Michael Jackson Tops List of Highest-Earning Dead Celebrities of 2013


The King of Pop earned more money in the last year than any living celebrities

Michael Jackson earned about $160 million in the last year, making him the top-earning dead celebrity of 2013, as well as the top-earning celebrity period, since his estate’s accumulation of wealth even bested Madonna’s $125 million income.

The “Thriller” hitmaker’s wealth nearly tripled runner-up Elvis Presley’s $55 million on Forbes‘ annual list (yes, another one) of posthumous celebrity wealth compiled from just in time for Halloween.

Also read: Ashton Kutcher, ‘Two and a Half Men’ Co-Stars Top Highest-Paid TV Actors List

Most of Jackson’s money from beyond the grave comes courtesy of two Cirque du Soleil shows, “Immortal” and “One” — the former of which has grossed over $300 million since opening last year. The rest of the Jackson estate’s fortune comes from his music and his half of the Sony-ATV catalog that owns hits from The Beatles and Lady Gaga.

Charles Schultz, the cartoonist who created Charlie Brown and the “Peanuts” gang, raked in $37 million between Oct. 2012 and Oct. 2013, making him the third highest-earning dead celebrity.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor topped last year’s list with $210 million in posthumous earnings — largely due to the auction of her belongings after her 2011 death — but dropped to fourth place in the last 12 months with $25 million netted from her perfume line, movie rights and investments.

See the top ten list of highest-earning dead celebrities below:

1. Michael Jackson $160
2. Elvis Presley: $55 million
3. Charles Schultz: $37 million
4. Elizabeth Taylor: $25 million
5. Bob Marley: $18 million
6. Marilyn Monroe: $15 million
7. John Lennon: $12 million
8. Albert Einstein: $10 million
9. Bettie Page: $10 million
10. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss): $9 million

  • Jim

    Michael Jackson earned about $160 million in the last year

    Minus the $710 million in taxes Jackson owes, comes to a balance of $550 million.

    • corlista

      First of all your math is wrong. 160M – 710M does not = balance of $550M.
      Second, the 710M tax debt is only “claimed” by the IRS – not proven fact – and we all know how reliable/truthful government agencies are especially one as greedy as the IRS.

      • Jim

        Did you carry the one?

      • Rob Barton

        When the IRS claims it watch out.

  • Jim

    Bettie Page: $10 million???


  • Jim

    Elizabeth Taylor: $25 million

    Does her estate make any money from TODD-AO? TODD as in Mike Todd, her husband, until he was killed in a plane crash.

  • corlista

    Michael Jackson #1? Of course. Not only #1 but he out earned more than the next 5 below him combined.

    • Jim

      Provided he’s not on another one of his spending sprees.

    • Rob Barton

      Just remember the money earned is mostly off other peoples efforts. Not his music.

  • madd whiteowl.

    why complain about a dead mans money. say something about music stealing elvis.

    • Rob Barton

      What you think you know about Elvis is BS. Get your head out of your a $$

  • Anthony Williams

    Those Jackson kid’s are set for life!