Marilyn Monroe

2015 Earnings: $17 million

An image of Marilyn Monroe can be recognized anywhere in the world, and nearly 55 years after her death, is still worth a whole lot of bank. Ever since Lee Strasberg's widow Anna inherited the Monroe Estate in 1982 and hired estate management company CMG Worldwide, Marilyn's come-hither expression has been emblazoned on t-shirts, posters, refrigerator magnets, shoes, whatever you can think of. And in 2011, Authentic Brands Group bought the licensing rights associated with Marilyn's estate for a whopping $30 million, and have been working to strengthen her brand ever since. Her likeness has appeared in ads with Charlize Theron, alongside Willem Dafoe for Snickers during this year's Super Bowl, in a clothing line for Macy's and even a lingerie line.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Kevin • April 14, 2016 @ 1:24 PM

    I can’t understand why a dead Michael Jackson earned more than deceased Elvis Presley or John Lennon!

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