They say you can’t take it with you, but some leave a lot more behind than others. Forbes unveiled its list of “Top-Earning Dead Celebrities” today, and it came down to two Kings. Once again, King of Pop Michael Jackson took the top spot, earning a massive $170 million this year even as the circumstances of his 2009 death are still examined in court.
In fact, Jackson’s posthumous income made him 2011’s second-highest earning act (dead or alive) after U2. Jackson blew away his closest deceased competitor, King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis Presley (whose $55 million was buoyed by Cirque du Soleil show Viva Elvis) by more than $100 million, thanks to his publishing company Mijac Music. Who else made the list? Read more after the jump.
The newest addition to the list was Elizabeth Taylor (No. 5), who has earned $12 million since her March passing — and that’s before her highly anticipated Christie’s estate sale this December. Fellow glamor girl Marilyn Monroe ( No. 3) pulled in $27 million after her estate was acquired by Authentic Brands Group earlier this year.
Some of the names rounding out the top 10 included musicians John Lennon, whose $12 million tied Taylor for fifth since The Beatles’ music hit iTunes last November, and Jimi Hendrix ($7 million); novelist Stieg Larsson ($7 million), who will certainly get a bump next year after the American films based on his best-selling trilogy hit theaters; illustrators Charles Schulz of Peanuts ($25 million) and Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel ($9 million), and Albert Einstein at $10 million.
See the rest of the top 15 — including another Beatle, a pin-up girl, and a pop artist — at Forbes.com.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Did any of these names surprise you? Have you supported any celebs’ post-mortem bank accounts?