Two years after he died of a drug overdose at the age of 50, Michael Jackson still has the power to earn big bucks. Forbes unveiled its annual "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities" list on Tuesday, October 25, and for the second year in a row, the late King of Pop came out as the leader of the pack.
The "Thriller" hitmaker's estate was estimated to have earned $170 million from sales of his music and his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog in the past 12 months. While it was far from the $275 million he earned in the previous year, his posthumous income this year still places him as the second highest-earning pop act over the past year, dead or alive, after U2.
Ranking second on the list was Elvis Presley. The King of Rock 'n' Roll brought in $55 million over the last year. Viva Elvis, the Cirque Du Soleil show highlighting his music, helped the "Heartbreak Hotel" hitmaker retain his spot from the previous year. Meanwhile, Marilyn Monroe came in third with $27 million.
Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away in March, also made the cut. Making her first appearance on Forbes' annual postmortem power list with $12 million, the legendary actress was in tie with former The Beatles member John Lennon on the number 5 spot. Others who round out the top 10 included guitarist Jimi Hendrix and novelist Stieg Larsson.
The Top 10 of Forbes' 2011 Top-Earning Dead Celebrity:
1. Michael Jackson - $170 million
2. Elvis Presley - $55 million
3. Marilyn Monroe - $27 million
4. Charles Schulz ("Peanuts" cartoonist) - $25 million
5. Elizabeth Taylor - $12 million
5. John Lennon - $12 million
7. Albert Einstein - $10 million
8. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) - $9 million
9. Jimi Hendrix - $7 million
10. Stieg Larsson (author) - $7 million