Elvis Presley has again topped the list of highest earning dead celebrities again. The pop legend, who passed away in 1977 aged 42, made $52 million last year – more than some of the world’s biggest living popstars, including Madonna, who earned $40 million - thanks to increased visitors to his Graceland estate marking the 30th anniversary of his death, record sales, and new ventures such as the Sirius Satellite Radio show. Elvis is the regular #1 in this top-earning list, with his record only tarnished in 2006 by a Kurt Cobain catalogue sell-off.
Second on the annual list compiled by Forbes was Peanuts creator Charles Schultz, who died in 2000 and earned $33 million between October 2007 and October 2008.
Third in the list was 'The Dark Knight’ actor Heath Ledger, who passed away aged 28 from an accidental prescription overdose in January this year. Forbes commented: "With 'The Dark Knight' grossing $991 million in box office revenue worldwide, we estimate his earnings at $20 million."
Also new to the list was Paul Newman, who died last month aged 83, who brought in around $5 million with his salad dressings and other enterprises. Physicist Albert Einstein came in at number four on the list, with TV producer Aaron Spelling – whose shows include 'Beverly Hills, 90210’ and 'Charlie’s Angels’ was the fifth highest earning deceased star.
Enduring icons James Dean and Marilyn Monroe again made the list, having appeared every time since it was first published in 2001. Forbes.com compile the chart after speaking to experts and sources dealing with the dead celebrities’ estates and researching earnings before and after taxes, management fees and other costs.
Forbes top 13 highest-earning dead celebrities:
1. Elvis Presley - $52 million
2. Charles M. Shulz - $33m
3. Heath Ledger - $20m
4. Albert Einstein - $18m
5. Aaron Spelling - $15m
6. Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel) - $12m
7. John Lennon - $9m
8. Andy Warhol - $9m
9. Marilyn Monroe - $6.5m
10. Steve McQueen - $6m
11. Paul Newman - $5m
12. James Dean - $5m
13. Marvin Gaye - $3.5m