Late pop singer Michael Jackson earned $275 million USD between October 2009 and October 2010, making him the top-earning dead celebrity in the world, according to Forbes.
Top 10 Earning Dead Celebrities 2009-2010
1. Michael Jackson – $275 million
2. Elvis Presley – $60 million
3. J.R.R. Tolkien – $50 million
4. Charles Schultz – $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
Jackson Outearns Everyone
Jackson earned more than the other nine members of the top 10-earning dead celebrity list combined. He also earned more than any living celebrity between October 2009 and October 2010 except for talk show host and media magnate Oprah Winfrey.
Musicians, Writers Top Earners
Four of the top 10 earning dead celebrities were musicians of some sort (Jackson, Presley, Lennon and Rodgers). Three more were writers (Tolkien, Larsson and Geisel). The remaining three are an ecletic assortment of a cartoonist (Schultz), scientist (Einstein) and sports franchise owner (Steinbrenner).
Men, Americans Dominate List
Seven of the 10 top-earning dead celebrities were native-born Americans. Einstein immigrated to the US from Germany and later became a citizen. The only two members born outside the US who never became US citizens are Tolkien (UK) and Larsson (Sweden).
Most Celebrities Died Fairly Recently
One celebrity on the list, Steinbrenner, died earlier this year. Three more: Jackson, Larssen and Schultz, died in the first decade of this century. Seuss died in the 1990s, meaning half of the celebrities on the list died within the past 20 years.
Lennon died in the 1980s, while Rodgers, Presley and Tolkien all died in the 1970s. The only celebrity to have died more than 40 years ago is Albert Einstein, who passed away in 1955.
’80s Rockers Break the Bank
Looking at the highest-earning living musical performers between June 2009 – June 2009, four of them started their career or were active in the 1980s, according to a previous ranking by Forbes. These performers include #1 U2, #2 AC/DC, #4 Bruce Springsteen and #8 Madonna.