Aretha Franklin’s net worth was estimated at $80million when she died

Aretha Franklin’s net worth estimated at $80million: Soul legend demanded payment in CASH before shows and kept her purse on stage, but could have made more if her fear of flying hadn’t stopped her performing abroad

  • Aretha Franklin reportedly demanded she was paid in cash before performances
  • The soul legend passed away aged 76 on Thursday and is estimated to have been worth $80million, although some say she should have raked in more 
  • Franklin is said to have kept her purse with her on stage during shows
  • She wanted to avoid being ripped off like other black stars B.B. King and Ray Charles

Aretha Franklin died with a net worth of approximately $80million but the singer could have raked in much more if she’d taken up ample opportunities to perform abroad.

The 76-year-old star passed away from pancreatic cancer on Thursday and her funeral takes place August 31. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the musician had made a hefty sum of money during her career.  

Franklin minimized the chances of be cheated out of payments by literally taking matters into her own hands and demanding to be paid at least part of her fee in cash before going through with work commitments.

Franklin performed at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Gala at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York November 7, 2017 with her purse (pictured left)

Franklin (pictured with her bag on the stage floor) performed at The Mann Center as part of her last tour in Philadelphia August 26, 2017 but could have made more money performing abroad

Franklin performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC in 2015 and her sparkly purse (pictured left) remained in clear view on the piano

An undated contract published by The Smoking Gun reads: ‘Aretha Franklin is to receive from the promoter, a portion of [her] payment in the form of $25,000 in cash.’ 

One of the original divas, Franklin’s team also stated that her ‘dressing room must be supplied with a cool mist humidifier’ and ‘all air conditioning vents must be turned off or taped shut, to prevent any cold air from flowing’.

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Franklin took her stance on payment very seriously, even insisting that she could see her purse which contained the money while on stage, David Remnick writes for the New Yorker.

When it wasn’t possible to have her money piano-side, the star enlisted a trusted employee to be responsible for the funds until she returned.

Those around Franklin would often see stacks of cash on her dressing room vanity table, as reported by Remnick, who himself was a witness at a 2016 gig. He also reported that if there were any issues she simply did not sing. 

Franklin certainly earned a good chunk of money during her six-decade career.  

Franklin (pictured July 2010) kept her money where she could see it to avoid being cheated 

Talent agent Dick Alen recalls she used the cash for their wages and had no real system for taxes, according to 2014 book Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin (pictured above)

Author, David Ritz, writes that she also had not documentation for tax purposes in the book

However, the 18-time Grammy Award winner could have made much more in her time if she hadn’t often refused to travel on planes for work due her fear of flying, reports Forbes’ Zack O’Malley Greenburg who notes she never appeared on any of the publication’s famous rich lists.

Despite being the first female to get 100 tracks on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart with her iconic hits including Respect, Natural Woman, and I Say a Little Prayer, Franklin personally made sure her staff received the payment they were owed.

Talent agent Dick Alen recalls she used the cash for their wages and had no real system for taxes, according to 2014 book Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin.

Author David Ritz writes: ‘I tried to get her to do this by check so she would have a receipt but there were no receipts. She paid cash on the barrelhead.’

A big reason she refused to let others handle her earnings is said to be down to issues other black musicians had when business people cheated them out of payment or never received royalties they were entitled to.  

It’s something the likes of B.B. King and Ray Charles fell victim to, according to Franklin’s friend Tavis Smiley. 

Ray Charles (pictured left in June 2003) and B.B. King (pictured right in April 2013) were some of the black performers known to be cheated out of earnings

Friend, Tavis Smiley (pictured December 2016) says she wanted to avoid being cheated out of money like fellow black musicians B.B. King and Ray Charles who missed out on royalties

Franklin passed away on Thursday at 9.50am surrounded by family and friends. 

‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,’ a statement from her family read.

‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. 

‘We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’ 

Franklin announced her retirement from touring last year. 

Franklin had a long-standing professional relationship with Wonder, with whom she performed 13 years ago at the Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in Pasadena, California (above)

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