1. Money
Julie Garber

Celebrity Estate Update - Elizabeth Taylor Unseats Michael Jackson as the Top Earning Dead Celebrity for 2011 - 2012

By October 29, 2012

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It's one of my favorite times of the year - no, not Halloween, but the time of the year when Forbes releases its list of the top earning dead celebrities for the past year. Based on revenues generated between October 2011 and October 2012, the estate of actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died in March 2011, earned a whopping $210 million, ousting the estate of Michael Jackson from the #1 spot. This was largely in part due to the Christie's auctions of Ms. Taylor's jewelry and other personal items that raked in $184 million. Speaking of the King of Pop, his estate earned a mere $145 million, down from $170 million in 2011. Then there is the ever steady estate of Elvis Presley, which came in at #3 this year with the same earnings as last year - $55 million.

And now, here are the top thirteen estates of dead celebrities ranked in order of earnings from October 2011 through October 2012:

  1. Elizabeth Taylor - $210 million, first appearance on the list
  2. Michael Jackson - $155 million, down from $170 million last year
  3. Elvis Presley - $55 million, the same as last year
  4. Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts comics - $37 million, way up from $25 million last year
  5. Bob Marley - $17 million, Mr. Marley did not make the list last year
  6. John Lennon - $12 million, the same as last year
  7. Marilyn Monroe (tie) - $10 million, way down from $27 million last year
  8. Albert Einstein (tie) - $10 million, the same as last year
  9. Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss - $9 million, the same as last year
  10. Steve McQueen (tie) - $8 million, up from $7 million last year
  11. Bettie Page (tie) - $8 million, up from $6 million last year
  12. Richard Rodgers, composer - $6 million, down from $7 million last year
  13. George Harrison - $5.5 million, down from $7 million last year

Falling off the list this year:

  • Writer Stieg Larsson, whose estate earned $7 million last year
  • Jimi Hendrix, whose estate earned $7 million last year
  • Andy Warhol, whose estate earned $6 million last year

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