Top 10 Money-Making Dead Celebrities

Even after they’re gone, their financial legacies live on and the stars continue to live in our hearts for eternity. From historic icons like Marilyn Monroe to recent losses like Michael Jackson, Top 10 List has compiled a list of dead celebrities that are still earning the big bucks and profiting big time.


1. Elizabeth Taylor:

elizabeth taylor

Glamour will never be the same again, not after Elizabeth Taylor  died in 2011. But for her heirs,  she’s still spiritually and monetarily with us. Her perfume line has brought in a hefty $12 million to herinvestors. Her belongings will be auctioned off, with proceeds estimated to be around $30 million. And we’re not even talking about her image license. In 2012, she was rumoured to have been worth $210 million.


2. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 of propofol intoxication . He suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in California. His physician, Conrad Murray, said he had found Jackson in his room, not breathing and that he administered CPR on his bed but with no success.

In August of 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled Jackson’s death a homicide. Shortly before his death, Jackson had been administered propofol and two anti-anxiety benzodiazepines – lorazepam and midazolam in his home, which needed to have been done in a hospital by a licensed doctor/ Murray was convicted in November 2011 of involuntary manslaughter and is now serving a 4 year sentence for his role in Michael Jackson’s death.

Jackson’s estate has a number of steady revenue streams. Not only does it earn from sales of Jackson’s own music, Jackson owned 50% of Sony’s ATV catalog stocks,; this includes artists like The Beatles and Lady Gaga. His estate also derives its success from the successful Cirque Du Soleil show The Immortal Tour. He is now worth a total of $145 million  as of 2012.

He’s held the top spot since his death in 2009, only to be beaten in 2012 by his best friend, Elizabeth Taylor. I am sure they are drinking it up in heaven and having a blast knowing they are still earning the big bucks down here.


3. Elvis Presley

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll died in 1977 of a heart attack.

Although he can no sing and dance the way he used and hasn not done it for more than three decades, Elvis Presley is still earning money and according to Forbes Magazine, he remains one of the top earning dead celebrity.

According to news sources, the “King of Rock n’ Roll” pulled in $55 million dollars in 2012, which is not bad for a dead celebrity for 36 years  This figure did increase substantially as more visitors came to Graceland to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death and publicity was also generated by new ventures such as the Elvis Sirius Satellite Radio show.


4. Charles M. Schulz

This cartoonist created Peanuts and died in the year 2000, aged 77 of colon cancer. He earns about 35 million dollars ever year because the cartoon is still published in over 2,100 newspapers all over the world. Most of the money comes from the merchandise that is created and sold to the ever-doting public year after year.


5. John Lennon

John Lennon

John Lennon was a part of the celebrated rock band, The Beatles. He died in 1980 when Mark David Chapman shot him four times outside his apartment.  The Beatles still sell more than a million records a year, despite splitting up in 1970. Lennon’s solo work also makes sales in the hundreds of thousands of copies each year. In addition, widow Yoko Ono filed a $10 million lawsuit against record company EMI so she can earn back royalties and master recordings, boosting Lennon’s bank account as a result.


6. Marilyn Monroe


She is most famous for  singing the sexiest happy birthday song to one of the most beloved presidents of the United States, whom she was rumoured to have an affair with. Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 at the young age of 36 as a result of a drug overdose. By leaving us in her prime, our view of Marilyn as a sexy vixen will never change.  Fifty years after she passed away, she is still earning $27 million, most of it has to do with the controversy over her death.


7. Albert Einstein


This genius died at age 76 and earns about 20 million dollars annually. People request for his him more than anybody else at image licensing shops and Walt Disney produces a truckload of education videos and toys under the popular Baby Einstein label. He will continue to earn this kind of money for all eternity, it seems.


8. Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was a pop artist who died at age 58 after an operation went wrong. His estate was recently sold and several licensing deals will allow him to earn royalties for a long time. Merchandise like billboards and bags will be created in his name.


9. Theodor Geisel or Dr. Seuss

Dr. Suess died in 1991 at age 87. The famous Grinch created by the author will be featured in several plays and Broadway shows. The tickets will cost about 100 dollars- multiply that with 12 shows per week and add it to the revenue he continues to earn as his books are cherished by children all over the world. For those who can’t do the math, he earns 10 million dollars every year.


10. Ray Charles

Ray Charles was a talented musician who died of a liver disease in 2004. He continues to earn about 10 million dollars every year because his estate is of great interest to those who appreciate his work. In addition to that, the film that released in 2004 was based on his life which means that the royalties will be rolling in for a long time.



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4 Responses

  1. Tracey


  2. Dave Price

    In the year after his death Michael Jackson made an estimated $275 million. Thats NOT including money from his catalogue. The following year he made $150 million. This year he is expected to make even more due to the new Cirque De Soliel stage show based on his music and the album accompanying it. Whoever wrote this article is clearly omitting MJ to prove some point or otherwise didnt do their research properly and just looked up people THEY like. Thought I’d get the info and put it here since I’m clearly not the only one who looked at this list expecting to see him here…

  3. Audrey

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