October 26, 2006

Wring Out Your Dead: Bodies Bank Big Baby Biz Bucks

The alliterative headline thing only goes so far.

Forbes published its list of the top-earning dead celebrities this week, and while everyone else goes on about the significance of Kurt Cobain displacing Elvis for the top spot [$50 million vs $42 million], and the whole music-in-ads licensploitation of rebellious rockers by the corporate world [thanks, Boomers, for bequeathing us this valuable legacy], I think there's another story that's staring at us from beyond the grave: the Baby Industrial Complex.

Eight celebrity estates earned $10 million or more in the last year, and half of them have big baby- and kid-related licensing or book deals in place:

#3 Charles Schulz ["Peanuts", $35 million] and #7 Theodore Geisel [Dr. Seuss, $10 million] are the obvious ones. But #4 John Lennon [$24mm] artwork can be found on Wal-Mart's store-brand diapers and on nursery gear. And #5 Albert Einstein [$20 mm] gets a royalty from the educational video company whose real/only genius is marketing.

Give it a couple of years, though, and Cobain's people'll figure out a baby deal, too. Somebody get Dave Grohl on the phone...

Forbes Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

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