Finally, tangible proof that there is indeed life after death—as long as you are, or were, a famous celebrity.
The Forbes 2012 Top-Earning Dead Celebrities report is out, and many will be surprised to learn that both Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley have been relegated to the #2 and #3 spots, respectively. That’s right, Elizabeth Taylor snuck into the 2012 lead by virtue of an estate auction which earned a cool $210 million last year. Taylor’s collection of jewelry was legendary, but she also owned works by both Picasso and Van Gogh, and her perfume line White Diamonds remains a top-seller.
The public wants its celebrities to be both exceptional and human, and nothing reminds us of the humanity of the ridiculously talented and fortunate more than death. We all die, after all–and death doesn’t care who we are.
Death can visit us in the shower, on a highway or during a beachside stroll. It has neither remorse nor regret. It simply does what it does when it wants, and dying turns out to be a defining career move for many celebrities thanks to the misplaced nostalgia of an eager public.