Ten Highest-Earning Dead Celebrities: Top Two Are Just Who You Would Expect, but List Has a Few Surprises

Oct 25, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The new Forbes list of the top-earning dead celebrities is a mix of the expected and the unexpected, with one huge superstar well ahead of the pack, the magazine reports.

The King of Pop and the man known simply as The King are the top two. Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, earned $170 million in the past year, according to the story. That places him well ahead of Elvis Presley, a perennial earner since his death in 1977. Presley’s estate took in $55 million.

The story notes that Jackson earned more than any pop act — including living artists — except one, with only the rock band U2 topping Jackson’s earnings.

Marilyn Monroe has been off the list, but bounced back this year to come in third at $27 million. The rights to Monroe’s estate were bought this year by Authentic Brand Management, which also holds the rights to Bob Marley’s estate and plans to move Monroe’s image into more upscale deals.

“Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz was fourth with $25 million.

Fifth place saw a tie, and a bit of a surprise, with Elizabeth Taylor joining the list. Taylor, who died in March, took in $12 million, most of it from the sales of her perfume White Diamonds. Also earning $12 million was former Beatle John Lennon.

Rounding out the top 10 are Albert Einstein, “Dr. Seuss” writer Theodor Geisel, guitar master Jimi Hendrix and Stieg Larsson, author of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

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