These 13 stars have long since assumed room temperature, but that inconvenient fact hasn’t dented their ability to keep the cash registers ringing. Whether they’re selling clothing, perfume or videogames, the dead celebs are definitely not resting in peace.
1. MICHAEL JACKSON
Don’t stop till you get enough: His income dropped by $20 million from a year earlier, but Jacko remains the undead king.
2. ELVIS PRESLEY
Authentic Brands Group bought his intellectual property rights for a reported $125 million in 2013, putting him under the same management roof as Marilyn Monroe.
3. CHARLES SCHULZ
Good grief! Fox is hoping to make Peanuts hip again with a new feature film scheduled to hit the theatres in November 2015.
4. ELIZABETH TAYLOR
The last lioness of Old Hollywood glamour, Taylor rakes it in from her perfumes
and film library.
5. BOB MARLEY
The reggae legend’s mellow mug now smiles out from satchels, apparel,
even a line of fruit-flavoured drinks.
6. MARILYN MONROE
This year, Norma Jeane added lingerie to her successful clothing line,
available at department stores such as Macy’s.
7. JOHN LENNON
Tops fellow late Beatle George Harrison in annual earnings, thanks to his more lucrative catalogue of solo work.
8. ALBERT EINSTEIN
The latest product from the genius’s estate: A line of branded tablets designed for students to use in the science lab.
9. THEODOR GEISEL (TIE)
Will you buy them for your kids? / You will, or you already did! /Seuss might have died in ’91 / but still he sells books by the tonne.
9. BRUCE LEE (TIE)
Fans of the original martial-arts master can now inhabit him: He’s one of the fighters in the newest version of EA Sports’ Ultimate Fighting Championship game.
9. STEVE McQUEEN (TIE)
A new line of pricey clothing via a partnership with Porsche means the actor still embodies cool, 34 years after his death.
9. BETTIE PAGE (TIE)
Page’s severe bangs, pitch-black hair and ability to fill skimpy outfits made her the echt 1950s pin-up girl. Six years after her death at the age of 85, her classic look is selling strong. A legal dispute that closed a majority of stores devoted exclusively to selling Bettie Page–brand clothing affected her earnings a bit this year, but retailers such as ModCloth and Unique Vintage still offer her dresses, lingerie and accessories. A Las Vegas show, set to debut next year, will feature
a hologram Page doing a striptease.
13. JAMES DEAN
An increasingly popular figure in Europe, the brooding rebel still sells big for Dolce & Gabbana. (Estimated pre-tax earnings, Oct 2013–Oct 2014).
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(This story appears in the 14 November, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)