Dr. Seuss’ books have taught several generations how to read. Now he is becoming one of Hollywood’s go-to guys for children’s movies. The film version of his beloved tale of The Lorax brought in $349 million in 2012. New versions of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Cat in the Hat" are in the works.
Few celebrities defined a look as much as Bettie Page did. With her severe bangs and low cut tops she was the ultimate pin-up girl. Now her fans can emulate her style through a line of Bettie Page boutiques in locations like New York City, Las Vegas and even Portland.
Einstein owns the idea of “smart” and thanks to shows like "The Big Bang Theory," smart is hotter than ever. Montblanc put out a limited edition Einstein pen this year which sold for $3,000. Expect to soon see Einstein’s name on scientific instruments and tablet computers. He’ll also front a line of smart food.
Imagine all the profits! The legendary singer continues to share in the Beatles’ spoils—over 63 million albums sold in the U.S. alone since 1992—both as a performer and a songwriter. Other ventures, like the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show Love! in Las Vegas, continue to fill his coffers.
Ask anyone in the dead celebrities business which estate is making the biggest gains and they’ll tell you Marilyn Monroe. Now run by Authentic Brand Group, Monroe recently appeared in an ad campaign for Sexy Hair and Macy’s is selling a line of Monroe clothes. Marilyn Monroe cafes and spas are popping up around the country and Monroe is the new face of Channel No. 5.
(Photo: Frank Worth, Courtesy of Capital/Getty Images)
The iconic reggae star wasn’t known for his capitalist tendencies while alive, but in death he’s becoming quite the diversified businessman. Recent ventures include the Marley Beverage company (home to the “relaxation drink” known as Marley’s Mellow Mood) and House of Marley (producer of eco-friendly audio and lifestyle products). Marley has sold more than 75 million albums in the past two decades.
Taylor’s earnings were $185 million higher last year because of a series of extremely successful auctions at Christie’s of the star's jewelry and art. Taylor, who embodies old-school Hollywood glamour, still earns from her fragrance, White Diamonds, which brought in $35 million in the U.S. alone in 2012, and smart investments in stock and real estate. Expect to see more licensing deals soon on things like high-end fashion and cosmetics.
Born in 1922, Charles Schulz’s tender-hearted Peanuts comic-strip reached tens of millions of readers daily in 75 different countries through 21 languages when it ended in 2000. Schulz wove many moments of his own life into his storylines—a rejected marriage proposal led to Charlie Brown’s long-lasting but fruitless pursuit of the Little Red-Haired Girl. His wide cast of characters included Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally; his wise, if peculiar, friend Linus; the bullying Lucy; and his dog, Snoopy. In all, those characters appeared in more than 1,800 strips, the last one appearing just hours after Schulz died.
The King of Rock n’ Roll may have taken a back seat to the King of Pop, but he’s still earning steadily thanks to his eternally popular image and his famous home, Graceland. That was enough to convince billionaire Leon Black and his firm, Apollo Global Management, to buy CKX, the parent company of American Idol and the estates of both Elvis and Muhammad Ali, for $509 million in 2011.
The King of Pop reclaims his postmortem cash crown after ceding it last year to pal Elizabeth Taylor. He earned the bulk of his bucks from two Cirque du Soleil shows, his Mijac Music catalog, recorded music sales and his half of the Sony/ATV publishing empire—which includes the copyright to hits by the Beatles, Lady Gaga, Eminem and Taylor Swift, among others.