2014 saw a large number of famous people leave our plane of existence. Some of them were more well known than others, and some of them were definitely more famous in the past, but it’s always a sad thing to hear that someone has passed away, even if you weren’t close to an individual or particularly sure of who they were.
Regardless of where these individuals sat on the spectrum of fame when they passed away, some of them had been a little better with their accumulated wealth than others. Mickey Rooney passed away this year at the age of 93. His career spanned 80 years and the actor had left behind an estate worth around $18,000. This is rather surprising since he was still acting and was preparing to film a scene for the latest Night at the Museum installment shortly after he passed. On the other side of the coin, an actress like Shirley Temple, whom we haven’t heard or seen much of towards the latter half of her life, left behind an estate worth some $10 million.
Before we get started, let’s remember that this list is for entertainment purposes and the sake of information. It’s always a tragedy when a loved one passes and it’s important to remember that the true worth of the dearly departed can’t be measured by the value of their estate.
15. Ruby Dee
Net Worth: $5 Million
Ruby Dee is probably best known for her roles in the films American Gangster and Do the Right Thing, but her career and life stretched across a number of different areas. She was a poet, an activist, and a musician as well. Dee won a number of awards, including a Screen Actor’s Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and an Emmy and a Grammy among others as well.
Dee entertained, created, and engaged in activism for over 80 years of her 91 years of life.
14. Tommy Ramone
Net Worth:$5 Million
Tommy Ramone wasn’t nearly as popular as “brothers” Dee Dee, Marky, or Joey (they all actually changed their last name to Ramone), but he did have the honor of being the last original living Ramone until his death this year at the age of 62.
The Ramones were a highly influential American punk-rock band that started playing music in 1974. They are regarded as the first band to truly define the genre of punk rock. Even if you aren’t exactly sure of who the Ramones are, odds are you’ve at least heard the timeless classics “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Sedated”. Let us suggest their first self-titled album or Mondo Bizarro, both of which went Certified Gold.
13. Shirley Temple
Net Worth: $10 Million
Even if you were only born ten years ago, you’ve probably been exposed to the early work of Shirley Temple. Temple is probably the actress that was first given the status of “America’s Sweetheart”. She made a number of films as a child (starting at the age of 3!), most of which featured her singing and dancing. The world just couldn’t get enough of her. Unlike most child actors, she continued to work as she grew older, and seemingly avoided the negative baggage that seems to get saddled with so many child actors and actresses.
Later in life Temple became involved in politics. She worked as Chief Protocol of the United States and as an ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
12. Edward Herrmann
Net Worth: $10 Million
At the last possible moment of 2014, we lost actor Edward Herrmann on December 31st.
Herrmann is one of those actors you see in just about everything from film to television. His most recent roles were in the television series The Good Wife and How I Met Your Mother. He was also in the highly acclaimed film The Wolf of Wall Street. Despite his very, very long resume, people probably know him best as Lorelei’s father in the mega-popular series The Gilmore Girls, which has recently seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity since its addition to the roster of streaming shows on Netflix.
11. Bob Hoskins
Net Worth: $12 Million
Bob Hoskins was a terrific actor that has been in a number of great films and even some of the worst films of all time. His most recent work can be seen in Snow White and the Huntsman and reprising his role of Captain Hook’s sidekick Smee in the Neverland mini-series (he played the role previously in the film Hook). He is probably best known for his role as Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Despite being a part of some pretty great films and shows, Hoskins also did a few pretty bad films. He was in the Spice Girls
commercial movie Spice World, and he himself has said that taking the role of Mario in The Mario Brothers movie was a huge mistake.
10. Elaine Stritch
Net Worth: $15 Million
Elaine Stritch has had a long and full career that spanned film, stage, and television. Stritch has won three Emmy Awards throughout her life, the most recent one being for her role as Colleen Donaghy on the acclaimed sit-com 30 Rock. Prior to this, she won an Emmy for a documentary about her own one-woman stage show, and another in 1990 for a role on Law & Order. It’s interesting to note that all these Emmy’s were won in the last two decades of a career that spanned a time that lasted over sixty years.
9. James Garner
Net Worth: $17.5 Million
James Garner should easily be considered television royalty. He played the popular character of Bret Maverick throughout a number of different television shows, starting with an appearance on Sugarfoot and then spinning off into a small handful of his own series. Garner is probably best known for his work as titular character of Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files, which ran for 122 episodes. His last successful television series was 8 Simple Rules, a show that was going strong due until the untimely death of star John Ritter. Garner’s last work would be as the voice of “Earth’s Mightiest Mortal” in Shazam! cartoons for DC Comics.
