Top-Earning Deceased Celebrities

atkins-bookshelf-triviaStudents of art are familiar with the well-known stories of famous artists, like Vincent Van Gogh, who died penniless. Andy Warhol, who was as much a businessman as he was an artist, was keenly aware of the fate of some of his predecessors and  recognized the tremendous windfall that death could bring: “Death means a lot of money, honey. Death can really make you look like a star.” Each year, Forbes tracks the top annual earnings of people in the world of business, entertainment, and — perhaps most curious of all — in the afterlife. In some cases, celebrities make more money in death than in life — not the best situation if you want to party in style in the afterlife (presumably Hades has the better bar and fun-loving crowd) — and certainly more than some living celebrities. Not surprisingly, a dead celebrity’s peak earning period is the year of their death. For example, in 2010 (12 months following his death on June 25, 2009) the estate of Michael Jackson earned more than $1 billion — earning more than the top ten dead celebrities combined. Here is the list of the top-earning deceased celebrities of 2012:

1. Elizabeth Taylor: $210 million
2. Michael Jackson: $145 million
3. Elvis Presley: $55 million
4. Charles Schulz: $37 million
5. Bob Marley: $17 million
6. John Lennon: $12 million
7. Marilyn Monroe: $10 million
8. Albert Einstein: $10 million
9. Dr. Seuss: $9 million
10: Steve McQueen: $8 million

Read related posts: Highest Paid Actresses on Television
Highest Paid Celebrities Under 30

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