For some celebrities, money is coming even after death. Michael Jackson used to have the most profitable money-making fame, but according to Forbes, as of March 2011, Elizabeth Taylor is the highest-earning dead celebrity.
Leave it to Elizabeth Taylor to beat Michael Jackson in earnings. When the 50-year-old pop king died, he was making more than any other artist still alive, topping Forbes’ earnings list at $145 million. But Elizabeth Taylor has been cashing a lot more since she died, becoming the highest-earning dead celebrity on Forbes’ list.
Forbes writes that Elizabeth Taylor made $210 million last year. Christie’s auctions alone made $184 million from selling jewelry, costumes and art work. A Van Gogh painting since 1889 sold $16 million alone, while the rest of the 1,800 items on auction brought the rest.
Then there’s Elizabeth Taylor’s perfume, which is one of the most successful celebrity fragrances in the world. Euromonitor estimates White Diamonds cashed in $75 million at retail vendors last year alone.
For an actress that spent most of her lifetime doing movies, residuals are a serious source of revenue, even after death. After the huge success “Cleopatra” had, Elizabeth Taylor learned how to negotiate with movie industry executives. Forbes writes that Elizabeth Taylor got herself “a 10 percent ownership stake in each of her films” since “Cleopatra”. Even “Around the World in 80 Days” cashes in money for her estate.
It was property sales, movie residuals and auctions that pushed Elizabeth Taylor all the way to Forbes’ high-earnings dead celebrities list. Since the star’s death in March 2011, auction houses have cashed in seriously of her jewelry, costumes and art work, but it won’t be enough to keep Elizabeth Taylor at the top of the list, while the Michael Jackson brand is still making money.
There’s just not enough space in an article to list all Michael Jackson’s sources of income, even after death. It’s not just his own music that brings money, it’s also a 50 percent stake in Sony ATV that boosts the earnings. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and The Beatles are part of that Sony catalogue, and given the ladies’ huge success this year, Michael Jackson is going to top Forbes’ highest-earning dead celebrity list next year for sure.