Here's Who Inherited Paul Newman's Money After He Died

Three-time Oscar winner and eight-time nominee Paul Newman was something of a jack-of-all-trades. As an actor, director, producer, philanthropist, and businessman, Newman led a life of considerable substance that people across the world continue to revere years after his death. The "Butch Cassidy" star had a rustic sway about him that seemed to merge unapologetic confidence with a neighborly tenderness. He truly was one of the most beloved characters of all time both on and off screen.

First and foremost, Paul Newman was a family man. He loved his wife and children deeply, and he even co-founded his now iconic food brand Newman's Own with his daughter Nell in the early '90s. Naturally (no pun intended), the focal point of his will was Newman's Own, among various other assets that comprised his estate. However, the process of allocating his estate, including all its financial assets, was anything but seamless (per Vanity Fair).

Newman's Own didn't go to his own

You've seen the logo plenty of times: Paul Newman's welcoming smile and unmistakeable blue eyes that shine even through a printed label across a bottle of salad dressing or a package of fig newtons ("Fig Newmans"). Maybe you even have a bottle of Newman's Own dressing in your refrigerator right now. The ingredients are almost entirely organic, and all sales proceeds are donated to charity. It really is a successful business model. 

However, things got heated between Newman's family, Brian Murphy, and (now former CEO) Robert H. Forrester after the latter two were named co-executors of Newman's Own and the entirety of his estate (via Live About). The third executor of his will, if one should be chosen, was to be voted upon by his daughters. Since his death, the battle for control over Newman's Own became an ongoing struggle between those who survived the late actor.

In her words

"Whether my family will go public [with our complaints] or not," Paul Newman's daughter Susan Kendall Newman told Vanity Fair, "there isn't a single living Newman who respects or has faith in Robert Forrester and his management of my father's food company, Newman's Own Foundation, or the continuation and protection of his legacy." According to the actor's family, the direction and handling of his $600 million dollar estate remained questionable and mishandled in the hands of Robert H. Forrester, who they believed to be an unreliable executor. Little has been achieved, however, in the way of transferring business powers over to Susan Kendall Newman or any of her siblings, despite their efforts.

Perhaps the most damning hurdle for Paul Newman's family is the No-Contest clause attached to his will. A No-Contest essentially removes anybody from the will who tries to challenge it in any capacity (via DuPont and Blumenstiel).

What else did the will say?

Details of the seemingly endless grappling over Paul Newman's estate are lengthy and somewhat confusing, but basically, lots of people — especially his family — are not happy with who wound up with what. Some even detect a degree of foul play. Susan Newman described the handling of her father's company as "lavish and self-aggrandizing" (per Weinstein Randisi). Not everything went to Robert Forrester and Brian Murphy, however. The bulk of tangible household assets (furniture, personal effects, vehicles, etc.) as well as royalties from various other affiliate companies, went to his wife Joanne Woodward, according to Live About.

The contentious battle between the Newman family and Robert Forrester continued, however. It wasn't Forrester's handling of the will that would ultimately get him in trouble, but his behavior at the Newman's Own corporation, as scandal was about to unsettle the business and endanger Forrester's leadership role within it.  

Newman's Own Foundation removes Robert Forrester

In 2019, Robert Forrester was stripped of his titles as president of the Newman's Own Foundation and CEO of Newman's Own after allegations of "inappropriate behavior" from female workers were leveled at him. "An independent special committee of the board of directors of Newman's Own Foundation removed president and CEO Bob Forrester from his role with the foundation. Concurrently, the committee appointed Jennifer Smith Turner as president and CEO on an interim basis." A statement declared following news of the scandal, "There is no tolerance for unacceptable behavior" (per Hartford Courant).

Remarks from Forrester have remained sparse following his departure from Newman's Own, though he stated in July of 2021 that, "We made great progress during my years at Newman's Own; we accomplished a great deal, but we also made our share of mistakes, and if there were 'do-overs in life, there are certain things I would have done differently" (via News Wires). 

In late December of 2019, Forrester attended a memorial service following the death of Michael Brockman (1945-2019), a fellow actor and dear friend of Paul Newman's during his life. Bystanders were shocked to see the former CEO, whose reputation was freshly stigmatized at the time, amongst the crowd. Forrester declined to comment on the scandal to agents of the press, and no interaction took place between him and Newman's family, who was also in attendance (per Page Six).