In a replay of last year’s ranking, Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley has placed fifth on Forbes magazine’s top earning dead celebrity 2014 list, making him the only Caribbean star to shine among a galaxy dominated by North American and British luminaries.
The enduring “One Love” singer is still earning steadily since his death from cancer at the age of 36 in 1981, with Forbes reporting sales of bags and a line of fruit flavoured drinks, as well as the familiar T-shirts bearing the late music icon’s name.
The “Redemption Song” star has also sold well over 75 million albums in the past two decades and hauled in US$20 million in the year-to-date to secure fifth position on the 2014 rich list.
Like everyone else, Marley still has a way to go to catch up with first-placed Michael Jackson who was 50-years-old when he passed away in 2009.
The King of Pop’s estate continued to rake in more money than most living celebrities, with earnings of a whopping US$140 million this year.
According to Forbes, MJ made almost three times as much as the late King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley who made US$55 million over the same 12-month period to land in second place.
This year, Jackson made a killing with his second posthumous album release Xscape, while his standing was further reinforced by a holographic performance on stage at the Billboard Music Awards.
The late King of Pop has made US$700 million since his death five years ago.
Meanwhile, Presley’s rights were bought by Authentic Brands Group (ABG) last year for US$125 million, and his estate raked in a fortune from Graceland tourism and his music library.
The late King of Rock died of a heart attack at the age of 42.
Charles Schulz certainly did not make Peanuts, placing third with US$40 million courtesy of his popular cartoon characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
While cash is continuing to pour in from his comic strip and merchandising, Schulz is due for a further boost thanks to an upcoming 3-D movie from Fox.
Much-married “Cleopatra” star Elizabeth Taylor bagged fourth position with US$25 million, mainly due to her best-selling fragrance “White Diamonds” and her old movies. Taylor died of a heart attack at the age of 79.
Forbes top 13 highest earning dead celebrities 2014:
1. Michael Jackson
2. Elvis Presley
3. Charles Schulz
4. Elizabeth Taylor
5. Bob Marley
6. Marilyn Monroe
7. John Lennon
8. Albert Einstein
9. Theodor Geisel (tie)
9. Bruce Lee (tie)
9. Steve McQueen (tie)
9. Bettie Page (tie)
13. James Dean
Forbes compiled the list in conjunction with estate managers, agents, music publishers and other insiders, coming up with estimates of what each estate brought in between October 2013 and October 2014.