Even In Death Elvis Still Huge Money Maker

I walked into K-mart last week and saw all the Christmas decorations were out and next to all the Halloween costumes. As I strolled down the aisles I saw all the different Christmas ornaments that are being released this year. They had the regular Peanuts and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer decorations as well as new ones with Hello Kitty and Disney’s Princesses. The one that stuck out in my mind was the Elvis Presley Christmas statures, ornaments and knick knacks. Is he still as popular as Charlie Brown or Ariel the Little Mermaid?  I have to guess so since even thought he has been dead for over 30 years he is still one of the biggest money makers in show business.

Elvis is not the only dead celebrity that is making the big bucks as several continue to rake in millions in income. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll pulled in US$52 million last year, more than some of today’s biggest living pop stars like Justin Timberlake (US$44 million) and Madonna (US$40 million).

Dying at age 42 in 1977, Presley topped the list for a second year running due to income generated from visitors to his Graceland estate to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death, and merchandising. That explains the Christmas items I saw this year.

“Snoopy” creator Charlie Schultz, who died in 2000 at 77, takes second spot on Forbes’ Top-Earning Dead Celebrities for 2007, with posthumous earnings of US$33 million.

His heirs inked an agreement last year with Warner Bros Studios, which boosted him up a notch this year.

The late Heath Ledger, who died in January this year from over-medication, debuted on the list in the third place, with an estimated US$20 million earnings, most of which came from his last movie role as the Joker in the box office hit, “The Dark Knight”.

Albert Einstein is fourth despite having been dead for over 50 years, with his “Baby Einstein” toy franchise bringing in US$18 million.

“Beverly Hills 90210” producer Aaron Spelling, who died in 2006, is fifth, with US$15 million, mainly from royalties of reruns of his popular shows.

Rounding up the list are “Dr Seuss” children book author Theodor Geisel with US$12 million, Beatle John Lennon with US$9 million, pop art artist Andy Warhol with US$8 million, iconic actress Marilyn Monroe with US$6.5 million, and actor Steve McQueen with US$5 million.

I am sure next year we will see Paul Newman join that list with all the food items with his name on them.