50 Years After Her Death, The Business Of Marilyn Monroe Is Still Booming

marilyn monroe statue
Monroe’s estate made $27 million last year alone.

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On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36.50 years later, Monroe remains as much of a cultural icon as ever. And the Hollywood bombshell’s selling power is just as powerful—if not more.

Her name and estate could generate nearly $30 million in sales this year.

After Monroe’s image and likeness were purchased by Authentic Brands Group and partner NECA in 2010, “the company is in the midst of upgrading Monroe offerings from trinkets to cosmetic lines, spas, salons and apparel,” reports the AP.

In addition, “a new digital emphasis” will now be placed on the late star’s estate, which includes a wealth of photos, fashion, films and other cultural touchstones.

Part of the digital emphasis includes a Twitter account—@MarilynMonroe, “tweeting on behalf of the Estate of Marilyn Monroe”—which, at last count, has 64,352 followers and is even verified. Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry are among the 22 people she follows.

MArilyn Monroe Facebook Page

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Her Facebook page, which keeps fans up to date on any Marilyn-related news and posts the actress’ past quotes, has 3.5 million likes.”Of all the people who’ve clicked the ‘like’ button at [the Marilyn Monroe] Facebook page, the top two age groups are the 13-to-17-year-old age group and the 18-to-24 group,” Authentic’s chief marketing officer Nick Woodhouse told the LA Times. “She really resonates with youth.”

And it doesn’t hurt that the NBC drama “Smash,” which is produced by Steven Spielberg and stars “American Idol” alum Katherine McPhee, follows fictional efforts to create a Broadway show based on Monroe’s life. Authentic Brands promotes sales of the show and memorabilia.

“In some ways, she’s more popular and well-known today than she was even then,” said Lawrence Schiller, a photographer friend of Monroe’s who penned the memoir “Marilyn & Me.”

Authentic Brands CEO Jamie Salter told the AP “Our aim has been to clean up the brand” with a shift away from “souvenir-type stuff” and toward what he calls the mid-tier luxury business. Current partners include Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, MAC Cosmetics and Marilyn Monroe Cafes, a group of high-end coffee shops.

And Salter’s plan is working. Forbes estimates that Monroe raked in $27 million in 2011, falling third behind music superstars Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley.

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