The King of Pop may have died an untimely and unnatural death two years earlier, but that has not stopped him from topping the Forbes list of the highest earning dead celebrities. The Michael Jackson palace continues to rake in the moolah. Michael Jackson memorabilia continues to sell. In fact, over the last twelve months, the man made $170 million – that makes him the top earning dead artist as well as the highest earning pop act of the year, even among the living ones.
Each year, Forbes tracks the highest earning dead celebrities. MJ had topped this list last year too. And one would not be surprised if he continues to do so year after year. Even the runner-up, Elvis Presley, makes only a third of MJ’s earnings. However, Presley’s earnings of $55 million are no mean feat given that he passed on over thirty years ago.
Tragic diva Marilyn Monroe comes in third with earnings of $27 million. The famous blonde is one of three women to make it to this list. The other two ladies are also yesteryear beauties, glamour girl Elizabeth Taylor and pinup goddess Bettie Page.
Apart from MJ and Elvis, other musicians who make it to this list include John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Richard Rodgers and George Harrison. The sole male actor to make it here is the king of cool, Steve McQueen. But this list includes writers as well. Cartoonist Charles Schulz’ Peanuts propels him to the No. 4 spot. With earnings of $25 million, he stops just short of Marilyn Monroe. Theodore Giesel, or rather Doctor Seuss comes in at No. 8 while “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” writer drops in at No. 9. Representing science is Albert Einstein at No. 7 and doing his turn for the arts is Andy Warhol at No. 13.
Have a look at the full list:
Top 15 Highest-Earning Dead Celebrities
1. Michael Jackson (Net Worth: $170 million)
His publishing company Mijac Music continues to be a money-spinner even after his death.
2. Elvis Presley (Net Worth: $55 million)
The King of Rock and Roll’s earnings are still rolling in over three decades after he died.
3. Marilyn Monroe (Net Worth: $27 million)
50 years have passed since she mysteriously died, but she’s still in the news. Authentic Brands Group purchased her estate in 2011.
4. Charles Schulz (Net Worth: $25 million)
The Peanuts comic strip continues to rake in millions for this much-loved cartoonist.
5. John Lennon (Net Worth: $12 million — tie)
His estate makes money. In 2010, after iTunes included The Beatles, the group sold 1.6 million albums. That and so many other licensing deals keep this late musician rolling in money.
5. Elizabeth Taylor (Net Worth: $12 million — tie)
Her White Diamonds perfume is bringing in the moolah. More is expected when Christies’ auctions much of her personal belongings in December 2011.
7. Albert Einstein (Net Worth: $10 million)
Einstein’s name continues to make money even though the scientist died way back in 1955. Everything from baby products to trucks to eyewear sell in his name.
8. Theodor Giesel (Net Worth: $9 million)
The man we know better as Doctor Seuss continues to make money through his wonderful children’s stories.
9. Jimi Hendrix (Net Worth: $7 million — tie)
Posthumous releases have proved big money-makers for this talented musician who died too young.
9. Stieg Larsson (Net Worth: $7 million — tie)
He may not have lived to see the runaway success of his book “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, but posthumous earning have hit the roof.
9. Steve McQueen ($7 million — tie)
This super-cool actor continues to grace ads for big brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana decades after his death.
9. Richard Rodgers ($7 million — tie)
This songwriter’s solo works are still bringing in the moolah.
13. George Harrison ($6 million — tie)
Like John Lennon, this late The Beatles member continues to profit from the group’s successes.
13. Bettie Page ($6 million — tie)
She was the original pin-up girl. Today, her signature style brings in the money through clothing brands.
13. Andy Warhol ($6 million — tie)
The artist’s signature images not only inspire contemporary artists but also feature on brand campaigns for the likes of Pepe Jeans London and Diane von Furstenburg.