Michael Jackson Tops Forbes’ Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities Of 2020

Julia Banim

| Last updated 

Michael Jackson Tops Forbes' Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities Of 2020PA Images

Michael Jackson has topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, moonwalking ahead of deceased celebs such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

Jackson, often referred to as the ‘King of Pop’, died at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009. At the time of his death, he had sold over 750 million albums, and was among the most recognisable megastars on the planet.

His enormous wealth has continued to build even after his death, with Jackson raking in a staggering $48 million this year. Not Bad at all…

Michael JacksonJulia Banim

As Forbes reports:

The 2019 release of the damning documentary Leaving Neverland didn’t cost the King of Pop his crown. Jackson’s Mijac Music catalog, which includes tunes by Elvis and Aretha Franklin, and a long-term deal with Sony, account for more than 70% of his earnings.

Taking second place on the list is Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who died September 24, 1991, at the age of 87.

Extraordinarily, the estate of Dr. Seuss almost doubled its income in 2020, earning an estimated $33 million. The beloved children’s book author has sold six million books in the US this year alone, and this is before you even get to the lucrative film and streaming deals.

Cartoonist and Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz came in at third place, thanks to Peanuts signing a deal with Apple TV+ ($32.5 million), while legendary professional golfer Arnold Palmer came in fourth ($25 million).

Michael JacksonPA

According to Forbes, this annual list measures pre-tax income from October 1, 2019, through to October 1, 2020.

Numbers are then compiled with the help of data from MRC Data, IMDbPro, NPD BookScan as well as from interviews with industry insiders. Fees for agents, lawyers and managers are reportedly not deducted.

Jackson also topped this list in 2019, raking in $60 million and sitting just ahead of Elvis Presley ($39 million) and Charles M. Schulz ($38 million).

Forbes reported at the time:

The King of Pop’s streaming surged despite recent controversy: 2.1 billion U.S. spins, up from 1.8 billion a year ago. With proceeds flowing from his Mijac Music catalog, a Las Vegas show and a long-term deal with Sony, he retains his postmortem cash crown for the seventh consecutive year.

Sadly, this latest rich list included various beloved celebrities who’ve recently died at a young age, including the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant ($20 million), and rapper Jarad Higgins, aka Juice WRLD, ($15 million).

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Celebrity, 2020, Forbes, Michael Jackson


  1. Forbes

    The Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities Of 2020

Julia Banim
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You


Mysterious black hole has been found pointing directly at Earth blasting light at us

9 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Fleetwood Mac vocalist Christine McVie has died aged 79

10 hours ago