Elvis Presley is still king of the dead celebrity earners with an annual income of £21.8 million, a new report reveals. The rock n’roll legend came number one in the Forbes.com list of stars who still rake it in from beyond the grave.
Peanuts cartoon creator Charles Schulz was in second place with an annual income of £19.1 million, followed by Lord of the Rings author J.R.R Tolkien in third place with £12.5 million. Presley’s vast earnings go to Elvis Presley Enterprises which is owned by his daughter Lisa Marie.
The icon’s income last year was generated by admissions to Graceland, licensing and merchandising. The star’s manager famously sold the rights to the singer’s pre-1973 recordings to the RCA record company for just £2.7 million. Even though it is over 27 years since the 42-year-old singer died of a heart attack, the Elvis “brand” could earn even more money in future. It will be pitched at a new generation of fans via a new clothing line and a Broadway musical.
1 Elvis Presley 40 million
2 Charles M. Schulz 35 million
3 J.R.R. Tolkien 23 million
4 John Lennon 21 million
5 Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel 18 million
6 Marilyn Monroe 8 million
7 George Harrison 7 million
8 Irving Berlin 7 million
9 Bob Marley 7 million
10 Richard Rodgers 6.5 million
The criteria for making our list are simple. A person's estate must pull down a minimum of $5 million annually. How does a deceased person earn money? For musicians like John Lennon, the bulk of it comes from worldwide publishing royalties. He and Paul McCartney co-wrote most Beatles songs, and they get a cut every time a song is played on the radio stations of Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting, sold on a CD, used in a film or covered by another artist.
Source: Various / Updated: Oct 26, 2004