Michael Jackson Is Still The Top-Earning Dead Celebrity
It's ghoulish, but also more than a little entertaining, to check in each year on the list of highest-earning dead celebrities. Maybe I just hope that eventually my ancestors will be making a mint off of me long after I'm gone, or maybe it's just amusing to think of people like John Lennon and Elvis Presley as being like Tupac, constantly speaking beyond the grave in the form of cold hard cash.
And while the list fluctuates from year to year, it usually remains the same until you get some kind of high profile death. Enter Elizabeth Taylor, who after her death in March now ties John Lennon at #5, earning $12 million in the last year. According to the list by Forbes, Michael Jackson is still well ahead of the pack with $170 million revenue-- that's not just more than dead celebrities, but more than every currently living pop act except U2. Elvis came in at second place again, partly thanks to a new Cirque du Soleil show based around his music, and Marilyn Monroe clocked in at third place. That's actually a surprise, given that she hasn't even made the list in the last few years; apparently it's not just the upcoming My Week With Marilyn interested in resurrecting her image. Rounding out that top 5 at #4 is Charles Schulz, the Peanuts creator who, while hugely important, doesn't really qualify as a celebrity if you ask me.
A few other surprises on the list include Bettie Page, the pin-up girl who tied George Harrison and Andy Warhol at #13. There's also room for Albert Einstein on this list even though, again, he doesn't exactly seem to fit the definition of celebrity. Check out the full list over at Forbes, and if you're really morbid, speculate in the comments if they'll stretch the rules enough to include Steve Jobs next year.