Entertainment

Michael Jackson is Forbes' top-earning dead celeb

Five years after his death, singer Michael Jackson is generating a fortune.

The top-earning dead celebrity raked in an estimated US$160 million (S$203 million) in the past year for his estate, Forbes said on Wednesday.

He earned more than twice as much as singer Elvis Presley, who died in 1977. Presley came in second with US$55 million (S$70 million).

Third place goes to cartoonist and Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schulz, with US$40 million (S$51 million).

"Few celebrities prove the point that there is (financial) life after death better than Michael Jackson," Forbes said.

It is Jackson's second straight year on top the list.

He regained the title in 2013, a year after being pushed into second place by actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Jackson's second album released after his death, Xscape debuted at No. 2 on the pop charts in the past year and the singer also appeared as a hologram at the Billboard Music Awards. Two Cirque du Soleil shows, Immortal and One, account for much of Jackson's earnings along with his music catalog and publishing empire.

Taylor, who died in 2011, came in at No. 4 with US$25 million and reggae singer Bob Marley completed the top five with US$20 million (S$25 million) for the year ended October 2014. Marley died of cancer at the age of 36 in 1981.


Photos: Reuters, Facebook

Forbes compiled the list by talking to estate managers, lawyers and licensors and analysing estimated posthumous earnings between October 2013-14.

Here's the full list of the top-earning dead celebrities:

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Elvis Presley
  3. Charles Schulz
  4. Elizabeth Taylor
  5. Bob Marley
  6. Marilyn Monroe
  7. John Lennon
  8. Albert Einstein
  9. Bettie Page
  10. Theodor Geisel
  11. Steve McQueen
  12. Bruce Lee
  13. Jenni Rivera

Sources: Reuters, Forbes

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