Michael Jackson Leads Forbes’ ‘Top-Earning Dead Celebrities’ List

Still from Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Michael Jackson continues to rake-in mega-bucks from the grave.

The late “King of Pop” earned $160 million over the past year, placing him as the top earner on Forbes’ “Top-Earning Dead Celebrities” list.

Remarkably, that sum is larger than any pulled-down by any living celebrity. Madonna was recently named the No. 1 earner on Forbes’ “Celebrity 100” list, pulling in roughly $125 million between June 2012 and June 2013.

According to Forbes’ estimates, the bulk of Jackson’s money from the October 2012-October 2013 period comes from two Cirque du Soleil shows, including the touring “Immortal” show which has grossed more $300 million since it opened for business last year. Jackson also earns from his music and his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog.

In a distant second place on the “Dead Celebrities” list is “The King of Rock 'n Roll” -- Elvis Presley -- who posthumously generated a fortune of some $55 million over the year.

This is the third time Jackson has topped the list, and he reclaims his crown from last year’s No. 1, Elizabeth Taylor.

Jackson died June 25, 2009 just weeks out from his comeback “This Is It” residency was due to start at London’s O2 Arena. His death was the subject of a high-profile wrongful death lawsuit, which the artist’s mother Katherine launched against AEG Live. The jury sided with the giant concert promoter.