The top posthumous earners

The estates of J.R.R. Tolkien, Elvis Presley, and other celebs are still pulling in big bucks.

Olivia Heller

They say you can’t take it with you, but you can apparently keep earning big bucks after you’ve died.

Forbes revealed the year’s 13 top-earning dead celebrities. Collectively, they’ve earned $1.6B, up 72% from last year and the biggest take since Forbes started counting in 2001.

A few highlights:

J.R.R. Tolkien earned $500m thanks to Swedish video game company Embracer’s acquisition of Middle-Earth Enterprises, which owns exclusive rights to elements of the Lord of the Rings author’s work.

Elvis Presely came in fourth with $110m from tickets, shows, merchandise, and boosted interest in the singer following Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis.

The bottom two slots belong to Beatles: John Lennon with $16m and George Harrison with $12m. Both estates received millions from the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show and Disney’s “Get Back” docuseries.

Curious about who topped last year’s list? Author Roald Dahl after Netflix paid $684m for the Roald Dahl Story Company.

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