Albert Einstein's theory of royalty longevity
The famous scientist might have been dead for 53 years, but that didn't stop him earning £11m over the past 12 months
It's no surprise to see Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe on a list of the top 10 highest earning deceased celebrities, but what's Albert Einstein doing there?
He's been dead for 53 years, but Einstein's estate still brings in a whopping $18m (£11.2m) every 12 months, putting him fourth in the annual ranking compiled the by the US finance publication Forbes.
The latest version of the list puts only Elvis Presley, the Peanuts cartoonist Charles M Schulz and the actor Heath Ledger above him. Ledger's financial legacy is boosted by percentage deals linked to his role as the Joker in Batman film The Dark Knight.
So what makes the scientist such a good earner and someone Forbes describes as "a staple of our list", even though he only made the top 10 from 2006?
It seems his executors have been busy exploiting Einstein's renown and instantly recognisable shock-headed appearance. One major earner is Baby Einstein, a mainly Disney-owned series of infant learning toys. Apparently the winner of the 1921 Nobel prize for physics also endorses Nestlé coffee in Japan and will shortly be helping the US basketball star Kobe Bryant advertise sports shoes.
Who knew? Not me. The millions, apparently, go to Jerusalem's Hebrew University, the beneficiary of his estate.
The other occupants of the 2008 top 10 are less remarkable, although it's perhaps a surprise to learn that Steve McQueen's image and name still earned his estate $6m last year, almost 30 years after he died.
The only Briton in the top 10 is John Lennon, still making $9m a year. This is down from a peak of $24m in 2006, but as Forbes adds: "Lennon is still doing fine."
Also notable is an absentee: Tupac Shakur, shot dead in 1996, drops out after the late rapper's seemingly endless supply of archive-scraping new releases finally dried up.
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