Maya Angelou Net Worth At Death – How Did She Get Rich?

Maya Angelou Net Worth At Death

Maya Angelou had an estimated net worth of $10 Million at death.  Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, poet and award-winning author known for her acclaimed 1969 memoir, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ and her numerous poetry and essay collections. The majority of her income comes from her career as a Playwright, Actor, Television producer, Film director, Film Producer, Poet, Author, Professor, Screenwriter and Dancer.

Maya Angelou was an American author, screenwriter, dancer, poet, and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which became the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman. Throughout her career, Angelou has received numerous awards, including two NAACP Image Awards in the category of outstanding literary work (nonfiction) in 2005 and 2009.

To calculate the net worth of Maya Angelou, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Net Worth: $10 Million
Date of Birth: Apr 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014 (86 years old)
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.82 m)
Profession: Playwright, Actor, Television producer, Film director, Film Producer, Poet, Author, Professor, Screenwriter, Dancer
Nationality: United States of America

Early Life

Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928. Angelou had a difficult upbringing. When she was a child, her parents divorced, and she and her older brother, Bailey, were sent to live with their father’s mother, Anne Henderson, in Stamps, Arkansas.

Angelou, as an African American, faced racial prejudice and discrimination in Arkansas. She was also abused by a family member when she was about 7 years old: Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend while visiting her mother. Angelou’s uncles murdered the boyfriend in retaliation for the sexual assault.

Angelou was so shaken by the experience that she couldn’t speak. She returned to Arkansas and became a virtual mute for several years.


During WWII, Angelou relocated to San Francisco, California. She won a scholarship to the California Labor School to study dance and acting.

During this time, Angelou became the first Black female cable car conductor in San Francisco, a position she held only briefly.

Acting and Singing Career

Angelou’s career as a performer began to take off in the mid-1950s. She landed a role in a touring production of Porgy and Bess before going on to appear in the off-Broadway production Calypso Heat Wave (1957) and release her first album, Miss Calypso (1957).

Angelou, a civil rights activist and member of the Harlem Writers Guild, organized and starred in the musical revue Cabaret for Freedom as a benefit for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, while also serving as the SCLC’s northern coordinator.

Angelou co-starred with James Earl Jones, Lou Gossett Jr., and Cicely Tyson in an off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks in 1961.

Angelou went on to win a Tony Award for her performance in the play Look Away (1973) and an Emmy Award for her work on the television miniseries Roots (1977), among other accolades.

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Time in Africa

Angelou spent the majority of the 1960s working as an editor and freelance writer in Egypt and Ghana. Angelou also worked at the University of Ghana for a time.

She also became close to human rights activist and Black nationalist leader Malcolm X while in Ghana, where she joined a community of “Revolutionist Returnees” exploring pan-Africanism. Angelou returned to the United States in 1964 and assisted Malcolm X in establishing the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which disbanded after his assassination the following year.


‘Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie’ (1971)

Angelou published several poetry collections, the most famous of which was 1971’s Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Other well-known poetry collections by Angelou include:

  • Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well (1975), which includes Angelou’s poem “Alone”
  • And Still I Rise (1978), which features the beloved poem “Phenomenal Woman”
  • Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? (1983)
  • I Shall Not Be Moved (1990), featuring the poem “Human Family”; Apple famously used a video of Angelou reading this poem in an advertisement at the 2016 Olympics
  • Even the Stars Look Lonesome (1997)

‘On the Pulse of Morning’ (1993)

Angelou wrote this poem specifically for and recited it at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ceremony in January 1993, making it one of her most famous works. It was the first inaugural recitation since 1961, when Robert Frost read “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

Angelou went on to win a Grammy Award for the audio version of the poem (best spoken word album).

Angelou’s other well-known poems include:

  • “His Day Is Done” (1962), a tribute poem Angelou wrote for Nelson Mandela as he made his secret journey from Africa to London
  • “Amazing Peace” (2005), written by Angelou for the White House tree-lighting ceremony


‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ (1969)

James Baldwin, a friend and fellow writer, encouraged Angelou to write about her life experiences. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, her hugely successful 1969 memoir about her childhood and young adult years, was the result.

The moving story made literary history by becoming the first nonfiction bestseller written by an African American woman. The book that launched Angelou’s international career is still considered her most popular autobiographical work.

