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Elvis, John Lennon and other top-earning dead people

By Emily Morgan

October 30, 2007 at 6:39pm

When Forbes published its list of the year’s top-earning dead celebrities, we set ourselves a challenge.

If everyone is separated by six degrees (or less), shouldn’t it be possible to link every name on the list in a single map?

The ranking, headed by Elvis Presley, includes 13 people - musicians, actors, a cartoonist, a children’s author, an artist and a Nobel Prize winner. Their birth years span nearly a century, from 1879 to 1971.

All 13 appear in the map above.

Here’s the Forbes list of beyond-the-grave moneymakers for the past 12 months:

The easiest link was between George Harrison and John Lennon. The Beatles connect to Elvis Presley and James Brown by way of Michael Jackson, former husband of Lisa Marie Presley and part-owner of the rights to Apple Records. Jackson also named Brown as his “greatest inspiration” when he spoke at his funeral.

Andy Warhol’s celebrity-centric art links him to Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Albert Einstein, whom he painted. Another famous subject of Warhol’s was Elizabeth Taylor, who co-starred with James Dean in the 1956 film Giant

Einstein, Charles Shulz, and Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), share the same publisher: Random House.

Bob Marley and Eric Clapton both recorded the song I Shot the Sheriff. Clapton’s ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow found inspiration in actor Steve McQueen, and penned a song named for him.

Finally, Tupac Shakur makes his way into the map by way of Elton John, whose sample the rapper used on his track Ghetto Gospel. Elton John’s famous song, Candle In The Wind, was written about Marilyn Monroe. It was later re-released as a tribute to Princess Diana, who is also on the map because her ex and Paul McCartney had the same divorce attorney.

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The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.


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