Michael Jackson is Top-Earning Dead Celebrity

Michael JacksonMichael Jackson a top-earning artist during his lifetime, is an even bigger draw in the afterlife.

According to Forbes magazine‘s annual list of top-earning dead celebrities, the estate of Jackson, for the period of October 2009 to October 2010, earned an estimated $275 million, mostly from a recently approved deal between the pop icon’s estate and Sony music. Just how big Jackson was the past year? Well, big enough for his estate to earn more than the earnings attributed to the other 12 dead celebrities in the list.

In fact, interest in Jackson and his work the past year was so high that his estate raked in more dollars than the combined earnings of U2 and AC/DC–the two biggest living acts during the same period.

Coming in second to Jackson was Elvis Presley, whose estate earned $60 million during the period. The King of Rock n’ Roll’s earnings came mostly from admission fees to Graceland and ticket sales from the Las Vegas show Cirque du Soleil. In third place was “Lord of the Rings” book series author J.R.R. Tolkien, whose estate collected $50 million. “Peanuts” comic character creator Charles Schulz and The Beatles front man John Lennon rounded out the top five with $33 million and $17 million, respectively.