Richest BusinessDesigners
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Jan 1, 1945 - Oct 7, 2015 (70 years old)
United States of America
💰 Compare Gail Zappa's Net Worth
Table of ContentsExpand
  1. Frank Zappa Estate
  2. Estate Battle

What was Gail Zappa's net worth?

Gail Zappa was an American musician and fashion designer who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of her death in 2015. She was best known for being the wife of musician and composer Frank Zappa.

Gail Zappa was born in California in January 1945 and passed away in October 2015. Gail Zappa was also the trustee of the Zappa Family Trust. The couple had four children together: Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva. Gail studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and recorded with Kim Fowley. When Frank Zappa passed away in 1993, Gail oversaw the release of his previously unavailable works. Gail Zappa passed away on October 7, 2015 after a long battle with lung cancer.

Frank Zappa Estate

The exact value of Frank's estate at the time of his death is extremely difficult to pin down. By some reports, years after Frank's death the estate was "beyond broke," perhaps even millions of dollars in debt at the time he died. His daughter Moon would later claim that she was pressured into selling a home to help raise $250,000 needed for Frank's cancer treatments.

The situation worsened after his death thanks largely to an expensive battle his widow waged with a record company over the digital streaming rights to his catalog. Frank's children have fought for years over the right to perform using the last name "Zappa" and the ability to monetize their father's image. In the years after his death, the estate has earned many millions of dollars through licensing agreements, merchandise sales, film rights, memorabilia and more.

In August 2016, several months after his widow Gail's passing, Frank's famous Laurel Canyon home and studio sold for $5.4 million. Several months after the home was sold, Dweezil claimed in an interview that Gail had "run herself and the business into the ground, spent $20 million in lawsuits and by her demise was $6 million in debt."

Gail Zappa

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Estate Battle

After his death, control over Frank Zappa's estate passed to Gail. When Gail died in 2015 she chose to NOT leave her four surviving children equal shares of the Zappa Family Trust. Instead she left 30% to Ahmet and Diva Zappa, while also making them co-trustees. Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa only received 20% and were not trustees. In essence this put control overt the estate in the hands of Ahmet and Diva, with Ahmet taking on the more active business management role.

Because he is not a trustee, technically Dweezil Zappa needs permission from his brother to perform Frank's music at his own concerts. He also would sell Frank-related merchandise. For many years Dweezil performed as a band called Zappa Plays Zappa. When family tensions over the use of the name arose, he defiantly re-named a tour "50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour." He stopped selling Frank-related merchandise.

The siblings battled for decades. Ahmet and Dweezil ceased speaking to each other. The estate wasn't finally settled until March 2019 when a Los Angeles judge finally approved a settlement agreement between three of the four children (everyone except Moon Unit). According to the 2019 settlement terms, all income generated by the performance of Frank's music or sale of his likeness must be split four ways.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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