Dead Rich: Top-Earning Celebrities of All Time

Taryn Davies
Published: November 27, 2018

Many people believe that death is not the end, and that’s certainly the case for these celebrities who continue to earn mega bucks from beyond the grave. Forget working beyond retirement age, these stars are raking in the big bucks years after their death. Whether it be from royalties, record sales or merchandise, the cash just keeps on rolling in…

Here are the top-earning dead celebrities of all time…spooky? Yes, a little.

1. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson takes the top spot with a total income in 2017 of $75 million, not bad at all considering. His post-mortem empire is extremely impressive and has seen a boost thanks to new ventures including a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show and a stake in the EMI music-publishing catalogue.

2. Arnold Palmer

The golf legend claims the no.2 spot thanks to $40 million earnings in 2017, less than a year after his death. More than 400 stores still sell his apparel line, and his lemonade and ice tea beverages don’t do too bad either. A casual 400 million cans are produced annually!

3. Charles Shulz

The name might not ring immediate bells, but you’ll definitely recognise his cartoons! Creator of Peanuts, Charlies Shulz comes in at number 3 with an income of $38 million last year. Whilst MetLife retired Snoopy and Charlie Brown from its ad campaigns, the Schulz’s contract does not officially expire until 2019.

4. Elvis Presley

It’s no big surprise to find the King of Rock n’ Roll on this list, with hordes of tourists still flocking to his home, Graceland, year after year. The superstar raked in a cool $35 million in 2017 thanks to two new openings at Graceland including The GuestHouse Hotel and Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex.

5. Bob Marley

In at number 5 is reggae star Bob Marley who cashed in a nice sum of $23 million thanks to income from House of Marley audio equipment and the Marley Beverage Co. It seems beverages are a good earner for those who’ve passed. Sales of the Marley Beverage Co natural teas, coffee drinks and sparkling waters have contributed heavily to the stars posthumous earnings.

When it comes to making bank, it doesn’t matter if you’re dead or alive. Although we’d rather be here to enjoy our earnings, preferably on an exotic island with a cocktail in hand. Perhaps it’s time to start a beverage line? Thinking about death can feel uncomfortable, it’s a taboo subject that we prefer to avoid but opening up and discussing the process of dying and what happens afterwards both financially and emotionally can ease the stress and anxiety.

The key is preparation and understanding, the first step to organising your finances is by speaking to an expert such as Beyond, who can take care of all of the planning and small print. Think of them as your knowledgeable companion for everything afterlife. Yes, it might not be the most exciting topic to have to think about but unfortunately, it is one of life’s essentials. The sooner you face it head on and put plans into place, the sooner you can feel at ease that your money and family will be taken care of when you’re no longer around. Of course, you could always write a hit song or two to boost the earnings…