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Elizabeth Taylor Haunts Forbes List as Highest Paid Dead Celebrity

Elizabeth Taylor
Jesse Grant, Getty Images

Even after they’re dead and gone, some celebrities continue to rake in the dough. And this year’s top zombie earner?

Elizabeth Taylor, whose violet-eyed ghost hauled in a whopping $210 million.

But despite her coveted spot at the top of the Forbes list, she may not hold it for long. Seems most of her earnings — $184 million, to be exact — came from a Christie’s auction of her jewelry collection. The rest was comprised of partial ownership rights to most of her movies and the profits from her perfume White Diamonds, which took in $75 million last year.

Taylor knocked perennial top-earner Michael Jackson down to second. He brought in $145 million, due in part to his stake in the Sony catalog and Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘The Immortal Tour,’ which delves into the mind (why would you want to do that?) of the late King of Pop.

‘Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz and Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, came in 4th and 7th place, respectively, while singers Elvis Presley and Bob Marley both made the top five, with much of Marley’s haul coming from his line of headphones and soft drinks. (Yes, Marley’s Mellow Mood is a real thing. And no, it sadly doesn’t cause hallucinations.)

Here are the top earners on Forbes’ 2012 list of dead celebrities:

  • Elizabeth Taylor, $210 million
  • Michael Jackson, $145 million
  • Elvis Presley, $55 million
  • Charles Schulz, $37 million
  • Bob Marley, $17 million
  • John Lennon, $12 million
  • Marilyn Monroe / Albert Einstein (tie), $10 million
  • Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss, $9 million
  • Steve McQueen / Bettie Page (tie), $8 million

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