Here's How Much Walt Disney Was Worth When He Died

Terry Pratchett was fond of a particular observation: in all ancient Japanese art, there was the presence of Mount Fuji. It was either up seen up close or far in the distance. If Mount Fuji wasn't visible at all, it was just because the artist was painting from upon Mount Fuji.

Today, the Walt Disney Company is the Mount Fuji of the entertainment industry. From humble beginnings, it has become the universal constant of films and television, possessing — in its vast menagerie of intellectual properties — Star Wars, 20th Century Fox, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, everyone you've ever loved, the concept of love itself, and, weirdly, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As for Walt Disney himself, he was a man whose life remains a blurred collage of American optimism, shady scandals, and some of the most expertly hidden cigarettes since your dad convinced your mom that he'd quit. Disney may have started out as an apprentice ad cartoonist, but he finagled his love for animation into a media empire composed of motion pictures, theme parks, wartime propaganda, and a bit less cryonic freezing than the urban myths claim.

Just how much was this smokey human success engine worth at the time of his death?

Walt Disney was worth about a quarter of Star Wars

Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966, according to Biography. Despite the unprecedented wins that his company had racked up at the time, Disney was nowhere near the $45 billion-a-year revenue machine that it is today. In fact, Disney's present-day success makes Walt Disney's estimated net worth, at the time of his passing, seem like chump change by comparison. Celebrity Net Worth estimates Walt's holdings at the time of his death at between $100 million and $150 million, or around the $1 billion mark when adjusted for inflation. To contextualize, that's about 1/32nd of the amount that the Billfold estimates it would take to fill the vault of Scrooge McDuck, of DuckTales fame. 

After his passing, 45% of his wealth went to his wife and children through trusts, while another 45% went to charity. The rest went to his sister, his nieces, and his nephews. With the massive accumulation of properties that Disney has seen in the last few years, Walt's personal wealth would have been around a dozen times larger if he'd managed to stick it out until his 120th birthday. With a little more patience, he might have even been able to afford that whole head-freezing process.