Forbes 2010 Dead Celebs List: Michael Jackson’s Star Not Fading


It may seem a bit ghoulish — maybe it’s timed to Halloween? — but Forbes has just released its annual look at the top-earning dead celebrities.

Over the past year Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Madonna and Jay-Z each each earned more than $50 million, but Michael Jackson earned more than all four—combined. In fact, Jackson not only took the No.1 spot on Forbes‘ 10th annual ranking, with gross earnings of $275 million, he out-earned the other 12 stars on the list combined.

Forbes notes: “Jackson’s spot atop our top earning dead celebrities list should come as no surprise given the renewed fan interest in music, videos and all things Michael Jackson. Thanks to a lucrative catalog, hit film and album sales, the late king of pop earned more in the last year than Lady Gaga, Madonna and Jay-Z, combined.”

Elvis Presley came in second, earning £37 million from admissions to his former Graceland estate, a “heavily hyped” Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and more than 200 licensing deals. The 2010 list:[more]

1. Michael Jackson ($275 million)

2. Elvis Presley ($60 million)

3. J.R.R Tolkein ($50 million)

4. Charles Schulz ($33 million)

5. John Lennon ($17 million)

6. Steig Larsson ($15 million)

7. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) ($11 million)

8. Albert Einstein ($10 million)

9. George Steinbrenner ($8 million)

10. Richard Rodgers ($7 million)

11. (tie) Jimi Hendrix ($6 million)

11. (tie) Steve McQueen ($6 million)

13. Aaron Spelling ($5 million)