Michael Jackson tops Forbes' list of highest-earning dead celebrities for 8th year in a row

Michael Jackson tops Forbes' list of highest-earning dead celebrities for 8th year in a row

- The annual list of the top-earning dead celebrities measured pretax income from October 1, 2019, through October 1, 2020

- Forbes compiled the numbers with the help of data from MRC Data, IMDbPro, NPD BookScan and interviews with industry insiders

- Fees for agents, managers and lawyers were not deducted during the compilation

The late Michael Jackson has once again topped the Forbes' list of highest-earning dead celebrities for the eighth year in a row with $48 million (KSh 5.2 billion) in earnings in 2020.

Michael Jackson tops Forbes' list of highest-earning dead celebrities for 8th year in a row

The late Michael Jackson. Photo: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

The 2019 release of the damning documentary Leaving Neverland seems to have not cost the King of Pop his crown.

The list released by Forbes on Friday, November 13 showed Jackson’s Mijac Music catalogue, which includes tunes by Elvis and Aretha Franklin, and a long-term deal with Sony accounted for more than 70% of his earnings.

Sadly, there were also young newcomers to the list - 21-year-old rapper Juice WRLD and NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.

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Bryant who died nine months ago at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna 'Gigi' and seven others.

He came in at number six after generating $20 million (KSh 2.2 billion) in earnings since his death.

Bryant was reportedly worth $600 million (KSh 65.6 billion) at the time of his death.

Here are Forbes' 13 highest-paid dead celebrities making a killing in the afterlife in 2020.

1: Michael Jackson

The musician who died of homicide on June 25, 2009, aged 50 raked in $48 million in 2020.

2: Dr. Seuss / Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel

The American author succumbed to cancer on September 24, 1991, at the age of 87. He earned $33 million in 2020 after selling nearly 6 million books in the United States this year.

3: Charles Schulz

Schulz was an American cartoonist who died of cancer on February 12, 2000, aged 77. He made $32.5 million.

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The Schulz estate brought in more than $110 million in revenue. Part of that is said to have come from Apple TV+.

4: Arnold Palmer

He was an American professional golfer who died of heart disease on September 25, 2016. He earned $25million.

5: Elvis Presley

Presley was an entertainer who died of a heart attack on August 16, 1977, aged 42. He made $23million in 2020

6: Kobe Bryant

The American basketball player who died on January 26, 2020, aged 41.

7: Juice WRLD

The Rapper died on December 8, 2019, and made $15million in 2020.

8: Bob Marley

Marley succumbed to cancer on May 11, 1981, at the age of 36 but made $14million in 2020.

His music streams soared this year accumulating more than a billion spins globally.

House of Marley, his line of speakers, turntables and headphones, and sales of T-shirts and lighters adorned with his likeness also added more than $3 million to his coffers.

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9: John Lennon

The musician died on December 8, 1980, aged 40 as a result of homicide and made $13million in 2020

10: Prince

Prince died on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57 but made $10million in 2020.

11: Freddie Mercury

Mercury succumbed to AIDS-related illness on November 24, 1991, aged 45. He made $9million

12: George Harrison

The musician succumbed to cancer aged 58 on November 29, 2001. He made $8.5million

13: Marilyn Monroe

The filmstar earned $8million in 2020.

Monroe's image and name are used by nearly 100 brands globally, including Dolce & Gabbana, Zales and even Lego Group.

Source: Yen

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