Michael Jackson is Still the Highest Paid Dead Celebrity
Forbes released its annual list of the 13 Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. Why 13? Because it's Halloween, and that's the scary number. Right?
Anyway, Michael Jacksonn is #1 again this year. Since his death in 2009, he's topped the list in six of the eight years.
Here's this year's oh-so-spooky top 13 along with their estimated earnings over the past 12 months:
- Michael Jackson, $825 million. Dead since 2009.
- "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz, $48 million. Dead since 2000.
- Arnold Palmer, $40 million. Dead since three weeks ago.
- Elvis Presley, $27 million. Dead since 1977.
- Prince, $25 million. Dead since April of this year.
- Bob Marley, $21 million. Dead since 1981.
- Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, $20 million. Dead since 1991.
- John Lennon, $12 million. Dead since 1980.
- Albert Einstein, $11.5 million. Dead since 1955.
- Bettie Page, $11 million. Dead since 2008.
- David Bowie, $10.5 million. Dead since this past January.
- Steve McQueen, $9 million. Dead since 1980.
- Elizabeth Taylor, $8 million. Dead since 2011.
The celebrities that just missed the Top 13 are: Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Maya Angelou, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Jose Fernandez, and Juan Gabriel.
The $825 million that Michael Jackson got was largely from the sale of his remaining half of the ATV publishing catalog, which included a library of Beatles songs. "Forbes" says that's the biggest one-year haul for any celebrity, dead or alive.
Michael paid $47.5 million for the whole catalog back in 1985. That's about $140 million in today's dollars. A lot of critics thought he overpaid for it, and that it was a terrible investment. But in the mid-'90s, Sony paid him $115 million for half of it and earlier this year, the other half sold for $750 million.
Read more at Forbes.