The Most Shocking, Bizarre & Outright Hillarious Celebrity Wills Ever
by Jennifer Lafferty
A person’s final wishes can reveal a lot about them, especially when it comes to celebrities whose money, colorful lifestyles, or imaginations lead them to do some pretty wacky things with their last will and testament.
This iconic celebrity left her belongings, including clothes and underwear, to her acting coach Lee Strasberg, who was supposed to distribute them among Monroe’s friends and relatives but put them in storage instead. Strasberg’s widow eventually made $13.4 million auctioning off the items.
The final wishes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry included a surprising but strangely appropriate request: He demanded that his ashes be scattered in space.
The French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte was eccentric to the end, literally leaving a part of himself to friends and family when he died: hair from his shaved head.
The edgy rock singer Janis Joplin left $2,500 to throw a posthumous all-night bash for 200 guests at her favorite California pub, a fitting goodbye for a celeb who loved to party.
The bard had some intriguing last wishes. He bequeathed his wife his “second best bed,” and requested the grave epitaph: “Blest be the man that spares these stones, / And cursed by he that moves my bones.”
It is believed that Latin poet Virgil made a deathbed request to burn the boxes containing his unfinished epic Aeneid. The story goes that Emperor Augustus defied his wishes and insisted on saving the work.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Written before his younger children were born, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s will specified that his oldest son be raised in either New York, Chicago, or San Francisco, saying he wanted his son to be “exposed to the culture, arts and architecture that such cities offer.”
Some artists use their wills to exercise creative control from beyond, like Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, who banned Beastie Boys music and his own image from being used in commercials.
A huge celebrity of the Victorian era, Dickens insisted on an inexpensive burial. He also created a lot of buzz by leaving £1,000, a very generous sum at the time, to a young actress, rumored to be his mistress.
Also worried about his art being compromised was Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger. Disappointed by the film version of his story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, Salinger reportedly put a stipulation in his will blocking Hollywood adaptations of his work.
The statesman/inventor/author willed a portrait of a French king to his daughter, with instructions not to remove any of the frame’s 408 diamonds to make jewelry for herself or her daughters.
British singer Dusty Springfield left money for her cat Nicholas with instructions to feed him imported American baby food, play recordings of her songs to him at bedtime and arranged a “marriage” for him with his guardian’s cat.
Another conscientious pet parent was Alexander McQueen. When the popular fashion designer tragically committed suicide in 2010, he more than adequately provided for his dogs by leaving them $75,000.
Famous filmmaker/choreographer Bob Fosse left instructions in his will to divide $25,000 among 66 friends including Dustin Hoffman, Neil Simon and Liza Minnelli, to go out and have dinner. Hopefully, they picked a good restaurant.
George Bernard Shaw
This writer was so immersed in the written word, he wanted to create his own alphabet, so he left £500,000 for the development of the 40 letter “Shaw Alphabet”.
Marvel writer and executive editor Mark Gruenwald, known for such comic books as Captain America, was really into his work. He requested to have his ashes mixed with the ink used to print the comics.
The legendary Illusionist was involved in spiritualism during his life, and he insisted that his wife Bess hold a seance every year so he could visit her. Houdini also left a code, so he could prove it was really him.
Pringles potato chips founder Fred Bauer discovered more than one way to utilize his product’s unique container. He requested that he be cremated and his ashes buried in a Pringles can.
William Randolph Hearst
The larger than life millionaire publisher and politician had an interesting way to deal with claims that he had children out of wedlock. He bequeathed anyone who could prove he or she was his child a measly $1.00.
The beautiful blonde actress, best remembered for TV’s Charlie’s Angles, shockingly left nothing to Ryan O’Neal, who was her longtime love and the father of her son. However, she did leave an ex-lover $100,000.