First publised in The New York Post (March 25, 2011) by Helen Kumari, Sean Daly and Don Kaplan..☛..Screen queen Elizabeth Taylor has left behind a fortune worth at least $600 million, much of which is expected to go to the AIDS charities she championed for decades. Her famous jewelry collection, valued at an eye-popping $150 million in 2002, is likely to be auctioned off with the bulk of the proceeds going to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and amfAR, the AIDS charity she helped found in 1985, according to WFLD/Fox TV Chicago. “From what I understand, she seems to have been very wise about her investments,” said a financial planner who has worked with other Hollywood A-listers.
At the time of her 1994 divorce from her last husband, Larry Fortensky, Taylor’s net worth was estimated at $608.4 million. That figure could now be well in excess of $1 billion. During the 1990s, Taylor reportedly earned about $2 per second, or about $63 million per year. Her famed perfume, White Diamonds, earned more than $70 million last year, according to reports.
Taylor’s acting career was, of course, quite lucrative and even in her later years, she was paid top dollar for film work. The violet-eyed siren, who in 1963 commanded a then-record $1 million payout for “Cleopatra,” snared $2.5 million for a small part in her last movie, “The Flintstones,” in 1994. Property records show that Taylor transferred the title to her Bel Air home — which housed her large Impressionist Art collection and was famously furnished with 18th-century antiques and Aubusson rugs — from a trust in her name to one operated by one of her money managers. Her last will and testament, along with all of her property, is held in a private trust, according to public records. Records show that the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation, which has raised millions over the years, has a net fund balance of about $750,000. The charity took in $257,000 in 2009 and gave out $187,000 to health causes. The charity took in $463,000 the previous year and gave out $931,000.
The movie icon was buried yesterday in a traditional Jewish service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. She had converted to Judaism in 1959 before her marriage to fourth husband Eddie Fisher. The funeral was held at the cemetery’s Great Mausoleum, where other film greats like Clark Gable and Jean Harlow are interred. It’s also the building where close friend Michael Jackson was interred in 2009. With news helicopters buzzing overhead, access to the building and immediate surrounding area was locked down. Fans trying to enter the cemetery were turned away. Five stretch limousines and several private cars carried about three dozen family members past hordes of reporters outside the famed memorial park that’s also the final resting place for W.C. Fields, Red Skelton, Gracie Allen, Walt Disney and Nat King Cole, among other celebrities. A larger, public memorial service is planned for a later date. Broadway will honor Taylor by dimming its lights tonight at 8 p.m. for one minute in her memory. Taylor died early Wednesday of congestive heart failure in LA at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (The New York Post)
PBS’s renowned FRONTLINE documentary series honored the memory of Elizabeth Taylor this week by rebroadcasting this episode revealing the showdown between Taylor and President Ronald Reagan, and how she is responsible for convincing Reagan to make his first public speech acknowledging the epidemic’s existence and threat. Her determination to bring this disease into the light is widely credited for saving the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of men, women and children around the world.