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After they've passed: the enduring power of select celebrities

When it comes to personalities such as Elvis, Prince, James Dean, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe, notes a recent Forbes article, don't refer to them as "dead celebrities."

Call them "timeliness icons."

For, indeed, that is exactly what they are, known for their enduring power as marketing powerhouses long after their passing just as much as for the fame that magnified them during life.

There is undoubtedly not a single savvy marketing executive anywhere in the United States or elsewhere across the world who doesn't readily appreciate the sheer slam-dunk selling power of a larger-than-life figure who, following death, continues to be closely linked with a certain image or iconic nature.

John Wayne -- no-nonsense machismo. James Dean -- quintessential rebel. Marilyn Monroe -- beauty and glamour cut prematurely short.

It is small wonder to marketing and licensing industry insiders that the clout associated with select individuals now deceased exceeds -- sometimes exponentially -- that which existed while they were living.

And sometimes in wondrous ways. Forbes notably points to the recent linkage of Albert Einstein with artificial intelligence software programs. Elizabeth Taylor's name and likeness continues to be a potent force for companies seeking to sell perfume and cosmetics. And decades after his death, Elvis Presley simply continues to be the King.

That business gurus strive hard to connect riveting names from the past to products, merchandize and services in a commanding way that drives sales is hardly surprising, given the sheer size of the marketing/licensing pie.

Reportedly, licensed global sales amounted to nearly $263 billion last year.

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