Celebrities live some pretty glamorous lives. We see this on the news and other media outlets every day. Oftentimes, we are constantly reminded that they are living the lives that most of us can only dream of. Growing up we all want to become rich and famous. We can use that wealth that provide our families with better lives than we had growing up. We can donate and support causes that are near and dear to our heart. Having money just makes everything easier. Have you ever wondered what happens to celebrities empires when they die though? All the holdings they have in businesses and branding they have done for themselves. Well those actually still make money, and believe me it can be a lot of money. The estates of these celebrities are actually still making millions upon millions of dollars. It really is staggering how much some people who aren’t even breathing anymore are still making. Check out this list of the 13 riches dead celebrities.
13. James Dean – Even though he died in 1955 at the young age of 24, James Dean’s estate is still bringing in $8.5 million dollars annually. Most of this money comes from the brand Jockey and Dolce and Gabanna. There is also a James Dean bar located in Prague.
12. Steve McQueen – Earning about $9 million dollar annually, McQueen comes in at 12 on the list. McQueen died in 1980 from complication from surgery. McQueen’s estate makes money from licensing his name and likeness to ad campaigns such as Tag Heuer, Barbour, and Persol. He also has his own Porsche brand clothing line.
11. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) – Geisel, or Dr. Seuss as he is known across the world by millions upon millions of children died of natural causes in 1991 at the age of 87. It was a sad day for the world that had been entertained by his goofy sense of humor. His estate just keeps on raking in money however. The Geisel estate makes approximately $9.5 million a year. His estate still makes most of its money from the sale of his classic children’s books. He also has merchandising deals with many companies, movies, and a Universal Studios ride.
10. Bettie Page – Bettie Page also died from natural causes in 2008 at the age of 85. Her estate pulls in about $10 million annually. Through the licensing of her sex appeal, her estate has been able to capitalize on getting involved with growing fashion companies that market lingerie and bridal wear. There is also a Vegas show with a hologram of Bettie performing a famous striptease of hers in the works.
9. Paul Walker – I’m a Paul Walker fan boy. So this death hit me pretty hard when I heard about it. Paul died on November 30, 2013 in a car crash with his friend Roger Rodas. Paul was one of the biggest movie stars on the planet at the time of his death. His estate still pulls in roughly $10.5 million every year. Paul made his money from his movies. Fast And Furious 7 alone brought in $1.5 billion dollar dollars at the box office, making it the highest grossing film to date in the franchise.
8. Albert Einstein – Einstein is one of the most influential scientists in human history. This man came up with many math and physics equations that are the foundation of our modern-day knowledge and technology. He died of natural causes on April 8, 1955. His estate collects $11 million a year off the cult like following he has acquired in the academic community. Einstein branded merchandise such as apparel, posters and tablets are designed by an Israeli tech company, Fourier Systems.
7. John Lennon – John Lennon was sadly murdered on December 8, 1980. It was a tragedy that shocked the entire world. His estate however is still doing fine by collecting $12 million dollars a year. Lennon still shares in The Beatles vast fortune from the sales of their music. They have sold over 63 million albums world-wide since 1992 alone.
6. Marilyn Monroe – This was another shocking death the world over. Marilyn Monroe was one of the most beloved celebrities in history when she died form an overdose on August 5, 1962. Her empire is still in tact today however with her estate raking in $17 million a year. Authentic Brand Group bought the rights to Monroe’s brand in 2011. She also has a clothing line at Macy’s, as well as a lingerie.
5. Elizabeth Taylor – A celebrity titan in her own right, Elizabeth Taylor is still raking in the cash. Though she died on March 23, 2011 of heart failure, her estate still pulls in $20 million annually. She is still the queen of the dwindling celebrity fragrance market. Her signature scent White Diamonds was released 24 years ago and still continues to sell.
4. Bob Marley – Marley is one of my favorite musicians ever. His tragic death at the age of 36 from cancer is a truly sad moment in world history. The music and apparel empire he built is still alive and well however. His estate brought in $21 million dollars last year. His money is mostly made from his beverage company, House of Marley which makes eco-friendly audio and lifestyle products, and his music (75 million albums sold).
3. Charles Schulz- Creator of the iconic cartoon Peanuts, Charles died from Colon Cancer on February 12, 2000 at the age of 77 to the disappointment of many of his beloved fans. Schulz estate brings in around $40 million a year thanks to a cut of the licensing revenue from his comic.
2.Elvis Presley- Elvis is an icon the world over. There probably isn’t a country on the planet that his music hasn’t been played in. He died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42 from a heart attack, most likely caused by the copious amounts of drugs he was taking. His estate is far from dead however, pulling in $55 million dollars annually! Most of this money comes from ticket sales to Graceland, which was once his home. He earned his 53rd top 40 album in August with Elvis Presley Forever which was a compilation released by the U.S. Postal Service which came with a commemorative stamp.
1. Michael Jackson – The King of Pop tops the list of celebrity earnings from the grave. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose/homicide depending on which story you want to believe. Even though he was a super weird and creepy dude, the guy could sing and dance his ass off. This number is pretty staggering, but his estate pulls in $115 million dollars a year every year since his death. He attains this staggering wealth from a permanent Cirque De Soleil show in Vegas, the Mijac Music catalogue, recorded music sales and half of the Sony/ATV publishing empire.
Even the lowest earner on this list earns more than most people will in 10 lifetimes. There is saying that you can’t take it with you when you die, and that is true. However, if these celebrities are looking down from somewhere, they would have to be happy that their empires and legacies are living on well past their deaths.