It’s an extremely dark way of phrasing this but there is such a thing as celebrities earning more after they die than while they were living. Let’s put this into perspective; what we’re saying is that there are people who are making more money in one year, more than millions in fact, than most of us will ever see in a lifetime.

The worst part is, they’re no longer “around” to fully reap the fruits of their labour. Or non labour. We’re not sure. We’re already confused.


But let’s cut to the chase. Here are some of the world’s top earning dead celebrities, as compiled by Forbes magazine after speaking to agents, lawyers, and other sources to estimate each star’s gross earnings (before taxes, management fees, and other costs):

#10. Andy Warhol, Bettie Page, and George Harrison – $6 million each.

#9. Richard Rodgers, Steve McQueen, Stieg Larsson, and Jimi Hendrix – $7 million each.

#8. Theodor Geisel – $8 million.

#7. Albert Einstein – $10 million.

#5. Elizabeth Taylor and John Lennon – $12 million each.

#4. Charles Schulz – $25 million


#3. Marilyn Monroe – $27 million

#2. Elvis Presley – $55 million

And who wants to take a swipe at guessing which celebrity is by far the world’s deadest yet highest earning celebrity as of now? He passed away at the age of 50 due to an accidental overdose, leaving behind his “Neverland”, his children, and his legacy. However, his earning power shows no sign of deteriorating just yet.

You might call this entry highly predictable as he is one of the world’s most famous-est celebrities after all. So much so that over the past year, his estate brought in USD170 million from sales of his music and his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog. With that, for the second time around, the top earning dead celebrity is none other than:

#1. Michael Jackson – $170 million


What can we say? The King (of Pop) lives on!

Source: Forbes

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Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.