Yves Saint Laurent is highest earning dead celebrity

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  • The designer beats Michael Jackson and Elvis

    Yves Saint Laurent has beaten Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley to the top of a Forbes list of the world’s highest earning dead celebrities.
    Despite attracting enormous interest in his music when he died in June, Jackson only made third place in the ranking, making about $90 million in the four months since then according to the magazine.

    That’s a long way behind the French fashion designer, who earned an estimated $350 million, as well as the song-writing duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, who made $235 million. Presley – the usual list leader – came fourth with $55 million, followed closely by JRR Tolkein on $50 million.

    Saint Laurent died of brain cancer in June 2008 and the bulk of his earnings came from the sale of most of his possessions, including art, furniture and antiques, in February.

    Of the best performers, only Elvis did not owe his achievement to a one-off windfall. While his estate lost the rights to his pre-1973 recordings long ago, it has turned his legacy into a hugely profitable merchandising and tourism business centred around his former Memphis home – Graceland.

    The report’s authors predict the singer is likely to regain his lead next year when fans celebrate his 75th birthday.

    Matthew Miller who edits the Forbes dead celebrity list said: ‘The money might be drying up in Hollywood, but there’s still plenty of cash being made in the graveyard.’


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