Jackson fails to reach top spot in earnings chart

Despite raking in millions of dollars through the sale of rights to footage of his final rehearsals, Michael Jackson is not the top-earning dead celebrity, a new survey has found.

Forbes magazine puts the former King of Pop in third place behind Yves Saint Laurent and composing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The fashion designer earned 350 million dollars (£214m) over the past year, dwarfing the $90m (£55m) taken in by the Jackson estate.

Laurent, who died of brain cancer in 2008, appears at the top of the index largely due to an auction of artwork including paintings by Mondrian and Matisse that he once owned.

The bulk of Jackson's posthumous cash came through selling the rights to This Is It, a film based on rehearsal footage for what would have been his comeback concerts in London.

Forbes estimates that this income was bumped up by the sale of around 9 million albums and 5.5 millions digital downloads since his death in June.

Elvis Presley came in fourth in the list, making $55m (£34m) over the last 12 months.

An agreement earlier this year over allegedly unpaid royalties from the Lord of the Rings movies saw JRR Tolkien earn $50m (£31m) last year, placing him fifth, according to Forbes.

The British author died in 1973 aged 81.

John Lennon, who was shot dead in New York in 1980, came in seventh with $15m (£9m) earned.