Michael Jackson is highest-paid dead celebrity with $548m

NEW YORK • Nine years after his death, Michael Jackson continues to top the Forbes' annual list of the highest-paid dead celebrities.

The King of Pop raked in US$400 million (S$548 million) over the past year, mostly from the sale of his EMI Music Publishing stake.

According to Forbes, his additional income came from his Mijac Music catalogue, a new Sony record deal and projects like TV special Michael Jackson's Halloween.

Jackson earned 10 times more than the other "King", Elvis Presley, who is in second place and earned US$40 million.

Presley sells more than one million albums every year, but the bulk of the income comes from tickets to Graceland and a new US$45-million entertainment complex called Elvis Presley's Memphis, according to Forbes.

Late golfer Arnold Palmer claimed the third spot with US$35 million, mostly from endorsements and licensing of his signature Arnold Palmer drinks, leisure-wear label and golf course designs. Forbes reports that there is a new addition to the Arnold Palmer beverage line.

In fourth position is cartoonist and Peanuts creator Charles Schulz with US$34 million, while singer-songwriter Bob Marley is in fifth spot with US$23 million.

Author Theodor "Dr Seuss" Geisel is in sixth place with US$16 million, selling 4.8 million books last year. He is famous for writing and illustrating children's books such as The Cat In The Hat and How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

In seventh position is Playboy founder Hugh Hefner with US$15 million. Forbes said his heirs sold the remaining portion of his estate for an estimated US$35 million last year, getting more than a third up front.

In eighth place is actress Marilyn Monroe with US$14 million. She is back on the list this year due to new licensing deals, including Montblanc pens, according to Forbes.

Musician Prince is ninth place with US$13 million, having sold a quarter-million physical albums in the past one year.

Singer John Lennon is 10th with US$12 million, selling almost 2 million albums per year.

Rapper XXXTentacion, who was killed in June this year, is in 11th place with US$11 million, while boxer Muhammad Ali comes in 12th with US$8 million.

Model Bettie Page rounds up the list with US$7 million.

Forbes' estimates were based on pretax earnings from Oct 1 last year to Oct 1 this year, before deducting fees for agents, managers, lawyers and estate executors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2018, with the headline 'Michael Jackson is highest-paid dead celebrity with $548m'. Print Edition | Subscribe