For the fifth year in a row, Michael Jackson stands atop Forbes magazine’s ranking of the highest-earning dead celebrities — at $75 million! The Gloved One’s lucrative year was boosted by his upcoming Halloween TV special and Scream album, which join his lucrative recording and music publishing assets, as well as the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas fueled by his songs.
- Golfer Arnold Palmer (who died in 2016) comes in second thanks to licensing deals for apparel, sporting goods and the Arnold Palmer beverages.
- Peanuts creator Charles Schulz earns the bronze medal.
Then it’s a series of music legends:
- Elvis Presley ranks fourth — with his revenues leaping from $27 to $35 million thanks to the expansion of his Memphis entertainment complex and the recent opening of the The Guesthouse hotel at Graceland.
- Bob Marley is fifth. His name is attached to audio products and beverages.
- Tom Petty‘s sixth place finish (at $20 million) is due to his lucrative final tour, in which he and his band were pulling in a million dollars a night.
- Prince, number-seven, benefits from rising music sales and the beginning of revenues from tours at his Paisley Park complex just outside Minneapolis.
Talk About It:
- John Lennon ranks ninth.
- Jackson’s income is the same as the very-much-alive Bruce Springsteen, the 17th best-paid living entertainer.
- Expect Frank Zappa to join this list in 2018. His son Ahmet announced plans for a Hologram-based Zappa concert experience.
- David Bowie didn’t make this Top 10: His $9.5 million income places him 11th.
- Arnold Palmer was long considered a savvy businessman — he far outranks dead baseball and football legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Walter Payton and Ted Williams.
- Who else makes this list? Doctor Seuss (number-10) and Elizabeth Taylor (number-12).
- It’s odd to include Petty, since his he earned all that money while he was alive.