You know what they tell you when you are growing up? If you work hard, and do your best then anything is possible. Who knows, you might even be rich and make a lot of money this year if you try your hardest and keep at it.
Well, some people don’t have to try hard to make money. In fact, they don’t do anything at all. Why don’t they do anything at all? Well, because they’re dead. Now, it isn’t easy to be motivated to make a lot of cash when you’re dead. But still, even beyond the grave there are a lot of celebrities that are still making a ton of cash. While you go toil at some boring job all day, someone else is making millions for their family while laying in a box six feet under. Whoever said life is fair just wasn’t paying attention.
This list is from each dead celebrities’ pre-tax earnings between October 2014 and October 2015. Some other people that came close to making the cut from the other side are Frank Sinatra, Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, and Kurt Cobain.
Without further delay here is TheRichest’s list of 10 people who keep making money beyond the grave.
10. Bettie Page ($10 Million)
When one thinks of some of the top earning dead celebrities, most people wouldn’t think of Bettie Page. But if you do a little research, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly, as she was totally hot. She is also one of the most taboo figures of the past. She was a model that did a lot of work in “BDSM-themed” photo shoots, or of being a dominatrix, which in her day was really pushing the envelope. She has become a huge cult figure and the company that makes money from her has branded clothing, accessories, and lingerie.
9. Paul Walker ($10.5 Million)
Paul, known mostly for his appearances in the many The Fast and The Furious movies, will only be on this list for one year, as the money he earned came from the $10.5 million he made from the success of Furious 7–which grossed $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. Sadly, and somewhat ironically, Walker died in a car crash, doing pretty much the same thing in real life as the acting that made his heirs $10 million dollars after his death.
8. Albert Einstein ($11 Million)
Well, even if you are a genius, I think you might be surprised that Einstein is still pulling in $11 million dollars a year after his death. But, his image still means a lot to many people, as posters, apparel, and tablets related to Einstein still blow off the shelves. Einstein “has a very large cult-like following from the nerd-science community,” says Kevin Connolly, Director of Rights Representation at Corbis Entertainment, which represents Einstein. So study hard, do well in school, and hopefully people will make a lot of money off of you after you die.
7. John Lennon ($12 Million)
This should be a surprise to no one. Lennon was the driving force behind The Beatles. Beatles’ songs are still everywhere, their records still sell, and their songs can be heard in many commercials and movies, not to mention having constant airplay on the radio. Lennon died in 1980 after being shot by Mark David Chapman, but even after death his earning potential keeps rolling on. Probably forever.
6. Marilyn Monroe ($17 Million)
Marilyn Monroe is probably the most iconic female star of all time. Guys all thought she was totally hot and girls all thought she was totally cool. Because of this she, and her image, are still ridiculously popular even today. Another reason Marilyn has stayed in the public eye is that she died when she was still so beautiful. She was just 36 when she died, and was found by her housekeeper in the bedroom of her home. Her death was odd. For one thing the housekeeper called her psychiatrist before she called the police. The death was ruled a probable suicide by an overdose of pills, but there are a lot of rumors about how Marilyn could have really died.
5. Elizabeth Taylor ($20 Million)
Elizabeth Taylor is sort of the opposite of Marilyn Monroe. While she was once incredibly beautiful and talented, she became a bit of a joke in her later years, as she married an incredible eight times and had a bunch of personal problems. Still though, she remained a legend, and Taylor was not just a famous actress, she was also a really smart business woman and because of that she is still pulling in $20 million dollars a year from the grave. One of her biggest means of income is perfumes, which are earning millions each year.
4. Bob Marley ($21 Million)
This one is a bit surprising. Marley was way more about doing his own thing in life than he was about making money, but it seems that in death things have changed a bit. Marley’s heirs have licensed the heck out of him. There is now a beverage company and an eco- friendly “lifestyle” company under his name. Not only that but his music just keeps on selling. He has sold 75 million albums at this point. Marley died of cancer in 1981, and I’m sure if he was told back then that 35 years later he would still be making $21 million a year he would have told you that you were high.
3. Charles Schulz ($40 Million)
This one makes sense. Charles was the creator of the cartoon Peanuts. Yes, the one with Snoopy and Charlie Brown. I have to say, in my entire life, I have never met anyone who didn’t like Peanuts. I don’t mean people have to love it necessarily, but pretty much everyone likes it. How could you hate on Snoopy? There is a lot of licensing with Peanuts products, the comic strip is still everywhere, and don’t forget the recurring TV specials and even movies. Schulz should be banking money from beyond the grave for a long, long time.
2. Elvis Presley ($55 Million)
If you have been paying any sort of attention at all, I am sure you were wondering “Where is Elvis“? While he may not be number one in earnings, he is certainly number one in dead celebrities. From the start he was the coolest thing ever, then he became one of the oddest things ever. There was cool Elvis, Vegas Elvis, and now there is
Dead Elvis, and all three of them made tens of million dollars. His albums still make money, he has a lot of products that have been licensed, and he still makes a lot from Graceland ticket sales.
1. Michael Jackson ($115 Million)
Jackson is arguably the most famous musical performer of all time. He is also the weirdest musical performer of all time, there’s no doubt about that. Jackson has made over $100 million dollars a year, every year, since his death in 2009 from Propofol and Benzodiazepine intoxication, but if you were to ask a lot of people, the real Michael Jackson died a long time before that. He makes money from an ongoing Vegas show, the Mijac Music catalogue, music sales and half of the Sony/ATV publishing empire. So there you go, of all the dead people out there, Michael is the best at making money.