Michael Jackson tops 2019 list of highest-earning dead celebrities

Julia Hunt
Contributor
Michael Jackson on stage (AP photo/Rusty Kennedy)

Michael Jackson has again been named the top-earning dead celebrity.

The late King of Pop was number one on Forbes’ 2019 list after his estate made over £46 million in the last 12 months.

It is the seventh year in a row that Jackson - who died in 2009 aged 50 following an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol - has been number one on the list.

Read more: Judge sides with Jackson estate in Leaving Neverland lawsuit

It comes despite the controversy sparked by this year’s Leaving Neverland documentary, in which two men claim that the star abused them when they were children.

Jackson’s relatives and estate have disputed the allegations, saying the claims are an attempt to cash in on the late singer.

Forbes said Jackson’s streaming “surged” despite the scandal, to “2.1 billion US spins, up from 1.8 billion a year ago”.

“With proceeds flowing from his Mijac Music catalogue, a Las Vegas show and a long-term deal with Sony, he retains his post mortem cash crown for the seventh consecutive year,” said the publication.

Jackson’s fellow music star Elvis Presley was second in the list, which measures pre-tax income from October 1, 2018 to October 1, 2019.

The late singer made over £30 million in the past year.

Cartoonist Charles Schulz was third with £29 million, golfer Arnold Palmer was fourth with £23 million and Bob Marley rounded out the top five after raking in over £15 million.

Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed earlier this year, was in 10th place with over £8 million. Rapper XXXTentacion – who died after being shot in 2018 - was in 11th place after making close to eight million pounds.

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Forbes said XXXTentacion “remains the most-streamed dead celebrity in the US with 5.6 billion spins”.

Other late celebrities on the list were Dr Seuss, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Prince, Whitney Houston and George Harrison.