Wealthy from beyond the grave

MICHAEL Jackson is the highest earning dead celebrity of the past year.

The 'Thriller' singer - who died in June 2009 from an acute overdose of the anaesthetic Propofol - has earned $275 million since his death, putting him at the top of Forbes list of the Top Earning Dead Celebrities.

Michael's earnings were more than the other 12 people on the list combined, including Elvis Presley and John Lennon, thanks to the "shrewd negotiations" of his estate.

Forbes said: "Jackson's posthumous earnings have been bolstered by shrewd negotiations by his estate, including a merchandising deal and the rights to his name and likeness for the Sony film 'This Is It', which grossed over a quarter of a billion dollars."

'Hound Dog' singer Elvis came second in the list with earnings of $60 million, while 'Lord of the Rings' writer J. R. R Tolkien was third with $50 million.

Discussing Elvis - who died in 1977 - Forbes said: "His portfolio of more than 200 licensing and merchandise deals got a nice boost from the late star's 75th birthday celebrations. Commemorative events included Graceland exhibits, touring tribute concerts and an Elvis-themed cruise to the Bahamas."

Other deceased stars in the list of 13 include 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' author Stieg Larsson and scientist Albert Einstein.

Full list of Forbes Top Earning Dead Celebrities:

1. Michael Jackson - $275 million
2. Elvis Presley - $60 million
3. J. R. R. Tolkein - $50 million
4. Charles Schulz - $33 million
5. John Lennon - $17 million
6. Stieg Larsson - $15 million
7. Dr. Seuss - $11 million
8. Albert Einstein - $10 million
9. George Steinbrenner - $8 million
10. Richard Rogers - $7 million
11. Jimi Hendrix and Steve McQueen - $6 million each
12. Aaron Spelling - $5 million

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