Michael Jackson tops Forbes’ highest-paid dead celebrities list


Michael Jackson has been named by Forbes magazine as the top earning dead celebrity of the past year.

Jackson raked an estimated $140 million in the past year for his estate, Forbes said on Wednesday.

It is Jackson’s second straight year atop the list. He regained the title in 2013, a year after being pushed into second place by actress Elizabeth Taylor.

According to Forbes, “Only few celebrities prove the point that there is (financial) life after death better than Michael Jackson”.

Singer Elvis Presley, who died in 1977, came second with $55 million.

Cartoonist Charles Schulz took third place with $40 million, while reggae singer Bob Marley completed the top five with $20 million in earnings. Marley died of cancer at the age of 36 in 1981.

The 13 deceased celebrities included on Forbes list earned a total of $363.5 million. Forbes compiled the list by talking to estate managers, lawyers and licensors and analysing estimated posthumous earnings between October 2013-14, the magazine said.

Jackson was born 29 August 1958, in Gary, Indiana, to an African-American working-class family. At first, the Jackson Family performers consisted of Michael’s older brothers Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie.

Michael joined his siblings when he was five, and emerged as the group’s lead vocalist which evolved into the The Jackson 5.

In August 1994, Jackson announced that he had married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock icon Elvis Presley.

They divorced in 1996. Later that same year, Jackson wed nurse Debbie Rowe. The couple had two children through artificial insemination. Prince Michael Jackson, his won, born in 1997 and daughter, Paris Michael Jackson, was born in 1998.

Rowe and Jackson divorced in 1999 with Jackson receiving full custody of their two children.

Jackson signed a $5 million endorsement deal with Pepsi-Cola. However, he was badly injured while filming a commercial for the soda giant in 1984, suffering burns to his face and scalp. Jackson had surgery to repair his injuries, and is believed to have begun experimenting with plastic surgery on his face, especially his nose. Rumors swirled around him, including that he was lightening the colour of his skin to appear more white and slept in a special chamber to increase his life span.

In addition to his unparalleled achievements, one of his greatest hits ‘Thriller’ earned 12 Grammy Award nominations and won eight of those awards.

On June 25, 2009, Jackson suffered cardiac arrest in his Los Angeles home. He died later that morning. He was 50-years-old at the time of his death.

Check out the top ten of Forbes’ highest-paid dead celebrities.

10. Bettie Page – $11 million
9. Albert Einstein – $11.5 million
8. John Lennon – $12 million
7. Theador Geiel “Dr. Seuss” – $20 million
6. Bob Marley – $21 million
5. Prince – $25 million
4. Elvis Presley – $27 million
3. Arnold Palmer – $40 million
2. Charles Schulz – $48 million
1. Michael Jackson – $825 million

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