Napoleon Bonaparte

Eight Unusual Wills of Celebrities and Historical Figures

When deciding how one is going to leave this life for the next, it’s more than likely that some will have strange requests. Perhaps you’re about to DIY your will and are looking for some inspiration. From having a rose delivered to one’s widow every day for the rest of her life to distributing bracelets of hair to one’s family, read about some of the strangest last requests of the rich and famous.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The French political and military leader is known for having led his army through many successful conquests in Europe in the early 19th century. These made him one of the most popular historical figures of all time. But it seems that even in death, he wanted to leave an impression. Bonaparte left a last will unlike any other. He requested that his hair be shaved from his corpse, made into bracelets, and then distributed to his loved ones.

Alexander McQueen

Lee Alexander McQueen, more popularly known as Alexander McQueen, was a world-renowned English fashion designer whose dresses have been worn by the rich and famous, including Emma Watson and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. When McQueen passed away in 2010, his will stated that a fortune of about $80,000 would be left for the care of his three dogs.

Leona Helmsley

McQueen wasn’t the only one who loved his furry companions ardently. Famed hotelier Leona Helmsley, also known as the Queen of Mean, was soft-hearted for her dog, a Maltese named Trouble. When Helmsley passed away in 2008, she left a fortune of 12 million dollars to Trouble.

The dog lived out the remainder of her life in luxury, riding in limousines, private jets, donning the finest of dog jewelry, living in a multi-million dollar estate, and all under the expensive protection of a bodyguard. Trouble passed away a few years later in 2011.

Dusty Springfield

Along with McQueen and Helmsley, the late British pop singer had a beloved pet—this time a cat—to whom she bequeathed much of her assets to. But her last will also stipulate a couple of other unorthodox requests related to the feline. Among Springfield’s requests was that her cat, Nicholas, would live in an indoor treehouse adorned with scratch pads and lined with catnip. Nicholas would also be “married” to the feline pet of Springfield’s friend and be serenaded to sleep each night by a sound system playing the singer’s greatest hits.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The late Oscar-winning actor seems to have known a thing or two about tough parenting. Not wanting his children to rely on their inheritance, Hoffman stipulated in his last will that his children—save for the one he had at the time that the document was written up—were not to receive any shares. Instead, his estate would be left to his then-partner and mother of the only child included in the will, Marianne O’Donnell. This request caused an uproar among his family members as well as much speculation from the press.

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry
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It seems very appropriate for the creator of the space adventure franchise Star Trek to request that his remains be launched into space. His wife, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who was an actress on Star Trek, made arrangements at NASA for her late husband’s wishes to be honored. Some of Roddenberry’s ashes were first brought to space aboard the space shuttle Columbia by astronaut James Weatherbee in 1992. In 1997, Roddenberry’s remains went for another space flight aboard the Pegasus-XL. When his wife died, her remains, along with her husband’s, were taken for a trip into deep space. This is truly the way to go “where no man has gone before.”

Fred Baur

Food storage technician Fred Baur was most well-known for designing the iconic Pringles can. He must have been so proud of his invention because he wrote in his will that he wanted his remains buried in a Pringles can when he died. His family honored his wishes when Baur passed away in 2008 at the age of 89.

Jack Benny

Speaking of romantics, comedian Jack Benny wrote in his will that he wanted a single long-stemmed red rose delivered to his widow, Mary Livingstone, every day for the remainder of her life. In the years following her husband’s death, Livingstone wrote several pieces about him, including a biography that she affectionately entitled One Long-Stemmed Rose.

Some people have made truly unconventional requests in their last wills. For some, it cements the legacy of an extraordinary life, while others are born from their owner’s eccentric personality.

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