All About Estates

Dead people who made WAY more money than you

Concert tickets are a horrible Christmas gift. The concert is a year away. They’re expensive, so the gift receiver is bound to feel guilty. You gave me a pair of tickets, are you implying that I have to take you? Cause now I’m thinking you like this singer more than I do.

How can a gift giver make this even more awkward? How about tickets to a concert headlined by a dead guy’s hologram? Those are a real thing and yes, they still cost an entire paycheck to buy.

Back by popular demand, my post today is all about dead celebrities who made way more money than you this year.

Here are the Top 10 earners from the Forbes Annual list of the highest paid dead celebrities. Figures are for pre-tax earnings, before deducting fees for agents, managers, lawyers and estate executors.

Before we start, write down some names and your dollar values predictions. We might as well have some fun.

Honorable mention

Juan Gabriel – $23 million (Famous Mexican singer and composer)

This guy wrote 1,800 songs in his lifetime. The dedication. I can’t even get people to sing at karaoke.


The Top 10

  1. Charles Schulz – $24MM

Definitely not Peanuts. He brings in this level of cash EVERY year.

  1. Jeff Porcaro – $25MM

Why do people always fawn over the lead singers? Jeff was the drummer of Toto and co-wrote the hit song “Africa”. In addition to blessing the rains down in Africa, Jeff is also making it rain 30 years after his death. And you didn’t even know who he is.

  1. Dr. Seuss – $32MM

All that money can buy a nice gift. All that money puts you backstage with Taylor Swift

I don’t want concert tickets, didn’t you hear? Loud teens cheering really hurts my ears

“But it’ll be fun for us to be so close to Tay Tay!” they say

 Well this is awkward, I wasn’t going to take you anyway

  1. Leonard Cohen – $55MM

I’m creatively spent after coming up with that rhyme, so I’ll just say Hallelujah that’s a lot of money

  1. Michael Jackson – $75MM

MJ dropped to #6 after being #1 for many years in a row. This is Bad, real Bad. But $75 million is still something to HEE-HEE about

  1. James Brown – $100MM

I didn’t do this list last year, but I decided to Get Up Offa That Thing.

  1. Elvis – $110MM

Elvis’ cause of death is listed as heart attack. Here’s the recipe for Fool’s Gold Loaf, which Elvis would take his private jet from Graceland to Denver to buy:

  • 1 hollowed-out loaf of bread (warmed)
  • One jar of creamy peanut butter
  • One jar of grape jelly
  • A pound of bacon

You shouldn’t feel guilty for eating so many sugar cookies this month.

  1. David Bowie – $250MM

David’s estate sold his publishing catalog and masters this year. Anyone else getting a bit hungry after reading #4?

  1. Kobe Bryant – $400MM

Kobe’s estate sold his 7% stake in an energy drink company. Mamba out. Mamba paid. MVP Forever.

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien – $500MM

Second breakfasts? With money like that, a hobbit can go for fourths and fifths. Not to mention the preciouses that can be bought. Just me or does Rings of Power on Prime kinda suck? An estate selling the rights to intellectual property can really lower the bar on something special. Find something else to binge watch while eating your homemade Fool’s Gold.

Wishing you all a fun/warm/glutenous December!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! 


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About Peter Meitanis


  1. Peggy Killeen

    December 1, 2022 - 5:06 pm

    Thank you for entertaining me today, Peter!

  2. Janice Meighan

    December 1, 2022 - 9:39 pm

    Wow. That was fun, Peter. Thank you!

  3. Gali Gelbart

    December 2, 2022 - 6:04 pm

    What a surprising and enjoyable list, thanks Peter!

    • Peter Meitanis

      December 2, 2022 - 11:06 pm

      I’ve done a blog on this list a few times and this was the most surprising one for sure

  4. Jennifer Tweddle

    December 2, 2022 - 10:18 pm

    Very clever. Thanks so much. I really enjoyed the read. Happy Holidays.

    • Peter Meitanis

      December 2, 2022 - 11:07 pm

      Thank you Jennifer! Enjoy your Fool’s Gold? Haha

  5. Julie Prutton

    December 2, 2022 - 11:03 pm

    Who knew there was another Dr. Seuss out there! Entertaining read Peter.

    • Peter Meitanis

      December 2, 2022 - 11:08 pm

      I should change my email signature at Scotia to a rhyme 🙂

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