15 Highest-Earning Dead Celebs

Michael Jackson tops the list again

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 25, 2011 1:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – When you’re a celebrity, dying doesn’t have to mean you stop making money. Forbes offers up its annual list of the top-earning celebs of the past year:

  1. Michael Jackson: The King of Pop is in the top spot for the second year in a row, earning $170 million thanks to music sales, his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog, and a new Cirque du Soleil tour.
  2. Elvis Presley: The King of Pop is followed by the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, who earned $55 million, much of which came from Graceland admissions. A Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas didn’t hurt, either.
  3. Marilyn Monroe: A resurgence in popularity is partly to thank for her $27 million in earnings; for example, she was featured in an ad for J’Adore fragrance, and soon she’ll be getting her own line of cafes.
  4. Charles Schulz: The Peanuts creator earned $25 million as his creations found themselves coming into the digital age via a video game, e-books, and a Facebook app, among other things.
  5. John Lennon: The Beatles sold 1.6 million albums last year after finally arriving in the iTunes Store, which may have something to do with Lennon’s $12 million in earnings. Also helping? Yet another Cirque show.

  1. Elizabeth Taylor: Tied with John Lennon at $12 million, she’s still earning money from her perfume, White Diamonds—and she’ll earn even more in December, when Christie’s auctions off her jewelry and other valuables.
Click for the full list.

In this photo taken Aug. 25, 1993, American pop star Michael Jackson performs during his "Dangerous" tour in Bangkok.   (AP Photo/Jeff Widener, file)
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