8. Lauren Bacall
Net Worth: $20 Million
Lauren Bacall was the “It Girl” of her generation. In the 1940’s right up until her departure from our world, Lauren was actively working in film and television. It all started when she was just 19-years-old and was given a role opposite the legendary Humphrey Bogart all the way back in 1944. She worked so well with Bogey that pairing the two together became a rather consistent thing and the two eventually married. After Bogart passed away in 1957, Bacall took a hiatus from film and saw a lot of acclaim and great success on Broadway. When she came back to film and television she pretty much picked right up where she left off. Bacall delivered great work for her entire seven decade career.
7. Richard Attenborough
Net Worth: $20 Million
Everybody knows Richard Attenborough best for his role as John Hammond, the man who creates a few islands filled with killer dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park films. Fans of documentaries might recognize his voice since he’s done the narration on dozens of them. His son has even followed in his footsteps and narrated a number of documentaries as well.
What many might not know is he’s been acting since the early 1940’s. He’s also an acclaimed director, having directed classics like Gandhi, A Bridge Too Far, and Chaplin.
6. Maya Angelou
Net Worth: $28 Million
Maya Angelou is a highly accomplished and much revered poet and writer. Her work isn’t just limited to books though. She sang on Broadway, she wrote for film and television, she’s even had a number of acting stints in movies and TV.
Angelou is best known for her autobiographical books, totaling seven. The books focus on different age periods in her life. Her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, brought her international recognition, and only covers her life up until the age of 17.
Outside of her profound literary work, Angelou was very active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s. In this time she worked very closely with both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
5. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Net Worth: $35 Million
Philip Seymour Hoffman left behind a huge body of excellent work in film and theater. It would be almost impossible to name a film he was in that isn’t highly regarded. If there is, no one would be able to say it was at the fault of Hoffman.
Unlike most of the individuals on this list, Hoffman didn’t pass away from old age or a battle with cancer, but from a drug overdose. At the end of his life, he had just taken on a role in the Hunger Games films. Apparently he had filmed a number of his scenes already, and it’s been said that the scenes he didn’t complete will be finished with clever editing and a CGI Philip. This will be interesting to see when the second part to Hunger Games: Mockingjay hits theaters.
4. Harold Ramis
Net Worth: $48 Million
Many probably aren’t entirely sure who Harold Ramis is. Most of his work was behind the camera in films like Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, and National Lampoon’s Vacation. In his later years, he grew to look very different from the characters he played in his more remembered films. You might recognize him as Egon from the Ghostbusters films, which Ramis also helped pen. You might also remember him from the comedy Stripes. Most of his parts after Ghostbusters II were in smaller roles. Writing and directing was more of his forte.
Many believe his death was the final nail in the coffin of a true Ghostbusters III, prompting Sony to go ahead with a female led reboot instead.
3. Joan Rivers
Net Worth: $50 Million
The death of Joan Rivers might have been one of the three most publicized and talked about deaths of the year, alongside the other two individuals in our top 3. Around the time of her death, many probably only knew Rivers as a pop culture and fashion commentator and reality television star. It was Rivers and her daughter Melissa that usually commented on what the celebrities were wearing to their prestigious award events like the Oscars. In all reality, Rivers was a highly regarded name in comedy through the bulk of her career, working alongside greats like Mel Brooks and Rodney Dangerfield. Her appearances on late night talk shows are absolutely legendary.
2. Casey Kasem
Net Worth: $80 Million
Towards the end of his life Casey Kasem was no longer able to speak due to a battle with dementia. This was an absolute tragedy because Kasem’s claim to fame was his highly recognizable voice. Kasem had hosted a number of television shows and radio programs that covered the top hits in America, most notable the America’s Weekly Top 40. He also provided the voices for a veritable plethora of cartoon characters. The character he is best known for is Shaggy Rogers from the virtually endless number of different Scooby Doo series. Kasem was also known to play himself as a radio host in a number of different films.
1. Robin Williams
Net Worth: $130 Million
We all probably assumed that this name would pop up at number one. It was a tragedy to see any of the fine people on this list leave us this year, but Williams was easily the most active list member. While many list members battled an illness or passed away peacefully after living a long and fulfilling life, Williams took his own life after a battle with depression that many of his fans probably weren’t aware of. The bulk of Williams’ work in comedy is considered classic, and many people have fond childhood memories of the man. After a long stint in comedy, Williams gave serious drama a try in films like One Hour Photo and Insomnia. The guy could definitely do more than comedy and kid’s films.
If we could say one good thing came out of this, Williams‘ death definitely prompted a national discussion on the reality of clinical depression.