The late Michael Jackson has once again topped the Forbes’ list of highest-earning dead celebrities for the eighth year in a row with $48 million in earnings in 2020.
The 2019 release of the damning documentary Leaving Neverland seems to have not cost the King of Pop his crown. The list released by Forbes on Friday, November 13 showed Jackson’s Mijac Music catalogue, which includes tunes by Elvis and Aretha Franklin, and a long-term deal with Sony accounted for more than 70% of his earnings.
Sadly, there were also young newcomers to the list – 21-year-old rapper Juice WRLD and NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. Bryant who died nine months ago at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna ‘Gigi’ and seven others. He came in at number six after generating $20 million in earnings since his death. Bryant was reportedly worth $600 million at the time of his death. Here are Forbes’ 13 highest-paid dead celebrities making a killing in the afterlife in 2020.
1: Michael Jackson
The musician who died of overdose and homicide on June 25, 2009, aged 50 raked in $48 million in 2020.
2: Dr. Seuss / Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel
The American author succumbed to cancer on September 24, 1991, at the age of 87. He earned $33 million in 2020 after selling nearly 6 million books in the United States this year.
3: Charles Schulz
Schulz was an American cartoonist who died of cancer on February 12, 2000, aged 77. He made $32.5 million. The Schulz estate brought in more than $110 million in revenue. Part of that is said to have come from Apple TV+.
4: Arnold Palmer
He was an American professional golfer who died of heart disease on September 25, 2016. He earned $25 million.
5: Elvis Presley
Presley was an entertainer who died of a heart attack on August 16, 1977, aged 42. He made $23 million in 2020
6: Kobe Bryant
The American basketball player who died on January 26, 2020, aged 41.
7: Juice WRLD
The Rapper died due to overdose on December 8, 2019, and made $15 million in 2020.
8: Bob Marley
Marley succumbed to cancer on May 11, 1981, at the age of 36 but made $14 million in 2020.
His music streams soared this year accumulating more than a billion spins globally. House of Marley, his line of speakers, turntables and headphones, and sales of T-shirts and lighters adorned with his likeness also added more than $3 million to his coffers.
9: John Lennon
The musician died on December 8, 1980, aged 40 as a result of homicide and made $13 million in 2020
Prince died due to overdose on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57 but made $10 million in 2020.
11: Freddie Mercury
Mercury succumbed to AIDS-related illness on November 24, 1991, aged 45. He made $9 million
12: George Harrison
The musician succumbed to cancer aged 58 on November 29, 2001. He made $8.5 million
13: Marilyn Monroe
The filmstar died of an overdose and earned $8 million in 2020. Monroe’s image and name are used by nearly 100 brands globally, including Dolce & Gabbana, Zales and even Lego Group.