These late stars are making bank beyond the grave.
Forbes released its 2019 list of the Top-Earning Dead Celebrities on Wednesday, the day before Halloween. And Michael Jackson remains the King of Pop even in death, topping the list for the seventh consecutive year with $60 million in earnings in pretax income from Oct. 1, 2018 through the same date this year.
And that’s despite the resurfaced sexual abuse allegations after HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” aired last spring. The documentary tells the story of two men who allege the “Thriller” legend molested them as boys, and led to another public outcry against the 13-time Grammy winner. Jackson was acquitted on all charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy in 2005, and repeatedly denied any claims that he hurt or molested children before his death in 2009 at age 50.
Forbes notes that Jackson’s streams actually surged despite the controversy, rising from 1.8 billion plays a year ago to 2.1 billion this year. It also counted the proceeds from his music catalog, a Las Vegas show and a $250 million deal with Sony SNE, +3.39% (giving the company the rights to distribute Jackson’s recordings, per a Wall Street Journal report) for keeping his postmortem cash flow going strong.
The King of Pop was followed by the King of Rock, with Elvis Presley snagging the second-place spot with $39 million, in part thanks to the 500,000-plus visitors to his recently expanded Graceland home. The singer, who died in 1977, has also got a Warner Bros. T, +0.80% biopic being directed by Baz Luhrmann on deck, with Tom Hanks playing his manager.
Musicians make up nine of the 13 spots on this postmortem list, including Bob Marley ($20 million), Beatles John Lennon ($14 million) and George Harrison ($9 million), Prince ($12 million) and Whitney Houston ($9.5 million). The musicians on the list generated a combined 15.2 billion streams in the U.S. over the past year, which was up 38.5% from the 12 months before.
But “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz takes third place, still drawing $38 million as his beloved Snoopy and Charlie Brown characters celebrate the franchise’s 70th anniversary this year. The “Peanuts” licensing deal with Met Life MET, -1.54%, which expires this year, also adds “double-digit millions” to his estate, the report says.
Check out the top 10 earnings for deceased artists below, or read the complete list on Forbes.