October 27, 2005
Elvis still tops dead celebrities, Shakespeare hot
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Elvis is still the king when it comes
to earning royalties, according to Forbes magazine, but
Shakespeare could have given him a run for the money.
Forbes' annual list of Ten-Top Earning Dead Celebrities
issued on Thursday showed Elvis Presley was top earner for the
fifth straight year, generating $45 million for his estate.
Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz held his customary spot
at No. 2, with $35 million.
Presley died in 1977 and his music is still going strong,
but he has a long way to go to outlast Shakespeare, still on
theater marquees nearly 400 years after his death.
The magazine calculated what the Bard's heirs might collect
each year if he were still under copyright and estimated it at
$15 million with over 5,000 performances of his plays and
hundreds of thousands of books sold in the last year.
That would put him behind fellow Englishman and former
Beatle John Lennon (No. 3 at $22 million) and artist Andy
Warhol (No. 4, $16 million) and ahead of dead heavyweights such
as Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe.
This year's list also showed the big impact of Hollywood as
Johnny Cash and Ray Charles broke into the top rankings as the
release or planned release of film biographies boosted their