Celebrities make a lot of money, that’s no secret; their scale of bank can range from impressive to bananas. And for some, that doesn’t stop just because they do. These celebs may have left this plane of existence but they still manage to bring in more money than the average person can imagine. Even though they can no longer work, their legacies live on — and that’s enough to keep the paycheques rolling in.
This week, Forbes released their list of the year’s highest-paid dead celebrities and it’s abundantly clear that death doesn’t have to be the end. Some of the top earners in this list are pretty obvious, some might just surprise you.
These celebs may be dead, but they’re still raking in millions
13. Bettie Page ($7 million)The iconic pinup girl died of natural causes at the age of 85 in 2008, but she forever lives on in branded merchandise of all sorts.Getty Images
12. Muhammad Ali ($8 million)The boxing legend — who battled Parkinson's disease for decades before dying of septic shock in 2016 at the age of 74 — made the list for the first time, thanks to a deal with Tag Heuer and a settlement with Fox over a Super Bowl ad that used his image.Getty Images
11. XXXTentacion ($11 million)The rapper, who was murdered this past June while trying to leave a Florida motorcycle dealership, racked up four billion streams over the course of Forbes' calculated year, Oct. 1, 2017 through Oct. 1, 2018. That's more than any other dead musician, as well as many living ones.Getty Images
10. John Lennon ($12 million)His work as a solo artist and member of The Beatles keeps him on the list as he continues to sell nearly two million albums every year. Impressive, albeit bittersweet, considering he's been gone since 1980.Getty Images
9. Prince ($13 million)It's been two and a half years since the 57-year-old singer died of an overdose (April 21, 2016, to be exact) and he and his eclectic artistry forever lives on as he continues to sell albums. Over the last 12 months, he sold a quarter million. Purple forever!Getty Images
8. Marilyn Monroe ($14 million)She was 36 when she died of an overdose in 1962, yet despite being gone for 56 years, the bombshell still manages to earn hefty paycheques, this year thanks to new high-end licensing deals.Getty Images
7. Hugh Hefner ($15 million)The Playboy founder, who died of a cardiac arrest in 2017 at the age of 91, is still making money after his heirs sold the remaining portion of his estate for an estimated $35 million last year.Getty Images
6. Dr. Seuss ($16 million)He's been gone since 1991, leaving the world when he was 87. But the author will forever live on, as he looks down on his readers from heaven. He still reads and writes, and has become a bit of a dancer. Upon learning he sold 4.8 million books last year alone, he can still say "F*ck cancer."Getty Images
5. Bob Marley ($23 million)The musician was only 36 when he died of cancer in 1981, but his music continues to be loved by people of all ages, and his name still sells products like headphones, cannabis and smoking accessories.Getty Images
4. Charles Schulz ($34 million)The 77-year-old cartoonist, who died of colon cancer in 2000, lives on in his work and in our lives. You probably just saw the Great Pumpkin and you're ready for multiple airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas. No wonder the Peanuts business still trades in the hundreds of millions.Getty Images
3. Arnold Palmer ($35 million)The golfing legend died of heart disease in 2016, when he was 87, yet he still lives on in his beverage line.Getty Images
2. Elvis Presley ($40 million)The actor and musician, who died in 1977 after suffering a heart attack at age 42, continues to sell more than a million albums every year, but most of his earnings comes from Graceland and the new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley's Memphis.Getty Images
1. Michael Jackson ($400 million)Far and away in the top spot, the superstar continues to sell a ton of music, but his estate made $287 million alone from the sale of his portion of EMI Music Publishing to Sony. It's been nearly a decade since his death by overdose in 2009. MJ was 50 — but the King of Pop will forever be young. And forever moonwalking.Getty Images