LAST CALL: Some people really are better off dead

Elvis Presley earned only dollars 7 million less than 'N Sync did last year. John Lennon's 2000 tax return would look a lot like David Letterman's, as both topped dollars 20 million. And Cindy Crawford would surely stamp her size nines if she knew that Jimi Hendrix outpaced her dollars 6.7 million paycheck by 50%.

Death is clearly not a bad career move, according to Forbes' first annual 'Earnings from the Crypt.'

The 13-strong list was published with its more humdrum 'Celebrity 100' list that put Tom Cruise at the top of the heap in terms of power, money and press clips (a huge leap for Cruise, who was ranked 20th last year.)

Forbes calls Presley 'the richest guy in the celebrity graveyard,' reporting that his dollars 35 million earnings come from a combination of Graceland tours and posthumous appearances in commercials.

Marilyn Monroe made a relatively paltry dollars 4 million for plugging Chanel from the other side. Her picture also decorates 2,000 Las Vegas slot machines.

Promoting a dead celebrity could prove to be a pretty lucrative business for the ambitious publicist. After all, Elvis isn't really dead; he's just unavailable for comment right now.

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