So, the Forbes' "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities List" is finally out (I know, thank God, right?), and it appears that Michael Jackson has, through post-mortem grit and determination, won the top spot on the list, earning approximately $170 million in royalties in the past year. This is the second time he's been on the top of the list in the past three years, placing him among the ranks of fellow deceased notables Marilyn Monroe (#3, at $27 million), Elvis Presley (#2, at $55 million), and John Lennon (who's #5 and tied at $12 million with Elizabeth Taylor, which is probably the first time that Liz Taylor has shared anything with John Lennon other than a person who wanted to kill them).
Jackson's #1 spot can be attributed to the increase in album sales and MJ-related memorabilia in the past year, which has steadily climbed since his 2009 death from a drug overdose. The publicity surrounding the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician at the time of his death who's being charged with involuntary manslaughter, probably doesn't hurt either in terms of Jackson's dead earning capacity, as well as the recent Cirque du Soleil show of a tribute tour, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. Nonetheless, the top spot on the Forbes list is a powerful testament to Jackson's legendary status and staying power, so even if he doesn't actually have, you know, the ability to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide, $170 million is nothing to scoff at.