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Michael Jackson Once Again the Top Earning Dead Celebrity, Tom Petty Enters the List at 6

by VVN Music

It's become an annual Halloween tradition.  No, not trick-or-treating and, no, not costumes and candy.  It's Forbes' annual list of the top earning dead celebrities.

Michael Jackson once again leads the list but his take has been drastically reduced from 2016 when the majority of his $825 million in earnings was the $750 million his estate made from the sale of the Sony/ATV catalog. This year, his earnings are a "lowly" $75 million.

Elvis Presley remains at number 4, the same position as last year, but his earnings are up from $27 million to $35 million.

Bob Marley moves 6 to 5 2016 on earnings of $23 million vs. $21 million in 2016.

Tom Petty is a brand new entry and is a bit of a mixed bag with some of his $20 million coming from before his death on October 2.

Prince drops 5 to 7 with earnings falling $25 million to $18 million.  If the estate and record companies can settle on the vast amount of unreleased material in the vault and get it to the marketplace, that number could have a big spike in 2018.

At 9 is John Lennon, down from 8.  He made $12 million in both years.

Finally, David Bowie is at 11 with $9.5 million. While he is at the same spot as in 2016, his actual earnings were down $1 million.

The full list:
  1. Michael Jackson ($75 million)
  2. Arnold Palmer ($40 million)
  3. Charles Schulz ($38 million)
  4. Elvis Presley ($35 million)
  5. Bob Marley ($23 million)
  6. Tom Petty ($20 million)
  7. Prince ($18 million)
  8. Dr. Suess ($16 million)
  9. John Lennon ($12 million)
  10. Albert Einstein ($10 million)
  11. David Bowie ($9.5 million)
  12. Elizabeth Taylor ($8 million)
  13. Bettie Page ($7.5 million)


Guillermo said…
Of the list, which includes those that almost made it, but didnt, the only three with a truly demonstrable and sustainable earning power in the United States, and not just a day, a week, a month, a year, a lustrum, or a decade, but at least three decades AFTER passing away are those who are historical figures as well, namely Albert Einstein (6 full decades), Elvis Presley (4 full decades) and John Lennon (3 and 3/4 decades). And, of the three, the only one who was BOTH born and passed away in the United States is Elvis Presley.