Forbes has come out with it’s Top Earning Dead Celebrities list, and sure enough, we can find Professor Tolkien near the top at number 5. Here’s their take on it:
The creator of hobbits and Middle Earth languages left a lasting legacy for his fans and family with The Lord of the Rings franchise. The Tolkien estate and publisher HarperCollins recently reached a settlement with New Line Cinema over allegedly unpaid royalties from the Lord of the Rings movies. September’s agreement was reported at over $100 million, meaning J.R.R. Tolkien earned a sizable income in the last year. His earning potential isn’t dimming: The Hobbit is rumored for release in 2011, with directors Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson at the helm.
I’m not surprised that his estate is still pulling in acres or cash. What’s interesting of course is that Tolkien sold his film rights for just £104,602 — a pittance compared to the £3 billion the Peter Jackson trilogy made in theatres.