Even in Death; Michael Jackson Tops Forbes’ List Of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

Getty Images
Getty Images

Forbes has released its list of top earning dead celebrities and I’m tempted to believe being alive is overrated (hehe, die and see) especially when it comes to making money.

The 13 late luminaries who rank on this year’s list of the Top-Earning Dead Celebrities brought in a total of $363.5 million over the last 12 months. While living, celebrities can be temperamental and demanding. In death, they simply become brands to be managed. Their images can be attached to everything from T-shirts and posters to fragrances and lingerie, and they can even return from the dead in the form of eerily life-like holograms.

Few celebrities prove the point that there is (financial) life after death better than Michael Jackson. The King of Pop tops our list yet again with $140 million in earnings. This year, the singer had his second posthumous album release with Xscape, which debuted at No. 2 on the charts. He also appeared (in hologram form) on stage at the Billboard Music Awards. The hologram performance left some fans thrilled and others a bit freaked out, but expect to see more of the same from other dead celebrities as the technology advances to the point where we won’t be able to tell the difference.

Well check out how much the dead are making.

1. Michael Jackson


2. Elvis Presley

$55 million
Died: August 16, 1977
Cause: Heart Attack
Age: 42

3. Charles Schulz

$40 million
Died: February 12, 2000
Cause: Colon cancer
Age: 77

4. Elizabeth Taylor

$25 million
Died: March 23, 2011
Cause: Heart failure
Age: 79

5. Bob Marley

$20 million
Died: May 11, 1981
Cause: Cancer
Age: 36

6. Marilyn Monroe

$17 million
Died: August 5, 1962
Cause: Overdose
Age: 36

7. John Lennon

$12 million
Died: December 8, 1980
Cause: Murder
Age: 40

8. Albert Einstein

$11 million
Died: April 18, 1955
Cause: Natural causes
Age: 76

9. Theodor Geisel

$9 million
Died: September 24, 1991
Cause: Natural causes
Age: 87

10. Bruce Lee

$9 million
Died: July 7, 1973
Cause: Cerebral edema
Age: 32

11. Steve McQueen

$9 million
Died: November 30, 1980
Cause: Complications from surgery
Age: 50

12. Bettie Page

$9 million
Died: December 11, 2008
Cause: Natural causes
Age: 85

13. James Dean

$7 million
Died: September 30, 1955
Cause: Car crash
Age: 24

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