The Michael Jacksons of this world earn it big when alive but even bigger when dead. According to the Forbes magazine Michael Jackson’s income for the fiscal year June 2012 to June 2013, was $160 million. The amazing fact is that he grosses more than two times than a living celebrity, which happens to be no other than our beloved Material Girl, Madonna.This in not the first time though that a dead celebrity has grossed earnings more than those alive. In the recent past Elizabeth Taylor also achieved this feat with a whopping $210 million.
Michael Jackson, Elvis, Bob Marley are the notable celebrities that made it to the list of the most earning celebrities from the grave, but there were some close misses as well, as the likes of James Dean, Andy Warhol and George Harrison narrowly failed to make the list this year round.
This goes on to show the earning potential of these mega stars whether dead or alive. In fact, it is, in a sense, ironic that Jenni Rivera, a Mexican-American singer who died in a plane crash in December 2012, also made it to the top five earners of the year 2013. Ironic because she did not earn really as much alive than as she is doing now dead and buried.
Majority of the earnings of Michael Jackson come from Cirque du Soleil shows, that are almost always sold out and his music albums. Michael Jackson, the “king of pop,” earned more this year than Elvis Presley, the “king of rock.” Elvis Presley’s earnings are estimated to be $55 million. Madonna, a living celeb, earned $66 million.
Another celebrity that shows prominently on the list of big earners of 2013 is the legendary reggae singer Bob Marley. Once the ambassador of Rastafarianism throughout the world, Bob Marley earned a staggering $18 million in his posthumous earnings this year.
Charles Schultz, the creator of the world famous comic strip Peanuts, another dead celebrity, according to Forbes, grossed $37 million.
Speaking of big bucks, let’s not forget the Beatles, whose estimated earnings for the fiscal year 2012 to 2013 are approximately $71 million.
To talk about all these millions is also sad because we live in a world where nearly half the living population earns less than $1 a day. This illustrates two extremes of those under the poverty line and those who make exorbitant sums of money.
The present situation makes this author remember a famous line from a hit song by Jon Bon Jovi, “I am wanted, dead or alive.” So to say these dead celebrities are still posthumously making offensive sums of money, while there are millions living among us who are starving and would kill or get killed for much less. It is a paradox but one that we all have to deal with in our own way. Some by cursing our luck and others by abusing the capitalistic system and the insane societies we live in.
Any which way you look at it, it is sad situation that the living, especially in the poor countries of this world are barely able to, literally, scrape out a living for themselves and their loved ones on the one hand and while their are these dead celebrities who have no apparent need for money in their graves, rolling in millions, on the other.
An Op-ed by: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada