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> Top-earning Dead Celebrities 2007, even in death, there can only be one King
mak
post 4 Feb 2008, 09:21 PM
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even in death, there can only be one King

The 13 legends in our seventh annual list of the Top-Earning Dead Celebrities grossed a combined $232 million in the past 12 months. Many are instantly recognizable one-name wonders (Elvis, Marilyn, Warhol) who still command attention worldwide, making them marketers' ideal pitchmen.

Indeed, all the members of this year's club are the lynchpins of enormously profitable--and growing--merchandising empires. Albert Einstein's name is used to peddle Baby Einstein DVDs. Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's books are a staple of every kiddie library on the planet. Hundreds of performances of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" pad the portfolio of "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz each year--as well as comic strips that are still syndicated daily in thousands of newspapers worldwide.

But even in death, there can only be one King. Reclaiming his top spot on the list is Elvis Presley, whose estate generated $49 million in the past year. CKX Entertainment (nasdaq: CKXE - news - people), the publicly traded firm which presides over the bulk of the Elvis empire (daughter Lisa Marie Presley retains a 15% stake) announced a massive overhaul of Graceland this summer, marking the 30th anniversary of the The King's death. Among the changes are a new hotel convention center, a state-of-the-art multimedia museum and a new, spiffier visitor's center.

The plans are already paying off: Revenues from Graceland were up 15% this year, to $35 million. And that doesn't include royalties generated from Elvis music, DVDs and licensing deals like the one struck with Cirque du Soleil for an Elvis-themed revue in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, the brightest star of 2006 doesn't even appear on this year's list. Kurt Cobain, former frontman of grunge band Nirvana, debuted on the list in first place last year after his widow, Courtney Love, sold part of his song catalog for a reported $50 million. But while the deal opened the door for future ad dollars, Cobain's 2007 earnings weren't enough for him to stay on the list.

The Lucky 13

  1. Elvis Presley
  2. John Lennon
  3. Charles Schulz
  4. George Harrison
  5. Albert Einstein
  6. Andy Warhol
  7. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)
  8. Tupac Shakur
  9. Marilyn Monroe
  10. Steve McQueen
  11. James Brown
  12. Bob Marley
  13. James Dean


--------------------


Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
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mak
post 4 Feb 2008, 09:22 PM
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In Pictures:


Elvis Presley

Earnings: $49 million
Occupation: Musician
Died: Aug. 16, 1977
Age: 42
Cause: Heart attack

Thirty years after his death, the King once again reigns supreme. Plans to overhaul the once-lethargic estate are paying off big-time for publicly traded CKX Entertainment (nasdaq: CKXE - news - people), which owns the bulk of the empire. (Presley's daughter Lisa Marie retains a 15% interest.) Attendance and spending at Graceland are up thanks to a new ad campaign, renovations at the sprawling complex and a new premium VIP tour program. The Presley estate has also inked new licensing deals with Cirque du Soleil, American Greetings and Hershey (nyse: HSY - news - people)'s.


John Lennon

Earnings: $44 million
Occupation: Musician
Died: Dec. 8, 1980
Age: 40
Cause: Murder

Lennon's posthumous income was buoyed considerably over the past year thanks to resolutions of long-standing lawsuits. In February, the remaining Beatles and their heirs settled a trademark dispute with Apple Inc. (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people), reportedly for as much as $100 million. (The Beatles' commercial interests are overseen by a firm called Apple Corps.) Two months later, the band finally resolved a 30-year battle with record label EMI over alleged unpaid royalties. Both pacts clear the way for the Beatles to begin selling their iconic catalogue of hits online.


Charles M. Schulz

Earnings: $35 million
Occupation: Cartoonist
Died: Feb. 12, 2000
Age: 77
Cause: Colon cancer

Peanuts might be the understatement of the century. Snoopy and his posse, featured on some 18,000 cartoon strips during Schulz's 50-year career, are the lynchpin of a massive merchandising empire that encompasses television and newspaper syndication, as well as hundreds of performances of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown each year. United Media, on behalf of Schulz's widow, oversees a portfolio of sterling deals, including a 20-year-long campaign with Metlife (Schulz coined the term "security blanket"). One out of every five Hallmark cards sold features a Peanuts character. And in October, Warner Home Video won exclusive rights to distribute Peanuts videos.


George Harrison

Earnings: $22 million
Occupation: Musician
Died: Nov. 29, 2001
Age: 58
Cause: Throat Cancer

The "Quiet Beatle" enjoyed a substantial bump in his post-mortem income thanks to one-off settlements from Beatles lawsuits with Apple and EMI. Harrison's estate also gets royalties from the modest sales of his solo work, plus deals like Cirque De Soleil's Beatles-themed Las Vegas show. Harrison's heirs can look forward to more consistent and sizable royalties once the iconic Beatles catalog finally hits Apple's iTunes, likely sometime next year.


Albert Einstein

Earnings: $18 million
Occupation: Scientist
Died: April 18, 1955
Age: 76
Cause: Natural Causes

The world's most famous celebrity scholar has become a leading trademark in child education thanks to the Disney-owned Baby Einstein brand of videos and toys. In recent years, the brand has targeted toddlers with the hit animated series Little Einsteins. All royalties from Einstein's name and image go to Jerusalem's Hebrew University, which was bequeathed the estate. Word is that Lionsgate is developing a film based on the personal life of the Nobel prize-winning genius.


