Michael Jackson tops list of highest earning dead celebrities
Michael Jackson heads new high-earner list of dead celebrities as he rakes in $160 million - $35 million more than top-earning living star Madonna.
Michael Jackson was the world's highest-earning dead celebrity for the last 12 months, raking in an impressive $160 million (£99 million) from beyond the grave, according to a new survey.
Four years after his death, Jackson also earned more than any living star, comfortably surpassing the $125 million that was brought in by the "Material Girl" Madonna.
In the latest annual rich list of dead stars compiled by Forbes magazine, second place to the King of Pop went to the King of Rock 'n' Roll as Elvis Presley earned $55 million.
Jackson reclaimed top spot in the afterlife income stakes from his old friend Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the British-born actress who died in 2011.
She had earned a remarkable $210 million the previous year on the back of auctions of her art, jewelry and dresses at Christie's.
The posthumous profitability of the Jackson brand owes much to the success of the tours Immortality and One performed by the Cirque du Soleil acrobatic company.
The Jackson estate also earns profits from his own music as well as his half share in the Sony/ATV catalogue of past and present hits by performers from The Beatles to Lady Gaga.
Presley died in 1977 but remains an enduring high-earner thanks to his music and image as well as Graceland, the home outside Memphis that still attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year.
For the second successive year, Charles Schultz, the cartoonist who created Peanuts, came third, with earnings of $37 million.
Taylor ranked fourth in the new list with earnings of about $25 million – much of it from a licensed perfume as well rights from her films and her stock and property investments. A recent deal between her estate and leading Hollywood agency UTA will maintain her earning power with new deals on clothing and cosmetics bearing her name.
Forbes said that its list covers earnings for the stars' estates between October 2012 and October 2013. "To come up with our estimates we talk to estate managers, licensors and lawyers involved in the dead celebrity business," the magazine said.
Places five to 11 went to Bob Marley (reggae star), Marilyn Monroe (actress), John Lennon (pop star), Albert Einstein (scientist), Bettie Page (pin-up model), Theodor Geisel (the writer Dr Seuss), Steve McQueen (actor). Rounding out the deceased dozen in joint 12th position were Bruce Lee (action film star) and Jenni Rivera (the Mexican-American singer who died in a plane crash last December).