Sometimes, dead celebrities make a lot more money than living celebrities. That may sound a bit insensitive, but insensitive or not, it is a matter of fact however gruesome sounding it may be. Just because an artist or famous person passes away, doesn't mean fans don't still want their music, art or products with their name and/or face on it.
Forbes recently released their official list of the highest-paid dead celebrities for 2016 and one came out miles ahead of the rest. Michael Jackson, often known as The King of Pop made a staggering $825 million this year, despite the fact that he is no longer alive. That figure is before taxes, but the number is no less impressive. A large majority of that figure came from the sale of the Sony/ATV music catalog he purchased in 1985, which he bought for $47.5 million at the time. In March, the library was sold for $750 million.
It is definitely worth noting that even without the sale of the Sony/ATV music library that Michael Jackson would still have come out on top as he was $777 million ahead of the celeb in the number two spot. The person in that number two spot was Peanuts creator Charles Schultz, whose estate brought in a very impressive $48 million. Dead or alive, people still love Snoopy. It is perhaps surprising that he came in at number 2 considering some of the other big names on the list.
2016 has been a brutal year in terms of legendary celebrities passing away and a few of those celebs made the list. Golf legend Arnold Palmer, who just recently passed away, came in at the number 3 spot. His estate managed to bring in $40 million for the year. Legendary musician Prince, who passed away back in April, came in at the number 5 spot with $25 million. Actor and musician David Bowie who also passed away this year barely missed the top ten, coming in at number 11 with $10.5 million.
The rest of the list was filled with Hollywood legends, authors, musicians and even a famous genius. Famous actor and legendary badass Steve McQueen is still on the list more than three decades after his passing, bringing in $9 million this year. Elizabeth Taylor also brought in a very impressive $8 million, given that a lot of products are licensed with her name on them still. You can check out the full Forbes list of the top 13 highest-paid dead celebrities for yourself below.
1. Michael Jackson - $825 million
2. Charles Schultz- $48 million
3. Arnold Palmer - $40 million
4. Elvis Presley - $27 million
5. Prince - $25 million
6. Bob Marley - $21 million
7. Theodor "Dr. Suess" Geisel - $20 million
8. John Lennon - $12 million
9. Albert Einstein - $11.5 million
10. Bettie Page - $11 million
11. David Bowie - $10.5 million
12. Steve McQueen - $9 million
13. Elizabeth Taylor - $8 million