Thursday, January 28

Highest Paid Dead Celebrities Of 2020 By Forbes

Sadly, there are also young newcomers to the list—21-year-old rapper Juice WRLD (No. 7) earned $15 million since last year’s list, and NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January, is ranked No. 6, having earned $20 million.

Here’s who else is making a killing in the afterlife.


Died: August 4, 1962 (36)

Cause: Overdose

The late movie blonde goddess will forever be worshiped—her image and name are used by nearly 100 brands globally, including Dolce & Gabbana, Zales and even Lego Group.

George Harrison $8.5 million
Died: November 29, 2001 (58)

Cause: Cancer

The Quiet Beatle pocketed a seven-figure check from the band’s Cirque du Soleil show Love—even with the Las Vegas Strip shut down for most of the year.

Freddie Mercury $9 million
Died: November 24, 1991 (45)

Cause: AIDS

After 2018’s award-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody put Freddie Mercury back into the spotlight, the show had to go on. Not only did Mercury’s estate reap a small portion of the film’s nearly $1 billion box office, but it also led to a spike in Queen’s music and merchandise sales.

Prince $10 million
Died: April 21, 2016 (57)

Cause: Overdose

While his Paisley Park has never reached Graceland-level popularity, the High Priest of Pop can still move music. This year, The Purple One moved nearly 700,000 album equivalents in the United States alone.


John Lennon $13 million

Died: December 8, 1980 (40)

Cause: Homicide

Forty years after John Lennon’s murder, Beatles music still rings up a lot of dollars on Penny Lane. And thanks to a co-writing credit on the Fab Four’s most popular songs, the late Lennon also cashes in when a tune is used on TV or in the movies.

Bob Marley $14 million
Died: May 11, 1981 (36)

Cause: Cancer

Bob Marley also saw his music streams soar this year—the reggae legend accumulated more than a billion spins globally. House of Marley, his line of speakers, turntables and headphones, and sales of T-shirts and lighters adorned with his likeness also added more than $3 million to his coffers.

Juice WRLD $15 million
Died: December 8, 2019 (21)

Cause: Overdose

Rapper Jarad Higgins, known in show biz as “Juice WRLD,” saw his music streams spike after he died last December, just nine months after the release of his sophomore album, Death Race for Love. His third album, Legends Never Die, published posthumously, topped the Billboard charts.


Kobe Bryant $20 million
Died: January 26, 2020 (41)

Cause: Helicopter Crash

After the Lakers legend died in a helicopter accident in January, Nike sold out its Kobe Bryant merchandise. Fans also made a fast break for his autobiography, which sold more than 300,000 copies this year.

Elvis Presley $23 million

Died: August 16, 1977 (42)

Cause: Heart Attack

The coronavirus shook up Elvis’ empire. Graceland, his home-turned-museum, typically accounts for more than $10 million of Presley’s earnings, but was closed for two months this year and is now operating at reduced capacity.

Arnold Palmer $25 million
Died: September 25, 2016 (87)

Cause: Heart Disease

The golf season may have been shortened by Covid-19, but Arnie’s Army is still drinking him up. The King’s deal with Arizona Beverages for his namesake lemonade-iced tea beverage brings in millions, cushioned by a contract with MasterCard and hundreds of retailers that sell Arnold Palmer-branded merchandise throughout Asia.


Charles Schulz $32.5 million

Died: February 12, 2000 (77)

Cause: Cancer

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang are hardly worth peanuts. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, the Schulz estate brought in more than $110 million in revenue. Part of that comes from Apple TV+, which aired a new series, Snoopy in Space, and classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Dr. Seuss $33 million

Died: September 24, 1991 (87)

Cause: Cancer

Thanks to a series of seven-figure television and film deals, Seussville is a much wealthier neighborhood. But books remain one of Dr. Seuss’ biggest income stream: He sold nearly 6 million in the United States this year.


Michael Jackson $48 million
Died: June 25, 2009 (50)

Cause: Overdose/Homicide

The 2019 release of the damning documentary Leaving Neverland didn’t cost the King of Pop his crown. Jackson’s Mijac Music catalog, which includes tunes by Elvis and Aretha Franklin, and a long-term deal with Sony, account for more than 70% of his earnings.

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