The Fight Begins Over Elizabeth Taylor's Fortune
By Rob Shuter Posted Mar 28th 2011 12:01PM
Elizabeth Taylor left an enduring legacy of great films and even greater acts of philanthropy. She also amassed a huge fortune estimated between $600 million and $1 billion, most of that from her savvy business dealings. Already, the fighting has begun as to who will get to manage that bounty along with all the money she's destined to make in death.
I'm told her last wish was for her lucrative jewelry collection, valued at a staggering $150 million in 2002, to be auctioned off and the proceeds given to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and amfAR.
"Elizabeth also made arrangements to split the rest of her fortune between her four children and other charities that she cared so much about," a close friend of the star's tells me. "But what is causing all the problems is not the money she made during her life, but rather what should happen to the millions she is going to make after her death."
Beauty product giant Elizabeth Arden has already announced they'll continue selling Liz's still-popular fragrances -- they made $77 million last year alone -- and there are countless other opportunities, like film re-releases and merchandising that the estate could profit greatly from.
"The one thing she didn't do was understand that, much like Elvis and Michael Jackson, she might be worth more in death," my source says. "This is what has already started to cause friction between family, business managers and the many charities that meant so much to Elizabeth."
The two-time Oscar winner has been worth a lot of money for decades. In 1996, when she divorced her last husband, Larry Fortensky, documents showed her net worth was $608.4 million. The New York Post reported that during the 1990s, Taylor earned about $2 per second, or about $63 million per year. Her perfume, White Diamonds, has never stopped selling.
"Elizabeth was a great actress, but she was also a great businesswoman," a Hollywood insider tells me.
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Liz Taylor Snapshots
British born actor Elizabeth Taylor and her fourth husband American singer and actor Eddie Fisher arrive at a formal event, c. 1962. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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