Just in time for Halloween – or maybe to satisfy our year round morbid fascinations – Forbes has compiled its 10th Annual list of the world’s top money making famous corpses: That is, celebrities who, in death, made more money than you last year, even though you were – presumably – alive (I don’t want to make assumptions). A lot more.
Unsurprisingly, Michael Jackson takes the top slot. Jackson earned $275 million dollars in just a year – more than all the other dead celebrities combined (and possibly more than he ever made alive; Jackson never appeared on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 – the magazine's annual ranking of living, breathing celebrity earners – in his lifetime). While musicians make up less than half of the list, they fill out most of the top five spots: Elvis Presley is number two ($60 million) and John Lennon comes in at number five ($17 million). Beyond that, composer Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame) managed to pull down $7 million without really trying...or getting up, for that matter. And Jimi Hendrix, who has been dead for about 40 years, lands at number 11 ($6 million) – far below Jackson, Lennon and Presley but, again, still waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of me.
It’s worth noting that Jackson’s staggering post-mortem annual take is actually greater than any other entertainer alive or dead, according to Forbes. Except, of course, for Oprah.
To be eligible to make Forbes’ list of top earning dead celebrities, entertainers had to be deceased (duh) and to have earned at least $5 million between October 1, 2009, and October 1, 2010.
1. Michael Jackson $275 million
2. Elvis Presley $60 million
3. J.R.R. Tolkien $50 million
4. Charles Schulz $33 million
5. John Lennon $17 million
6. Stieg Larsson $15 million
7. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) $11 million
8. Albert Einstein $10 million
9. George Steinbrenner $8 million
10. Richard Rodgers $7 million
11. Jimi Hendrix (tie) $6 million
12. Steve McQueen (tie) $6 million
13. Aaron Spelling $5 million