Some people are worth more dead than alive… at least in a monetary sense. Forbes has just released it’s 10th annual list of the top-earning dead celebrities, and the man at the top, earned more this year than the rest of the list did combined.
1. Michael Jackson
The King of Pop’s recent death sent sales through the roof. Jackson’s estate pulled in $275 million dollars this year, out-earning the two biggest living acts of 2010, U2 and AC/DC. Jackson was also the most Googled celebrity this year.
2. Elvis Presley
The King of Rock and Roll took the second place spot on the top-earning dead celebrities list. Elvis is still a big draw in Las Vegas, and was even bigger this year with the Elvis Cirque du Soleil show. The Elvis index was definitely up this year as Elvis’ estate took in $60 million this year.
3. J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien has been a top-earning dead celebrity since the Lord of the Ring movie franchise was born. But Tolkien’s earnings are getting another boost this year as another Hollywood production of his work is being planned. Tolkien’s estate earned it’s $50 million from Hollywood, but also from the 50o,000 books he reportedly sold last year.
4. Charles M. Schulz
Schulz continues to earn from his Peanuts company, which according to Forbes, still appears in 2,200 newspapers in 75 countries. The Peanuts cartoon characters were also purchased by Iconix this year, which put a little extra green on the Schulz estate. His earnings this year, $33 million.
5. John Lennon
The Beatles singer is still earning big from the Beatles catalog, which saw a rise in sales this year due to EMI’s “Gimme Some Truth” campaign. Lennon also earns from Beatle’s projects, like Beatle’s Rock Band. The Lennon estate brought in $17 million this year.
6. Stieg Larsson
Unfortunately, almost all of Larsson’s success came after he passed in 2004. At the time of his passing, his hit book “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” wasn’t even published. Now, 6 years later, the three books in the series are getting the Hollywood treatment, and a fourth book has been reportedly discovered. Larsson’s estate earned $15 million this year.
7. Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel)
Dr. Seuss is another writer to make the list of top-earning dead celebrities. Dr. Seuss books are still as popular as ever, making Dr. Seuss the most popular children’s author of all time. His work is also finding an even wider audience with Dr. Seuss Ipad apps. Seuss has sold close to 3 million books this year, earning his estate $11 million dollars.
8. Albert Einstein
Who knew science could pay off so well? Well, actually, Einstein isn’t making much money off of his theory of relativity, but he is making money off of his name. Einstein’s name has been on everything from car ads, glasses, video games, and Disney’s Baby Einstein products. Einstein’s estate has earned $10 million this year.
9. George Steinbrenner
Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner passed away in July, but he continues to earn money off of the Yankees club. The Yankees just got knocked out of the playoffs, but they did manage to earn Steinbrenner $8 million before their season ended.
10. Richard Rodgers
You may not know Richard Rodgers, but you definitely know his work. Rogers wrote songs like “My Funny Valentine,” and “The Lady is a Tramp.” Imagem Music Group just bought Rogers’ catalog, along with the work of Oscar Hammerstein, for $200 million. Rodgers’ estate earned $7 million this year.
The earnings for this list were compiled by Forbes, and calculate the earning from Oct. 1, 2009, and Oct. 1, 2010.