Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Better Off Dead?

Could it be that my best career move at this point would be to develop a major drug dependency and then keel over dead on the toilet? Hmmm....

Elvis Presley, Snoopy creator Charles Shultz and recently deceased actor Heath Ledger headed Forbes' Top-Earning Dead Celebrities for 2007, having netted a combined 105 million dollars, the magazine said Tuesday.

Thirty years after he died aged 42, the King of Rock 'n' Roll last year pulled in 52 million dollars, dwarfing living music stars like Justin Timberlake (44 million) and Madonna (40 million), the magazine said.

Elvis topped the list for a second year running due to the 30th anniversary extravaganza in Graceland -- his home in Memphis, Tennessee -- that in visitors and merchandising generated more income than his 2006 earnings of 49 million dollars.

Shultz, who drew Snoopy and the "Peanuts" gallery of characters into existence, died in 2000 at 77. His heirs last year penned an agreement with Warner Bros. studios moving him up a notch in Forbes' list, with posthumous earnings of 33 million dollars.

The Australian heartthrob Ledger, who died at 28 in January from overmedication, made an estimated 20 million dollars in earnings from his cut in the latest box office smash hit Batman movie "The Dark Knight," in which he played the Joker.

The father of relativity, Albert Einstein, was fourth on the Forbes list. Even though he passed away in 1955, his "Baby Einstein" toy franchise brought in a cool 18 million dollars.

Television producer Aaron Spelling, who died in 2006, followed with 15 million dollars in earnings last year, chiefly from royalties of reruns of his popular shows.

"Dr. Seuss" children book author Theodor Geisel (d. 1991) made 12 million dollars for fifth place, and Beatle John Lennon, shot to death in 1980, dropped from second to sixth place with nine million.

Listed 8, 9 and 10 were Andy Warhol (d. 1987) with eight million dollars; Marilyn Monroe (d. 1962) 6.5 million, and actor Steve McQueen (d. 1980) with six million.

Actor Paul Newman, who died last month at 83 years of age, pulled in five million dollars, tying with the late James Dean (d. 1955), who also earned five million.

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