Gone But Not Forgotten: Dead Celebrity Earnings

November 20, 2020 Paul Emile Trudelle General Interest Tags: , 0 Comments

The earning power of the estates of deceased celebrities is astounding. According to a list published by Forbes.com, the 13 top-earning dead celebrities earned over $259 million collectively.

Here are the ranked names, their earnings, and a glimpse into the reason for the massive earnings:

Rank Name Date of Death 2020 Earnings* Contributing Factors
13 Marilyn Monroe August 4, 1962 $8 million Netflix biopic, branding, including Dolce & Gabbana, Lego,
12 George Harrison November 29, 2001 $8.5 million Las Vegas’ Cirque du Soleil’s Love
11 Freddy Mercury November 24, 1991 $9 million Royalties from biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, related music and merchandise sales
10 Prince April 21, 2016 $10 million Album sales, streams, royalties
9 John Lennon December 8, 1980 $13 million Album sales, streams, royalties
8 Bob Marley May 11, 1981 $14 million Album sales, streams, royalties, merchandise
7 Juice WRLD December 8, 2019 $15 million Album sales, music streams
6 Kobe Bryant January 26, 2020 $20 million Merchandising, sale of autobiography
5 Elvis Presley August 16, 1977 $23 million Down from usual, due to reduced earnings from Elvis’ home/museum Graceland, which usually earns $10 m a year, Netflix animated series
4 Arnold Palmer September 25, 2016 $25 million (Most surprising to me). Arnold Palmer hit a hole in one with Arizona Beverages to market his eponymous iced tea/lemonade drink, merchandising
3 Charles Schultz February 12, 2000 $32.5 million Programming royalties, new deal with Apple TV+ for series Snoopy in Space
2 Dr. Suess September 24, 1991 $33 million Book sales (6 m books in 2019), series deal with Netflix, movie deal for 3 movies with Warner Brothers
1 Michael Jackson June 25, 2009 $48 million Just because he is The Prince of Pop.

*based on pre-tax income from October 1, 2019, to October 1, 2020. Fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted.

Thank you for reading.

Paul Trudelle

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