Nov 2, 2012

Top Earning Dead Celebrities of 2012

Some dead celebrities continue to cash in on their fame post-mortem. Despite passing away, their business portfolios and past accolades collect revenue at impressive rates – deceased benefactors to their heirs and business partners. Rich in life and in death, these are the celebs that have raked in the most royalties this year.

Forbes List of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

  1. Elizabeth Taylor: Taylor tops this year’s list of top-earning dead celebrities with $210 million dollars in cold hard cash. The actress, who passed away at 79 years of age in 2011 due to heart failure, has Christie’s to thank for her number one spot on the Forbes list. The jeweller is responsible for the record-breaking sale of the late movie star’s jewellery and art; an event which brought in $184 million dollars of the total sum recorded above. Her estate, which has set up her remaining relatives financially for life, will now turn its attention to exploiting her iconic image for more money – an activity that holds a lot of potential for profit thanks to Taylor’s embodiment of old-Hollywood glamour.  
  2. Michael Jackson: His rumoured financial troubles prior to his death have certainly been waylaid as the king of pop earns himself a new title: music’s post-mortem cash king. Bringing in the equivalent of $145 dollars in 2012, the deceased Jackson has managed to earn more money in single year than any living artist can claim.
  3. Elvis Presley: Rock n Roll Royalty Elvis Presley’s royalties remain staggering at $55 million dollars this year. Presley celebrates his 35th anniversary since his death in 1977 with what some have called ‘flat earnings’ due to the closure of his Viva Elvis show in Las Vegas and the auctioning of his Graceland mansion to billionaire Leon Black.
  4. Charles Schulz: Famous cartoonist Charles Schulz holds his own amongst this posse of top-earning dead celebrities with an impressive haul of $37 million dollars in the past 12 months alone. The creative genius behind the Peanuts comic strip died in 2000 from aggressive colon cancer at the ripe old age of 77, an end which hasn’t slowed down the earnings of Charlie Brown in any way, shape or form. The Peanuts protagonist and his gang are as hot as ever 67 years since their first comic debut, with Fox even announcing that a Peanuts movie is in the works from the makers of Ice Age.
  5. Bob Marley: He didn’t manage to beat the popularity of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, but the king of reggae certainly made the list of top-earning dead celebrities by earning $17 million dollars this past year. Not considered a pioneer of commercial ventures in life, Bob Marley has managed to become one of the most diversified businessmen from beyond the grave.  Despite his tragic death at the young age of 36 in 1981, Marley’s albums have continued to sell at a rapid rate, recently hitting the 75 million mark. Besides albums, Bob Marley’s business portfolio consists of a variety of other acquisitions, most recent additions including a beverage company and a production house of eco-friendly audio and lifestyle products.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that death has had no hold on the finances of these celebrities, each earning more in the past 12 months than their living counterparst. Whether they’re truly resting in peace or busy as ever in a heavenly boardroom could be debated. One thing is clear; the above named dead celebrities are the richest they’ve ever been – perhaps one of the only positive outcomes that can be derived from their passing. 

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Bella Gray is a corporate blogger based in office space in Miami. A maestro of tips and strategies for navigating the workplace, Gray is the perfect go-to-gal for all your business solutions.

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