The Forbes list of the top ten earning dead celebrities has revealed they collectively generated some $351m (£217m) from beyond the grave. Michael Jackson reclaimed the top spot from Elizabeth Taylor, who earned $210m (£129.9m) in the 12 months after her death in 2011 from auctions of her art, jewels and clothes.
Last year her income dropped to $25m (£15.46m) The bulk of Jackson’s earnings came from Cirque du Soleil shows which feature a hologram of the singer performing his hit Man in the Mirror, but he also earned from rights to the Beatles back catalogue. Elvis Presley, who died of a heart attack in 1977, proved his enduring appeal after death by netting $55m (£34m) from online sales of Elvis branded goods and tours of his former home, Graceland.
Peanuts comic-strip author Charles Schulz died of colon cancer in 2000, yet his books are still purchased and enjoyed by millions of children and adults around the world. Love for his famous comic characters including Charlie Brown, Snoopy and bullying Lucy, was strong enough to keep his earnings at a healthy $37m (£22.8m) last year.
Children’s author Dr Seuss, real name Theodore Geisel, who died of natural causes in 1991, also confirmed the enduring appeal of children’s books as he earned $9m (£5.5m) in sales last year. Mr Geisel has delighted children for decades with colourful picture books, such as Green Eggs and Ham, featuring odd characters such as the Cat in the Hat and the Lorax. One of the more unusual entrants on the list is science genius and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, who passed away of natural causes in 1955 aged 76.
Einstein’s appearance and his name remain his most valuable assets. Photo library Corbis says they get more requests to license his image than for any other famous person. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem owns the rights to Einstein’s name, which earns from Walt Disney’s Baby Einstein line of toys and videos.