13 Celebrities Who Earn Millions From the Grave

The King of Pop rules over the list of highest-earning dead celebrities. Find out how much he and other dearly departed stars earned in the past year.

13 Celebrities Who Earn Millions From the Grave Photo (cc) by Ralph Hockens

The late Michael Jackson pulled in $115 million in the past year.

That’s down from the $140 million he earned the prior year, but the decrease of about 18 percent didn’t faze the estate of the King of Pop. He still rules Forbes magazine’s list of the 13 top-earning dead celebrities of 2015.

Jackson’s 2015 earnings are more than twice those of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, who earned the No. 2 spot by taking in $55 million this year.

At the other end of the list, James Dean took No. 13 with $8.5 million in earnings this year — 60 years after his death.

Forbes’ ranking, released this week, is based on pretax earnings from Oct. 1, 2014, through Oct. 1, 2015. Earnings include income from record sales, music publishing, film residuals and licensing, for example.

The magazine reports that Jackson’s 2015 earnings stem from the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson ONE,” the Mijac Music catalog, recorded music sales and half of the Sony/ATV publishing empire.

Presley’s latest earnings came primarily from ticket sales at Graceland, the late singer’s Memphis, Tennessee, mansion turned museum.

The top 13 dead celebrities on Forbes’ list are:

  1. Michael Jackson: $115 million
  2. Elvis Presley: $55 million
  3. Charles Schulz: $40 million
  4. Bob Marley: $21 million
  5. Elizabeth Taylor: $20 million
  6. Marilyn Monroe: $17 million
  7. John Lennon: $12 million
  8. Albert Einstein: $11 million
  9. Paul Walker: $10.5 million
  10. Bettie Page $10 million
  11. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss): $9.5 million
  12. Steve McQueen: $9 million
  13. James Dean: $8.5 million

For the complete list of names and numbers, visit Forbes’ “Top-Earning Dead Celebrities 2015” website.

To learn more about the financial lives of the rich and famous, check out:

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