Late actor Heath Ledger has joined Elvis Presley and John Lennon on a list of celebrities who earned more after their death than when they were alive. The Brokeback Mountain star died aged 28 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs last year (Jan08), shortly after he completed filming on Batman movie The Dark Knight, which smashed box office records when it was released in the summer (08).
Ledger earned an estimated $30.1 million (£21.8 million) from his estate last year (08) - and experts predict he could pull in a further $5 million (£3.6 million) this year (09) if he scoops the Best Supporting Actor gong at next month's (Feb09) Academy Awards.
The money in Ledger's estate, as well as any posthumous earnings, will go to his daughter with actress Michelle Williams, three-year-old Matilda.
Blue Suede Shoes hitmaker Presley is still at the top of the highest earners' list, more than 31 years after his death in 1977, followed by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.
Ledger comes third in the rundown, followed by Albert Einstein and Beverly Hills 90210 creator Aaron Spelling in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Cartoonist Dr Seuss, former Beatles star John Lennon, artist Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, and actor Steve MCQueen rounded out the top ten of stars who have earned more following their deaths.