Death hasn’t ended Michael Jackson’s commercial success. Jackson again tops our list of the highest-paid dead celebrities list after hauling in $400 million over the past year, mostly from the sale of his EMI Music Publishing stake. Additional cash comes from his Mijac Music catalogue, a new Sony record deal and projects like TV special Michael Jackson’s Halloween, which returned to CBS on October 20 for the second consecutive year.
“You see Charlie Brown Christmas and Charlie Brown Thanksgiving every year, so now we’re looking to have Michael Jackson’s Halloween every year,” says John Branca, the Jackson estate’s co-executor. “We hope that it’ll become evergreen.”
Behind the King of Pop on our list is another music monarch: Elvis Presley, who takes the No. 2 spot with $40 million over the past year; Arnold Palmer rounds out the top three with $35 million. In all, the dead celebs pulled in $628 million, more than double last year’s $312 million tally—thanks entirely to Jackson’s windfall, which gives him $2.4 billion in earnings in the decade since his death.
1. Michael Jackson $400 million
2. Elvis Presley $40 million
3. Arnold Palmer $35 million
4. Charles Schulz ('Peanuts' creator) $34 million.
5. Bob Marley $23 million
6. Dr. Seuss $16 million
7. Hugh Hefner - $15 million
8. Marilyn Monroe - $14 million
9. Prince - $13 million
10. John Lennon - $12 million