Dead Celebrities Can’t Take It With Them But Still Making Plenty


More evidence that estate executors can be effective business managers. Forbes provides a list of the 15 highest earning dead celebrities. Here’s an excerpt from the report.

It’s been two years since Michael Jackson passed away at the age of 50 but the King of Pop’s earning power shows no sign of waning. For the second year in a row, Jackson tops our annual list of the Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. Over the past 12 months Jackson’s estate brought in $170 million from sales of his music and his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog. That’s a big drop from the $275 million Jackson earned in the previous 12 months but it’s still enough to make him the second highest-earning pop act over the past year, dead or alive, after U2.

The 15 people on our list earned a combined $366 million between October 2010 and October 2011, which just goes to show that death is not the end when it comes to celebrities.

Songwriters who own their own work usually fare best on our list because their catalogs can keep selling well long after they’ve passed away. But now there’s a new way for dead pop stars to earn big: Cirque Du Soleil.
. . . .
The Cirque show Viva Elvis helped Elvis Presley rank second on our list with $55 million. Of course Presley’s iconic songs, like “Hound Dog” and “Heartbreak Hotel,” still sell well and fans flock to Graceland. But a long-running Vegas show where tickets sell for as much as $175 a pop definitely gooses earnings. John Lennon, who ties for fifth on our list with $12 million, and George Harrison, tied for 13th with $6 million, both also benefited from Cirque. The show Love, based on Beatles music, has been running at The Mirage in Las Vegas since 2006.

Read the rest of the article and get the full list of 15 at Forbes.

Elvis knew the score

Thanks to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog for bringing this article to our attention.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Anonymous9000

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