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He has been gone for four years now, but the late King of Pop Michael Jackson still managed to reign over even living celebrities as Forbes' top-earner for 2013. His $160 million in earnings easily surpassed Celebrity 100 list No. 1 Madonna's $125 million payday. Jackson, who died in 2009 at the age of 50 from a doctor-administered drug overdose, regained the top spot from good friend Elizabeth Taylor, who dropped to No. 4 this year with $25 million.
Taking into account earnings made between from October 2012 to October 2013, Jackson's remarkable total came from two Cirque du Soleil shows, "Immortal", which since from its opening has grossed $300 million and the routinely sold-out "One". He also still earns from his extensive music catalogue.
Trailing Jackson at the runner-up position is fellow music icon and another king, that is, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, who earned an estimated $55 million, most of it coming from his estate and his famous home in Graceland. A notch below him is Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, who kept his third place ranking for a second straight year with $37 million, while a third music artist, reggae singer Bob Marley, completed the top 5 posthumously earning celebrities, taking fifth place with $18 million.
Actors/actresses and singers dominate the rest of the top ten, with Marilyn Monroe at No. 6 with $15 million, John Lennon at No. 7 with $12 million, Bettie Page at No. 8 with $10 million, Steve McQueen at No. 9 with $9 million, and Bruce Lee tied at No. 10 with Jenni Rivera with $7 million in earnings. Scientist Albert Einstein shares the 8th spot with Page while "Dr. Seuss" book author Theodor Geisel joining McQueen at No. 9.