*Forbes on Monday released its annual list of top-earning dead celebrities and the King of Pop sits at the pinnacle.
Michael Jackson $275 million banked last year was more than the combined total of the other 12 celebrities on the list, Forbes magazine said. He was ranked third on last year’s list with $90 million.
“Jackson’s spot atop our top earning dead celebrities list should come as no surprise given the renewed fan interest in music, videos and all things Michael Jackson,” said Forbes writer Lacey Rose.
Jackson was 50 when he died in his Los Angeles home on June 25 last year, shortly before a planned series of comeback concerts in London. The singer left behind three children and a debt of $500 million.
But his estate has generated millions since his death, mostly through record sales, the “This Is It” concert movie, licensing rights, deals to release new albums and a Cirque du Soleil stage show in Las Vegas.
“Thanks to a lucrative catalog, hit film and album sales, the late king of pop earned more in the last year than Lady Gaga, Madonna and Jay-Z, combined,” said Rose.
Elvis Presley came in second, earning $60 million from admissions to his former home, Graceland, which is now a museum and tourist attraction in Memphis, Tennessee, a Cirque de Soleil show and more than 200 licensing and merchandise deals.
“The Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien, whose trilogy of novels was made into films by director Peter Jackson, came in at No. 3 on the Forbes list with earnings of $50 million, while Charles Schulz, the creator of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, came in fourth with $33 million.
Former Beatle John Lennon, who would have turned 70 this year, was ranked No. 5 with an income of $17 million.