Michael Jackson is the top-earning dead celebrity in America


Michael Jackson, top-earning dead celebrity. (Reuters)

The King of Pop earned this distinction for the second year in a row from Forbes magazine, which has just issued its new top-earning dead celebrities list, the latest in its seemingly endless string of wealth-tracking lists.

According to the magazine, Jackson’s estate took in $170 million over the past 12 months, from sales of his music as well as earnings from his stake in the Sony/ATV catalogue. The article points out that this makes him the second wealthiest pop music act over the past year, right behind U2, a band that is decidedly not dead, despite what “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” might have you believe.

So as a fellow list-obsessed person, surely you are wondering who else made this rundown of wealthy, famous and deceased people. Here a few more names.

The late but always lucrative Elvis Presley is at No. 2 with $55 million.

Also on the list: Marilyn Monroe (No. 3, $27 million), “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz (No. 4, $25 million), John Lennon and Elizabeth Taylor (tied at No. 5 with $12 million each), and “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” author Stieg Larsson and Steve McQueen (tied at No. 9, with $7 million each).

Taylor, who died in March, is already high in the rankings because of sales of her perfume, White Diamonds. The potentially lucrative Christie’s auction of her belongings, scheduled for December, promises to bring in even more money.

Are you surprised by any of the names on the list? Any names you might expect to see here that you don’t? Weigh in with a comment.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.
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