Michael Jackson has topped the list of dead celebrity money earners, raking in a jaw-dropping US$400 million nine years after his death from an overdose.
The American pop legend tops the newly-released Forbes‘ list of the highest-paid dead celebrities thanks to his investment stake in EMI Music Publishing, which owns and administers more than 2 million songs.
Elvis Presley, who passed away in 1977, earned US$40 million ($57 million) over the past year, accumulated from the sale of more than a million albums and tickets to Elvis to his former home, Graceland.
Presley’s legacy got a further US$45 million ($63.5 million) boost from the recent opening of an entertainment complex called Elvis Presley’s Memphis.
Professional golfer Arnold Palmer, who died in 2016 aged 87 from heart disease is Forbes‘ third highest-paid celebrity of 2018.
He grossed US$35 million ($49.4 million) over the past year, largely due to the release of a new alcoholic product as part of his signature beverage line but also from his leisurewear brand and the operation of hundreds of successful golf courses he designed.
Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, who died in 2000, was the fourth highest paid, earning US$34 million ($48 million) in the past year due to DHX Media’s acquisition of 80 per cent of his Peanuts business.
He is followed by musician Bob Marley who despite dying from cancer in 1981, earned US$23 million ($32.4 million) last year from sales of his headphones range, cannabis brand Marley Natural and smoking accessories.
Children’s book favourite Dr Seuss earned US$16 million ($22.5 million), while Playboy founder Hugh Hefner made US$15 million ($21.1 million).
Iconic actress Marilyn Monroe continues to turn heads, with US$14 million ($19.7 million) in earnings, while music stars Prince US$13 million ($18.3 million), John Lennon US$12 million ($16.9 million) and XXXTentacion US$11 million ($15.5 million) continued to earn.
Former world champion Muhammad Ali made US$8 million ($11.2 million), while 1950s pin-up idol Bettie Page made US$7 million ($9.8 million) as her likeness has found renewed popularity on clothing, shoes, handbags, lingerie, wigs and even a fitness DVD.
Forbes’ dead-celebrity rich list, 2018:
- Michael Jackson, US$400 million ($565 million)
- Elvis Presley, US$40 million ($57 million)
- Charles Schulz, US$34 million ($48 million)
- Arnold Palmer, US$23 million ($32.4 million)
- Dr Seuss, US$16 million ($22.5 million)
- Bob Marley, US$23 million ($32.4 million)
- Hugh Hefner, US$15 million ($21.1 million)
- Marilyn Monroe, US$14 million ($19.7 million)
- Prince, US$13 million ($18.3 million)
- John Lennon, US$12 million ($16.9 million)
- XXXTentacion, US$11 million ($15.5 million)
- Muhammad Ali, US$8 million ($11.2 million)
- Bettie Page, US$7 million ($9.8 million)