have since changed hands, with Marianne’s share being passed on to Anna Freud Centre in London, England. On the other hand, Lee’s share was passed on to his third wife, Anna Mizrahi, once he died in 1982.

Marilyn Monroe’s Net Worth at the Time of Death

Marilyn had a net worth of $800,000 at the time of her death which comes up to about $7 million today. Anna later made a lot of money by authorizing the use of Marilyn’s name on various products. In 1999, she auctioned off most of Marilyn’s belongings and, in 2011, sold her stake to Authentic Brands Group for about $20-$30 million.

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