The Lux List / Billionaires

Michael Jackson Top Earning Dead Celebrity: Forbes

Forbes has presented a new list of the top-earning dead celebrities for 2016, with Michael Jackson earning the highest honour.

Oct 14, 2016 | By Vimi Haridasan

Gone but not forgotten is probably the best way to describe the artists on Forbes’ latest update. Morbidly fascinating is another way. Taking the top spot amongst the “Top-earning dead celebrities of 2016” was the late ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson. Though he passed on in 2009, the sale of half his share in the Sony-ATV Music Publishing catalog made up the bulk of his earnings this year that helped clinch the title. Earning $825 million, of which $750 million came from the aforementioned sale, Jackson, easily beat everyone else on the list.

Well, we say ‘beat’ but really this was all accomplished through no special effort on Jackson’s part, nor any of the other celebrities on the list. It is not unlike the performance of a Basquiat or Picasso at auction we suppose.

Turning back to the list at hand though, Jackson not only smoked second-placed Charles M. Schulz but he actually made more than the entire top 10 put together. Schulz, the Peanuts creator, earned $48 million, followed closely by Arnold Palmer in third with $40 million. Proving to be a truly royal gathering, the “King of Rock n’Roll” Elvis Presley and “His Purple Majesty” Prince round up the top five with $27 million and $25 million respectively. The “Purple Rain” hit-maker and David Bowie were the two new entrants to the list, with their unexpected deaths earlier this year.

Top Earning Dead Celebrities for 2016.
  • Michael Jackson ($825 million)
  • Charles M Schulz ($48 million)
  • Arnold Palmer ($40 million)
  • Elvis Presley ($27 million)
  • Prince ($25 million)
  • Bob Marley ($21 million)
  • Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel ($20 million)
  • John Lennon ($12 million)
  • Albert Einstein ($11.5 million)
  • Bettie Page ($11 million)
  • David Bowie ($10.5 million)
  • Steve McQueen ($9 million)
  • Elizabeth Taylor ($8 million)