Michael Jackson tops list of highest-earning dead celebrities

The singer raked in more than Madonna, who topped the equivalent list for celebrities who are still alive

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The Independent Culture

Michael Jackson has topped this year's Forbes list of the top earning dead celebrities, raking in $160m (£98.8m) between June 2012 and June 2013.

The singer, who died in 2009, amassed $35m (£21.6m) more than Madonna did over the same period.

Click here or on 'view gallery' to see the top ten highest-earning dead celebrities

Madonna headed the Forbes list of top earning living celebrities following a sell-out worldwide tour.

Jackson, who has topped this list three times in the past five years, earns money from two Cirque du Soleil shows. The touring production Immortal has grossed £185m since opening last year. His half of the Sony/ATV catalogue includes hits by The Beatles, as well as some of today's most popular artists, including Eminem, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Last year, the top earning dead celebrity was Elizabeth Taylor. She took an astonishing $210m in 2012 thanks to high profile auctions of her jewellery and other belongings.

This year, however, she drops to fourth with $25m (£15.4m), a sum largely comprised of earnings from her White Diamonds perfume.

According to Forbes, sixth-placed Marilyn Monroe and eighth-placed Albert Einstein could well move up the rankings in the years to come. Monroe's brand is being marketed more aggressively, and the actress recently became the face of Chanel No. 5. Einstein's estate recently licensed his name to an expensive Montblanc pen, and there could be more marketing opportunities to come.