Andy Warhol

Earnings: $15 million
Occupation: Artist
Died: Feb 22, 1987
Age: 58
Cause: Complications after a gall bladder operation

Twenty years after his death, the art world is in the throes of Warhol mania--in May, a 1963 Warhol painting of a car crash collected $71 million at auction, four times the previous record for his work. The estate, guarded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, generates income for artist's grants by selling Warhol originals and through licensing deals. Warhol iconography peddles, among other things, Seiko watches, Levi's jeans and Burton snowboards. Warhol was declared "the patron saint of retail" by an executive at Barneys, which last year built its entire holiday shopping campaign around the pop artist.


Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)

Earnings: $13 million
Occupation: Author
Died: Sept. 24, 1991
Age: 87
Cause: Natural causes

Some 250 million Seuss books have been sold to date, and in over 20 languages. (Odds are good there's at least one Seuss tucked away in just about every child's library.) The Seuss estate is fiercely guarded by Geisel's widow Audrey. How the Grinch Stole Christmas returns to Broadway in November. And in March, Jim Carrey and Steve Carell will provide voices for an animated big-screen adaptation of Horton Hears a Who!


Tupac Shakur

Earnings: $9 million
Occupation: Musician
Died: Sept. 13, 1996
Age: 25
Cause: Drive-by shooting

A stake in the West Coast hip-hop kingpin's gritty catalog was sold in May to EverGreen Copyrights by Shakur's mother Afeni. Already in development are a Tupac biopic, a Broadway musical and a Tupac-themed videogame. (A pitch for Tupac action figures was roundly rejected.) The bestselling rapper in history--with 75 million albums sold to date--is still profiting from his Makaveli line of sneakers, do-rags and sweatshirts.


Marilyn Monroe

Earnings: $7 million
Occupation: Actress
Died: Aug. 5, 1962
Age: 36
Cause: Overdose of sleeping pills

The breathy, blonde bombshell is at the center of a legal debate over who retains publicity rights to her celebrity image. In May, a New York judge rejected claims by CMG Worldwide, which oversees the Monroe licenses, that it held exclusive post-mortem publicity rights. [The case was inspired by the family of Monroe photographer Sam Shaw, which allegedly licensed its own Monroe image to Target (nyse: TGT - news - people)] Now the California legislature is taking up the issue, debating whether to pass a bill that would allow celebrities to secure post-mortem publicity rights even for non-relatives. Meantime, the Shaw case paves the way for rightful owners of Monroe photos to sell them without approval of her heirs.


Steve McQueen

Earnings: $6 million
Occupation: Actor
Died: Nov. 30, 1980
Age: 50
Cause: Cancer

The "King of Cool" is enjoying renewed popularity 40 years after the release of Bullitt. In the past year, GQ named the low-key tough guy one of the 50 Most Stylish Men; the Motorcycle Industry Association voted him the all-time "top biker;" and an anonymous fan shelled out $2.3 million at auction to ride off in McQueen's 1963 Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso. McQueen's image peddles Ford Mustangs (of course) and Tag Heuer watches. Last winter, an auction of McQueen collectibles fetched nearly $3 million, including $70,200 for a pair of Persol sunglasses McQueen is said to have worn in The Thomas Crown Affair.


James Brown

Earnings: $5 million
Occupation: Musician
Died: Dec. 25, 2006
Age: 73
Cause: Complications from pneumonia

When he died on Christmas Day last year, the "Godfather of Soul" left behind a probate nightmare--an out-of-date will, a recent marriage and a handful of alleged heirs claiming Brown was their proud papa. At stake are royalties from a vast music portfolio that includes iconic singles like "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Please, Please, Please". Spike Lee has expressed interest in directing a Brown biopic.


Bob Marley

Earnings: $4 million
Occupation: Musician
Died: May 11, 1981
Age: 36
Cause: Cancer

Fifty-Six Hope Road, which manages the Rastafarian superstar's music on behalf of the Marley family, enjoys royalties from the Marley catalog, including Legend, the bestselling reggae album in history. The family, which also sells Marley-branded apparel and paraphernalia online, is threatening to sue Universal Music (which owns rights to some of Marley's biggest hits) and Verizon Wireless (nyse: VZ - news - people), for allegedly selling Marley ringtones without permission.


James Dean

Earnings: $3.5 million
Occupation: Actor
Died: Sep. 30, 1955
Age: 24
Cause: Car Accident

The "Rebel Without a Cause" has a different moniker in the licensing business: Old Faithful. The iconic Dean image--squinty eyes, cigarette dangling from his lips--remains a staple of college dorm rooms everywhere. Dean's image has cropped up in ads for Barneys, Chrysler and Lee Jeans.

Reporting by Jake Paine - Illustrations by Krister Flodin

Source : Forbes.com



--------------------


Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
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mak
post 4 Feb 2008, 09:25 PM
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Posts: 1564
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Gender: I'm a m!



The King to the throne! smile.gif

Here is the old 2006 list


--------------------


Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Go to the top of the page
 
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