What did Anthony Bourdain do with his wealth?

At the time of Anthony Bourdain’s death, his net worth was approximately $1.2M. This is surprisingly little for a 61YO celebrity who has authored a number of books and been the star of top-rated TV shows for well over a decade.

I assume the costs of his extensive travel for his TV shows were borne by the networks that aired them, i.e. CNN and the Travel Channel.

I also assume that his work generated substantial income for him over the past couple of decades.

I admit that either or both of those assumptions could be wrong. But assuming they’re right, what did Bourdain do with the rest of his wealth? Charitable giving? Ill-advised investments? Frivolous luxury?

Probably a fair bit of the money he made disappeared up his nose or into his veins. Bourdain struggled with both alcohol and drug abuse issues for most of his life, which are both costly and lead to poor money decisions.

I believe I read that a lot of his assets were put into various trusts, per his wishes. Doubtless someone more knowledgeable about the specifics will be along soon.

But the overall result is that he definitely was far from poor, despite a mere $1.2 million in his direct possession.

There were no drugs in his system at the time of his death. He reportedly had been off hard drugs since the 1980s, so vein and nose insinuations unlikely.

Although he never gave up alcohol and possibly marijuana, he had given up smoking in 2007.

I think you might be overestimating how rich he might have been.

Well, if you read the article almost half of that wasn’t really “in his direct possession”. $500k is royalties and residuals.

He should have been able to leverage his fame into some real money but I don’t think you should assume you get rich hosting a Travel Channel show, even a “successful” one.

I got the impression from things I have read that he was more interested in doing what he wanted more than getting the “biggest buck for his bang”. The freedom was more behind his various moves than anything else and in television that usually means less money in your pocket.

That does seem low.

Shoot, upper middle class people who own a home in San Francisco have more net worth than that.

Remember that it isn’t necessarily his total net worth. It’s the amount he left in trust for his daughter. He might have had some more wealth in property.

At this point in time, I don’t think you can consider a person who owns a home in SF “middle class”.

I think a lot of people overestimate the wealth of minor celebrities. I see no reason why Bourdain should be a multimillionaire. He had a couple of moderately successful shows on basic cable? A few moderately successful nonfiction books? Stretched over the last 25 years? Frankly a $1.2 million net worth seems about right to me. Hopefully he didn’t struggle too hard to pay the bills. That’s about the best I’d expect from someone of his stature. He’s not Elton John.

In a career path where the vast majority languish in minimum wage jobs while wallowing in major debt, eking out a solid middle class life (that includes a lot of travel) with a ~million dollar retirement nest egg is pretty much hitting the lottery.

Ditto DrCube.

Plus, looking at this article I picked randomly from the internet, 1.2M net worth is well above average. And, even adjusting for age (which is probably more relevant anyway) he’s in the 85th percentile.

That seems just about right to me.

He did host and get an EP credit on “The Taste”, which was a 3 season major network show. That should have made him some decent money.

I was surprised to read in the Wikipedia biography of Phil Hartman that his estate was worth “only” $1.23 million and that seemed similarly low to me. And Phil Hartman was on News Radio, The Simpsons and SNL in addition to some movies. So I thought he should have had more money as well as Bourdain. But perhaps both men had assets in trusts?

Here is an analysis that claims the $1.2M figure is misleading. I do not know how accurate this analysis is, but it seems rational.

Thanks for clearing that up.