How lucrative are dead celebrities’ careers?


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For some celebrities, being dead is a full-time job. Huge stars can keep earning millions, take on roles in movies, and even start selling you chocolate on TV despite not being alive. We all have favourite celebrities who’ve died, but not many of us would go so far as to interact with them on Facebook Messenger. Here we take a look at the ways dead celebrities stick around after they die, the tech that’s resurrecting them and how much dead celebrities earn.


Hologram technology isn’t new, with the first foray into holography starting in the 1960s, with holograms being created by using a laser beam that’s then split in two, with one of the beams it becomes an image of what something looks like at all angles.

Now, holography is the tech of choice to resurrect dead singers in order for them to perform again. She’s been dead for 7 years but Amy Winehouse is set to be rolled out for another tour in 2019. Prince performed at the 2018 Super Bowl, 2 years after he died, through the medium of hologram. The star was beamed into hundreds and millions of living rooms, went viral on social media, and we all found ourselves perfecting our dance routines to ‘Strawberry Beret’ yet again.


Resurrecting dead celebrities using tech known as CGI is very popular. CGI uses computer graphics to create a special effect, and past footage can be repurposed. Despite the wide use of CGI to animate the fictional worlds of many major movies, for many of us, Peter Cushing’s CGI resurrection in the Star Wars hit film Rogue One came as a surprise. Using the most realistic CGI on a stand-in actor to date, Cushing appeared – complete with cheekbones and cold glare – in all his computer generated glory, 25 years after he initially died.

3D data technology  

Elton John’s getting ready to be brought back to life through virtual reality company Spinifex’s 3D data capture technology. This involves mapping 2D images of a concert from 40 years on to a body double, after capturing the real Elton’s finger movements and mannerisms. This 3D data is then applied to the computer image, making it life-like. Elton might still be seen sitting behind a piano many years after he’s dead.

Social media presence

While one of the thrilling things about social media is the possibility that Justin Bieber might ‘like’ our late night, wine-fuelled comment, or Alan Titchmarsh might retweet a photo of our gardening handiwork, it’s a slightly different story when fans interact with dead celebrities. Or is it?

Dead stars are still loud and interactive on social media; Michael Jackson has 881,600 optimistic followers on Twitter. Managed by a team obviously tasked with keeping the Jackson estate ticking over nicely, the King of Pop mostly plugs new releases of old hits and upcoming projects.

Elvis Presley is also a big presence on social media. With 6.9 million fans on Facebook, his estate uses the page to promote merchandise and, surprisingly, announce new music. One if the late singer’s newest single’s is a duet with Celine Dion.

Celebrities can still earn after they die

With Robin Williams placing the rights to his name and image with a trust before he died, it seems the desire to resurrect celebrities is a legal and ethical conundrum. With Michael Jackson yet again topping Forbes’s Richest Dead Celebrities list, earning more in a year than he did when he was alive, being dead is undoubtedly a lucrative career move.

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Take a look at our article on your own data privacy after you die

Read more about death on social media and how we grieve online here

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