Every year at the end of October, Forbes gets into the Halloween mood and releases a ranking of the richest dead celebrities. After all, even if the person himself is no longer in the world, his creations (books, paintings, musical works, etc.) continue to regularly bring income to the heirs. Here’s what the top 10 most profitable late stars look like in 2023.
Condition – 10 million dollars.
Even being in the “other world” physicist Albert Einstein managed to earn a tidy sum this year. His face can be seen on a variety of products ranging from posters and mobile games to talking robots and fashion bags.
9 John Lennon
Condition – 12 million dollars.
Thirty-seven years after the death of the singer-songwriter, who was murdered in New York, his name is still profitable through iTunes music sales, the Beatles show at the Cirque du Soleil, and through licensing deals with Cisco and Montblanc. Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, was recently denied parole for the ninth time.
Condition - 16 million dollars.
Steady book sales helped Theodor Geisel (that's Dr. Seuss's real name) to get into the top dead celebrities with the highest incomes in 2023. Dr. Seuss's books are used by children in English-speaking countries to learn to read, and his book, Places You Will Go, is very often given to schoolchildren at graduation parties.
Condition - 18 million dollars.
The singer and musician, who died in April 2016 of an accidental opioid overdose, could have made a lot more posthumously if the Prince heirs' $31 million deal with Universal Music Group hadn't fallen through. As it turned out, the agreement does not include the transfer of rights to use the singer's songs until 1996.
Condition - 20 million dollars.
American rock musician Tom Petty, who passed away as recently as October 2, was listed among the "dead millionaires" thanks to income generated from his band's spring/summer tour. It ended on September 25th.
Condition - 23 million dollars.
The Jamaican superstar of the reggae movement was able to earn $ 23 million in just a year after his death, thanks to income from the sale of music records, goods under the House of Marley brand and various teas, coffee drinks and sodas under the brand Marley Beverage Co.
Condition - 35 million dollars.
Presley entered the list of the richest dead stars of 2023 with $35 million, while in 2016 his posthumous fortune was $27 million. The King's income has been boosted by two new developments on the Graceland estate in Memphis: The Guest House and Elvis Presley's entertainment complex. More than 6 million visitors visit Graceland every year.
Condition - 38 million dollars.
Peanuts comics creator Charles Schultz was ranked third in the list of the richest deceased celebrities, thanks to the lucrative license for the Snoopy puppy (the symbol of the MetLife insurance company), as well as sales of books, comics and various products that depict the characters created by Schultz.
Condition - 40 million dollars.
Coming in second on the top 10 richest deceased celebrities of 2023 is golf icon Arnold Palmer. His $40 million fortune came largely from selling signature golfer-named apparel and Arnold Palmer's AriZona beverage line.
Condition - 75 million dollars.
As in last year's rankings, Michael Jackson is the top earner on the list of superstars who have already died. According to Forbes, the singer's impressive wealth is due to earnings from CBS's recent animated Michael Jackson's Halloween, the Cirque du Soleil show dedicated to the King of Pop and the successful sales of his latest greatest hits album Scream, as well as a stake in EMI Music.
The figures provided by Forbes are based on celebrities' pre-tax earnings earned between October 15, 2016 and October 15, 2019. Forbes sources include Nielsen SoundScan, IMDB, Pollstar Pro, and interviews with real estate experts.