Want to know who the highest-paid deceased celebrities are? With the fact that celebrities have already died years ago, the image and legacy of these celebrities continue to generate substantial income.
There is no doubt that, even as the years go by, some well-known dead celebrities like Michael Jackson are a true magnet for money, as illustrated by the recent Forbes magazine list, under the title of “The highest paid dead celebrities of 2021”.
This ranking of dead celebrities was composed with information from entities that collect market data such as MRC Data or IMDbPro, in addition to interviews with industry experts and of course Forbes.
Here are the 10 highest paid dead celebrities:
10. Prince – $10 million
Death: April 21, 2016 (57)
While his Paisley Park never reached Graceland level popularity, the High Priest of Pop can still move the music. This year, The Purple One moved close to 700,000 equivalent albums in the United States alone.
9. John Lennon – $13 million
Death: December 8, 1980 (40)
Forty years after the murder of John Lennon, the Beatles’ music still makes a lot of dollars on Penny Lane. And thanks to a co-authorship credit on the Fab Four’s most popular songs, the late Lennon also earns when any of his tunes is being used on television or in the movies.
8. Bob Marley – $14 million
Death: May 11, 1981 (36)
Bob Marley surely must be on the list of the top 10 highest paid celebrities. We saw his music streams skyrocket this year – the reggae legend racked up over a billion spins around the world. House of Marley, its line of speakers, record players and headphones, and sales of T-shirts and lighters adorned with his image also added more than $3 million to its coffers.
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7. Juice WRLD – $15 million
Death: December 8, 2019 (21)
Rapper Jarad Higgins, known in show business as “Juice WRLD,” saw his music streams increase after his death last December, just nine months after the release of his second album, Death Race for Love. His third album, Legends Never Die, released posthumously, topped the Billboard charts and since then he has been among one of the highest paid dead celebrities in the world.
6. Kobe Bryant – $20 million
Death: January 26, 2020 (41)
Cause: Helicopter accident
After the Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash in January, Nike sold its Kobe Bryant merchandise. Fans also made a counterattack for his autobiography, which sold more than 300,000 copies this year.
5. Elvis Presley – $23 million
Death: August 16, 1977 (42)
Cause: Heart attack
The deadly coronavirus hit Elvis’s empire. Graceland, his home-turned-museum, typically accounts for more than $10 million of Presley’s earnings, but it was closed for two months this year and is now operating at reduced capacity.
4. Arnold palmer – $25 million
Death: September 25, 2016 (87)
Cause: Heart disease
The golf season may have been shortened by Covid-19, but Arnie’s Army is still drinking it. The King’s deal with Arizona Beverages for its lemonade iced tea drink of the same name brings in millions, backed by a contract with MasterCard and hundreds of retailers selling Arnold Palmer brand products across Asia.
3. Charles M. Schulz – $ 32.5 million
Death: February 12, 2000 (77)
Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang are hardly worth it. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Schulz’s estate generated more than $110 million in revenue. Some of that comes from Apple TV +, which aired a new series, Snoopy in Space, and classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas.
2. Dr. Seuss – $33 million
Death: September 24, 1991 (87)
Dr. Seuss is the 2nd highest paid dead celebrity in the world, thanks to a series of seven-figure movie and television deals, Seussville is a much richer neighborhood. But the books are still one of Dr. Seuss’s top-earning machines: He sold nearly 6 million in the United States this year.
1. Michael Jackson – $48 million
Death: June 25, 2009 (50)
Cause: Overdose / Homicide
The 2019 release of the damning documentary Leaving Neverland didn’t cost the King of Pop the crown. Jackson’s Mijac Music catalog, which includes tracks by Elvis and Aretha Franklin, and a long-term deal with Sony, accounts for more than 70% of his earnings.