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Michael Jackson beats Prince, Bowie as top-earning dead celebrity

Michael Jackson has beaten singers like Prince and David Bowie in annual list of top-earning dead celebrities.

music Updated: Oct 13, 2016 15:22 IST
Michael Jackson,Prince,David Bowie
Michael Jackson died of drug overuse at his home in Los Angeles in 2009. (AP)

Michael Jackson topped an annual list of the top-earning dead celebrities on Wednesday for the fourth straight year, far outstripping fellow musical icons Prince and David Bowie who passed away earlier this year.

Jackson, who died in 2009, raked in a bumper $825 million in earnings for the 12 months ending October 1, according to estimates from Forbes. That came mostly from the Jackson estate’s $750 million sale of the late singer’s remaining stake in the Sony/ATV music publishing catalog -- which includes the rights to many Beatles songs -- to Sony Corp.

Sales of Prince albums soared after the musician died of an accidental drug overdose in April. Forbes ranked him in fifth place overall with estimated earnings of $25 million, just below Elvis Presley with $27 million.

(File) David Bowie died of cancer on January 10, 2016. He was 69 and had just released a new album. (AP)

Bowie, whose surprise death of cancer in January came days after a new album release, outsold both Presley and Jackson in albums and singles in 2016, but the British singer’s overall estimated earnings were a comparatively small $10.5 million, Forbes said.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer, who died in September at age 87, claimed the No. 3 spot with earnings of $40 million, mostly from licensing and endorsements of his signature Arnold Palmer iced tea and lemonade drink, leisure wear label, and golf course designs.

Prince was found dead at 57 in an elevator inside his Paisley Park home in April. (Reuters)

Forbes’ estimates were based on pretax income, before management and legal expenses, and were compiled through interviews with estate experts and data on record sales, touring, and movie earnings.

First Published: Oct 13, 2016 15:21 IST