Michael Jackson Tops Highest-Earning Dead Celebrities List

FILE - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, US singer Michael Jackson speaks at a press conference at the London O2 Arena. A Los Angeles judge ruled on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, that choreographer Wade Robson waited too long to file a claim alleging that Jackson abused him and the allegations should be dismissed. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)


(ABC News) — The King of Pop is still the king of the hill in terms of earning power, even years after his 2009 death.

According to Forbes — by leaps and bounds — Jackson is the highest-earning dead celebrity, with a 2016 take of $825 million.

Jackson’s closest competition wasn’t even in the same ballpark: Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, who earned $48 million — despite being dead since 2000.

Jackson’s estate owes much of the windfall to his investment in the Beatles’ music catalog — which, the magazine points out, was once considered a poor investment at $47.5 million back in 1985, or $140 million in 2016 dollars.

In 1995, Jackson earned $115 million from Sony for half of the Fab Four’s catalog that he owned in a 50/50 partnership deal. In March of 2016, Jackson’s estate sold his remaining half to the company.

Highest Paid Dead Celebrities of 2016, according to Forbes:

1. Michael Jackson (d. 2009) — $825 million
2. Charles Schulz (d. 2000) — $48 million
3. Arnold Palmer (d. 2016) — $40 million
4. Elvis Presley (d. 1977) — $27 million
5. Prince (d. 2016) — $25 million
6. Bob Marley (d. 1981) — $21 million
7. Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel (d. 1991) — $20 million
8. John Lennon (d. 1980) — $12 million
9. Albert Einstein (d. 1955) — $11.5 million
10. Bettie Page (d. 2008) — $11 million
11. David Bowie (d. 2016) — $10.5 million
12. Steve McQueen (d. 1980) — $9 million
13. Elizabeth Taylor (d. 2011) — $8 million

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