Dead Celebrities Are Making Serious Bank This Year

Forbes has ranked the top post-mortem paydays

October 14, 2016 9:00 am

Q: What did Arnold Palmer, Prince Rogers Nelson and David Bowie have in common in 2016?

A: They all made less than the $825 million Michael Jackson took home from beyond the grave. Which isn’t to say they didn’t all cash in by cashing out.

While a good portion of the wealth Palmer ($40 million), Prince ($25 million) and Bowie ($10.5 million) accumulated this year was earned while they were still living, they all died within the time frame Forbes stuck to while creating its list of The Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities Of 2016.

It may sound off-the-wall that Jackson took home the top spot on list, but it turns out the bulk of his payday this year was generated by the $750 million sale of his stake in the Sony/ATV music publishing catalog (read: Beatles songs).

“He was always doing stuff that was the best, the greatest, the biggest,” celebrity estate manager Jeff Jampol told Forbes. “That was a big fight when he wanted to buy that catalog … it turned out to be one of the greatest investments ever.”

Here’s the rest of the list:

  1. Michael Jackson — $825 million
  2. Charles Schulz — $48 million
  3. Arnold Palmer — $40 million
  4. Elvis Presley — $27 million
  5. Prince — $25 million
  6. Bob Marley — $21 million
  7. Theador Geisel “Dr. Seuss” — $20 million
  8. John Lennon — $12 million
  9. Albert Einstein — $11.5 million
  10.  Bettie Page — $11 million
  11. David Bowie — $10.5 million
  12. Steve McQueen — $9 million  

Main image courtesy of  Francis Sylvain/AFP/Getty Images

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