Auction of Elizabeth Taylor's possessions helps put "Cleopatra" at top of Forbes list
Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson might have been friends in the mortal world, but in the afterlife, Taylor has just toppled the "Beat It" singer from a pretty lofty position.
Screen legend Taylor, who died last year at age 79, has taken the Number 1 spot on Forbes' annual list of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities away from "Thriller" singer Jackson, who topped the list the previous two years.
According to Forbes, Taylor earned $210 million last year. The majority of that came from an auction of the actress' possessions at Christie's, which raked in $184 million. But there's also revenue from Taylor's signature perfume White Diamonds, which generated $75 million in retail earnings in 2011.
Jackson, who died in 2009, still fared pretty well on Forbes' list, coming in second place with $145 million last year. It's also likely that he could find himself back at the top of the list next year, as Taylor isn't likely to retain the position without another auction.
Elvis Presley took third place on the list, with $55 million earned last year — the same amount as the King took in the year before.
"Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz came in fourth, taking in $37 million last year, while reggae legend Bob Marley filled out the Top 5 with $17 million.