Michael Jackson is Still the Top-Earning Dead Celebrity

Forbes.com released its annual list of the 13 Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. Why 13? Because it’s Halloween, and that’s the SCARY number. Right?

Anyway, MICHAEL JACKSON is #1 again this year. Since his death in 2009, he’s topped the list in six of the eight years.

Here’s this year’s oh-so-spooky top 13 . . . along with their estimated earnings over the past 12 months.

1. Michael Jackson, $825 million. Dead since 2009.

2. “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, $48 million. Dead since 2000.

3. Arnold Palmer, $40 million. Dead since . . . three weeks ago. Obviously, he made almost all of this money while he was still alive. And apparently, that’s cool.

4. Elvis Presley, $27 million. Dead since 1977.

5. Prince, $25 million. Dead since April of this year.

6. Bob Marley, $21 million. Dead since 1981.

7. Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, $20 million. Dead since 1991.

8. John Lennon, $12 million. Dead since 1980.

9. Albert Einstein, $11.5 million. Dead since 1955.

10. Bettie Page, $11 million. Dead since 2008.

11. David Bowie, $10.5 million. Dead since this past January.

12. Steve McQueen, $9 million. Dead since 1980.

13. Elizabeth Taylor, $8 million. Dead since 2011.

The celebrities that just missed the Top 13 are: Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Maya Angelou, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Jose Fernandez, and Juan Gabriel.

The $825 million that Michael got was largely from the sale of his remaining half of the ATV publishing catalog, which included a library of BEATLES songs. “Forbes” says that’s the biggest one-year haul for ANY celebrity . . . dead or alive.

Michael paid $47.5 million for the whole catalog back in 1985. That’s about $140 million in today’s dollars. A lot of critics thought he overpaid for it, and that it was a TERRIBLE investment. But in the mid-’90s, Sony paid him $115 MILLION for HALF of it, and earlier this year, the other half sold for $750 MILLION.