Angelou was praised in 1995 for remaining on The New York Times’ paperback nonfiction bestseller list for two years, the longest run in the chart’s history.

‘Gather Together in My Name’ (1974)

This memoir, Angelou’s follow-up to A Caged Bird, covers her life as an unemployed teenage mother in California, when she turned to drugs and prostitution.

‘Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas’ (1976)

This autobiography was written by Angelou about her early career as a singer and actress.

‘The Heart of a Woman’ (1981)

Angelou wrote this memoir after moving to New York with her son to participate in the civil rights movement.

‘All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes’ (1986)

This autobiographical book, written by Maya Angelou, is a lyrical exploration of what it means to be an African American in Africa.

‘Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now’ (1994)

Angelou’s insights on spirituality and living well are featured in this inspirational essay collection.

‘A Song Flung Up to Heaven’ (2002)

A Song Flung Up to Heaven, another autobiographical work, examines Angelou’s return from Africa to the United States and her subsequent struggle to cope with the assassinations of two human rights leaders with whom she worked, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Angelou began work on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings after being encouraged by her friend Baldwin.

‘Letter to My Daughter’ (2008)

This book of essays, dedicated to the daughter Angelou never had, contains Angelou’s advice for young women on living a meaningful life.

‘Mom & Me & Mom’ (2013)

Angelou discusses her complicated relationship with a mother who abandoned her as a child in this memoir.


Angelou’s published cookbooks on health include Hallelujah! Great Food, All Day Long (2005) and The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes (2005) (2010).

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Screenplay Author and Director

Following the publication of Caged Bird, Angelou broke new ground artistically, educationally, and socially with her 1972 drama Georgia, Georgia, becoming the first African American woman to have her screenplay produced.

Down in the Delta, starring Alfre Woodard, was Angelou’s directorial debut in 1998, as she sought new creative challenges.

Accomplishments and Awards

Angelou’s career has been marked by numerous honors, including the Chicago International Film Festival’s 1998 Audience Choice Award and a nomination for Down in the Delta from the Acapulco Black Film Festival in 1999.

She also received two NAACP Image Awards in the category of outstanding literary work (nonfiction) for her 2005 cookbook and Letter to My Daughter in 2008.

Famous Friends

Martin Luther King Jr., Angelou’s close friend, was assassinated on her birthday (April 4) in 1968. For years after that, Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday, and she sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Coretta died in 2006.

Angelou was also close to TV personality Oprah Winfrey, who hosted several birthday parties for the award-winning author, including a week-long cruise for her 70th birthday in 1998.

Personal Life

Guy Angelou, a 16-year-old Angelou, was born in 1944. (a short-lived high school relationship led to the pregnancy). She worked a variety of jobs after giving birth to support herself and her child. Angelou’s son, a poet himself, is now known as Guy Johnson.

Angelou married Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor, in 1952, and took her professional name from him — a combination of her childhood nickname, “Maya,” and a shortened version of his surname. The couple eventually divorced.

Angelou, who was notoriously private about her marriages, was likely married at least three times, including in 1973 to a carpenter named Paul du Feu.


Angelou died on May 28, 2014, at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after battling health issues for several years. Many people took to social media to mourn and remember Angelou after learning of her death. In tribute, singer Mary J. Blige and politician Cory Booker both tweeted their favorite quotes by her.

President Barack Obama also issued a statement about Angelou, describing her as an inspiration “a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and an absolutely incredible woman

” Angelou “had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children, and that we all have something to offer.” “He wrote something.

U.S. Quarter

Angelou was announced as one of the first women to be honored with a new series of quarters from the United States Mint in May 2021.

Further Reading

Related Lists of Celebrities’ Net Worth

Or, browse all celebrities’ net worth.

How To Become Rich Like Maya Angelou?

Maya Angelou did not become rich by luck. To become as rich as Maya Angelou, you have to work smart.

Successful people become rich because they take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. They are in the right place at the right time and take the right action.

Thanks to the Internet, the world has changed massively in recent years. Nowadays it has become much easier to make money online.

Instead of looking for a 9-5 job and staying in your comfort zone, it’s better if you become your own boss as soon as possible.

You can learn how to build a digital asset that generates cash flow for you while you sleep to grow your wealth quickly.

If you seize this golden opportunity in time, you can become as successful as Maya Angelou one day.

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