Cobain Bests Elvis As Top-Earning Dead Celeb
Elvis Presley has ceded his crown to Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain on Forbes.com's list as the top-earning dead celebrity.Elvis Presley has ceded his crown to Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain on Forbes.com's list as the top-earning dead celebrity. The list, published yesterday (Oct. 24), said Cobain earned $50 million between October 2005 and October 2006. Presley wound up in the No. 2 slot with $42 million, down from last year's $45 million.
Forbes.com bases its dollar amounts on licensing deals for using the deceased celebrities' work or image in advertising or elsewhere. This was Cobain's first time on the list in its six years of publication. Presley has ruled the roost since its inception, said Forbes.com staff writer Lacey Rose.
Cobain's coup was thanks to his widow, actress and singer Courtney Love, who sold a 25% stake in the Nirvana's song catalog to New York music publishing company PrimeWave.
Ranked after Presley is "Peanuts" cartoon strip creator Charles Schulz at $35 million. Rounding out the top five were the Beatles' John Lennon at $24 million and groundbreaking physicist Albert Einstein at $20 million, whose estate profited from such licensing deals as the popular "Baby Einstein" educational videos.
Other celebrities on the list include Theodore Geisel, better known as children's book author Dr. Seuss; Ray Charles, silver screen legend Marilyn Monroe and reggae superstar Bob Marley. Past top earners include songwriter Irving Berlin and actor Marlon Brando.
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