2015 Earnings: $40 million
It's not surprising that the creator of the most iconic comic strip in American publication history would land on this list. Peanuts ran its first strip on October 2, 1950 and nearly 70 years later, is consistently earning cartoonist Charles Schulz massive eight-figure royalties. He's been listed as a top earning dead celebrity almost every year since 2000 -- having raked in over $1 billion in those 15 years since his death. Schulz still gets a cut of licensing revenue from all merchandise and every television or film adaptation of the Peanuts cartoon, including last year's 3D flick The Peanuts Movie, which earned almost $250 million at the worldwide box office.