posted 12/29/05 07:56 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
No one admired Bing more than I. I have probably spent more time listening to his fabulous voice, superb style and pleasant manner. I have nearly all of his movies on VHS (most taken from TV) in addition to numerous CDs and audio tapes. As unpleasant as it may be to bring up the question of Bing's wealth, I must. After all, Bing often accused Bob Hope of sitting on a pile of dough -- and vice versa. Some time after Bing died there was a small newspaper item that reported Bing's will amounted to something like two or three million dollars. Obviously, Bing had far more than that! Later I read that his children from his first family received nothing, but would receive some modest sum upon their 65th(?) birthday. Also, that his wife would receive the family residence and furnishings. I assume he had trust funds for a variety of charities. My question is: Does anyone know how much he was really worth? I've seen Bob Hope deny he was worth what the press has claimed he was worth (hundreds of millions!) I know that Bing liked buying homes, but, aside from his frequent fishing, hunting and golf excursions, I have the impression that he was not otherwise a big spender. Forgive me for seeming mercenary -- I thing Bing would.
posted 01/01/06 06:46 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I believe I can shed some light on this topic. When Dixie died in 1952, the IRS had not adopted the "second to die" provisions we now have in the tax code. All of their combined wealth was half hers, and so Bing was forced to sell almost all of his assets....real estate, oil wells, stocks and bonds, Del Mar,etc. to pay the massive estate tax which was due.
Also, until Basil Grillo arrived on the scene in the mid-40's, the family business was not exactly a "tight ship."
However, by the time of Bing's death in 1977, the financial picture was once again quite good, with three beautiful homes (Hillsborough, Rising River, and Cabo San Lucas). The estate was worth some $50 million plus. Bing gave rise to the low number on the Barbara Walters interview when he suggested that he was worth "maybe a million dollars." Since his next door neighbor's daughter, Patty Hearst, had been abducted, the greatest fear of his old age was that one of his three young children would be kidnapped. Hence, the downplay of his net worth.