Highest earning dead celebrities 2017

The King of Pop tops the list once again...

Updated: 

We all know there are plenty of celebrities who earn a mint during their lifetime, but what happens when they die?

Well, it seems not much changes as many of them continue to make millions from beyond the grave in 2017.

See also: Retired David Beckham still earns £1m a month

See also: What did Britney Spears spend $10m on last year?

So, who made the most of them all in 2017?

Find out here as we take a look at Forbes' popular listing, counting down from one iconic star of the screen at number 12.

Highest earning dead celebrities

12. Elizabeth Taylor (£6 million)

Died: March 2011, aged 79
Cause: Heart Failure

Liz's enduring Hollywood glamour has found a profitable home on the QVC shopping channel.

Highest earning dead celebrities

11. David Bowie (£7.1 million)

Died: January 2016, aged 69
Cause: Cancer

It should be no surprise that Bowie's music continued to rake in millions of sales and critical acclaim following his death.

Science - Albert Einstein

10. Albert Einstein (£7.5 million)

Died: April 1955, aged 76
Cause: Natural causes

The iconic physicist's name and likeness has appeared on posters, tablets and even an artificial intelligence service.

Highest earning dead celebrities

9. John Lennon (£9 million)

Died: December 1980, aged 40
Cause: Murder

Already minted from solo hits and the Fab Four's back catalogue, Lennon also profited from Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show 'Love'.

Highest earning dead celebrities

8. Dr. Seuss (£12 million)

Died: September 1991, aged 87
Cause: Natural causes

'The Cat In The Hat' author Theodor Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, sold 5 million books between October 2016 to October 2017.


Highest earning dead celebrities

7. Prince (£13.5 million)

Died: April 2016, aged 57
Cause: Drug overdose

Even with the loss of a a $31 million record deal with Universal, the 'Purple Rain' singer collected millions from a new publishing deal.

Tom Petty

6. Tom Petty (£15 million)

Died: October 2017, aged 66
Cause: Cardiac arrest

The Heartbreakers grossed over $1million per night from this past year on the road. His sudden death saw a huge boost to record sales.

highest earning dead celebrities

5. Bob Marley (£17 million)

Died: May 1981, aged 36
Cause: Cancer

The reggae superstar's children turned Marley into quite the entrepreneur, with a range of top selling 'House Of Marley' speakers and headphones.

Elvis Presley | January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977

4. Elvis Presley (£26 million)

Died: August 1977, aged 42
Cause: Heart attack

Both the new $45million Elvis Presley's Memphis entertainment complex and recently-opened hotel The Guesthouse at Graceland, comfortable lined the King's pockets this year.

Charles Schulz...

3. Charles Schulz (£28 million)

Died: February 2000, aged 77
Cause Cancer

This year saw Snoopy and Charlie Brown stop fronting a hugely lucrative insurance company ad campaign, but the three decade-long contract doesn't actually end till 2019.

Highest earning dead celebrities

2. Arnold Palmer (£30 million)

Died: September 2016, aged 87
Cause: Heart disease

The famed golfer's Arnold Palmer-branded apparel is already stocked in 500 stores, and is now making its way into markets like Thailand and Vietnam.

Highest earning dead celebrities


1. Michael Jackson (£56 million)

Died: June 2009, aged 50
Cause: Overdose / Homicide

The King of Pop once again tops Forbes' richest dead celeb list. This past year saw the megastar profit from new album 'Scream', a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, and a hugely lucrative stake in the EMI publishing catalogue.

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