Michael Jackson top earner among dead celebrities

2010-10-26 09:38

Michael Jackson always struggled to pay his bills. Yet 16 months after his death at age 50, the King of Pop tops the list of top-earning dead celebrities, Forbes business magazine said yesterday.

His estate took in $275 million (about R1.9 billion) from October last year to October this year, mostly from his music catalogue; the film This is It, based on filming of his rehearsal sessions for the concert series he never held; and sales of his own CDs.

Elvis Presley’s estate took second place, with $60 million from the tourist mecca Graceland, a show in Las Vegas and marketing of his music.

JRR Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, is not far behind with $50 million.

Next came Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts cartoons, and Beatle John Lennon followed by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, with $18 million earned from his triumphal posthumous Millennium trilogy. His detective suspense fiction about a Swedish alternative journalist and a computer hacker – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the first book – have become world bestsellers.

To earn a place on the list, a celebrity must have posthumous earnings of at least $5 million in the time period.

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