I’ve never lived in a Communist country. Never lived in a Socialist country either. But in our capitalistic United States, money is the gift that keeps on giving—even after you’re dead. Money for nothing, (but the chicks ain’t free).
Admittedly, this isn’t the way I usually think about dying, but since I don’t believe in heaven or hell, the notion of money pouring in post mortem, (something I rarely experienced in my lifetime), may lift my thoughts when I see the White Light.
Over the years I’ve ranted and railed against vast wealth accumulated in too few hands. That hasn’t changed. But I just don’t see much downside to lining my pockets from six feet under.
Here’s a look at some people who have been partaking in death’s affluence for decades. All figures are approximate since different sources report different amounts—but with these numbers…who’s counting?
Albert Einstein, dead since 1955, squared away $10,000,000 last year alone. And this before the supposed line of scientific instruments, tablets, and computers bearing his name hit the market. I shoulda’ gotten a degree.Let’s face it, no matter how political I am or ever will be, no one will ever mistake me for a White Bob Marley. I can’t hold a fucking tune. And though he’s been dead since 1981, no matter. Mr. One Love chilled with a cool $18,000,000 last year. That kind of scratch scores some really, really good shit. But even with all that money, he might have a difficult time finding a dealer. Now that would hurt.
Believe me, Marley isn’t the only singer who no longer has to sing for supper.
John Lennon, who died in 1980, does pretty well at $12,000,000 a year. This for a guy who curled up naked and used to warble All You Need is Love.
I guess it’s better to slug down pills AND alcohol.
Of course, many other actors have their hands out, even if it’s in front of their headstones. The “King of Cool,” Steve McQueen, who died way back in 1980, earns a nifty $9,000,000 yearly.
A pretty good reward for making his Great Escape.
And please, let’s not forget Marilyn. Her medicine chest gets replenished with the $15,000,000 a year. I’m guessing that JFK and the Yankee Clipper are gritting their teeth with envy. Or, given their lives, maybe not so much.
Lest you think that only pop culture superstars and actors get this gig (and, yes, these days Einstein is exactly that), think again.
Dead since 2004, Ray Charles manages to earn a solid $10,000,000 a year. In fact, Ray’s earnings have risen since his death.
Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) dumps about $9,000,000 into his hat every year. No wonder the Doctor’s cat has a smile like the Cheshire’s.
And believe it or not, the cumulative net worth of Rodgers and Hammerstein has also been upwardly mobile. (Oscar died in 1960, Richard in 1979). Does $235,000,000 sound like Some Enchanted Evening to you?
There are so many dead people earning that I can’t list all. But I would be incredibly remiss if I neglected “The King” despite the fact that Elvis, who died 1977, isn’t the highest annual earner. That honor goes to yet another “King,” Michael Jackson who, since his death, 2009, has earned close to a billion dollars.
Now that’s one hell of a lot of toys—if he can use them. (And enough to fund some new exquisite videos). Still, the “original” King is making $55,000,000, which ain’t exactly chump change. That’s over $150,000 a day for being dead!
I guess Stephen Sondheim (alive, but expected to earn after death as well) knew what he was talking about when he wrote:
I like to be in America, Okay by me in America, Everything free in America ~ West Side Story (1958)