Burning Question: Why Being Dead Is Really Good for a Celeb’s Bank Account?
Jackson, Presley, Marley (Getty/Getty/Everett)
Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor — they're all just as rich, if not richer, in death as they were in life. How come?
They’re not only wealthier in death; they’re also shinier than some of the biggest living names out there right now. Per Forbes, Jackson made $160 million over the past year, topping the very alive Madonna, who made about $125 million.
So why is The Gloved One able to make it rain all the way from Heaven?
Several reasons. First, he was hugely influential in life, just like Bettie Page or Jenni Rivera or Presley or Taylor or Bob Marley. So it’s only natural that folks would still want to spend money on a dead star’s movies or music.
"These are people who had dramatic impact on our lives and culture," says Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, which manages the intellectual property of celebrities both dead and alive. "Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer of all time.
"And if you look at [the late] Jenni Rivera or Bettie Page, both of which are clients, you see people who also had dramatic impact on our culture. Bettie, as Hugh Hefner once pointed out, started the sexual revolution in our country, and she was someone at the forefront of sexuality and pushing the boundaries. She is someone that people still want relate to — almost like James Dean, a rebel in her own way."