The cultural impact of celebrities can live on long after they have passed away resulting in money being added to the estate for licensing of their likenesses and copyrighted works. Bob Ross, the host of The Joy of Painting is one such celebrity.
The name Bob Ross may not be instantly recognized but his work and his picture is instantly recognized despite him probably never being listed as one of the most famous 1,000 people in the world. Ross was the soft-spoken host of PBS's series The Joy of Painting.
Ross was the man who for years taught people how to paint fluffy clouds, mighty mountains and happy trees. He passed away two decades ago.
As the New York Times reports in "Bob Ross's Strange Afterlife," Ross has quietly amassed a large following since his death. His brand of licensed painting supplies continue to sell and reruns of his show are viewed online by millions of people.
The article does not say it, but it would be interesting to know what this has meant for Ross' estate and his heirs. Because of his post-death following, his likeness is extremely valuable. It is not clear if his estate plan covered what to do in the case of such an occurrence.
Nevertheless, one thing that is certain is the company bearing his name continues to do well.
Even a minor celebrity should take into consideration their potential value of popularity after their death and speak with an estate planning attorney.
Reference: New York Times (Dec. 2, 2015) "Bob Ross's Strange Afterlife"