Once again making all other dead people look downright lazy—just lying there breaking down into simpler organic matter, not making a dime—Michael Jackson has topped the list of the year’s highest-earning dead celebrities for the third time since 2009. Forbes (which can explain even death with a ranked list about money) estimates that Jackson earned some $160 million in the past 12 months, bringing in revenue from two Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil shows, sales from his recorded music, and proceeds from his own publishing catalog as well as his half of the Sony catalog that includes artists like The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Taylor Swift—many of whom are still alive and thus real good earners for a dead man. Topping the list was considered a comeback for Jackson, in ways that do not actually involve returning to life: Last year he was knocked out of the top spot by his old friend Elizabeth Taylor, whose death in 2011 gave her a timely, competitive edge.
Having already peaked by dying, no doubt against the urgings of her financial advisors, Taylor dropped to fourth place this year by taking in a mere $25 million, presumably most of that continued proceeds from the poker game she bet on in that White Diamonds commercial. Elvis Presley ($55 million) and Charles Schulz ($37 million) took second and third place, respectively if not respectfully, while Bob Marley landed at fifth place with $18 million—handily beating out Albert Einstein ($10 million), with dorm room posters of Marley obviously outselling that one of Einstein with his tongue out at a ratio of nearly 2:1. You can see the rest of the list of celebrities who had a good year except for the fact that they’re still dead here. [via Reuters]