Michael Jackson's family may have lost their $1 billion lawsuit against AEG Live, but the dead pop star is still the highest earning deceased person in the world, according to yet another list from Forbes. Jackson was cremated so there'll be no chance of a Thriller-style resurrection where he returns to spend his riches but from his grave he earned a mighty $160 million (£99 million) over the past 12 months.

Michael Jackson Toy Store
Though Dead, Michael Jackson Is Exceedingly Rich.

Amazingly, and four years after his death, Jackson is also earning more than any living star, surpassing the top living earner Madonna's yearly earnings by a tidy $35 million. Second place by a long way on Forbes' list was Elvis Presley whose post-mortem earnings total $55 million.

However, Jackson's whopping earnings were surpassed last year by former actress Dame Elizabeth Taylor, who died in 2011 and who earned $210 million in the previous year due to auction sales of her art, jewellery and clothing. She now sits comfortably in fourth.

Michael Jackson This Is It
Most Of Jackson's Earnings Came From The Successful Cirque Du Soleil Shows.

Jackson died in 2009 as the result of a lethal overdose of anaesthetic drugs to help him sleep with Dr. Conrad Murray charged with involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in jail, with his release next Monday. Dissatisfied with the court's verdict, Jackson's family, led by his mother Katherine, launched a lawsuit against the promoters of his scheduled comeback residency in London, claiming that the company had been negligent in hiring an unsuitable doctor. The case was dismissed this month.

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Most of Jackson's current fortune comes from the Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show, Immortal, which has toured extensively and has grossed $300 million since it opened last year. A further how at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay, One, is routinely sold out and features a Jackson hologram who performs 'Man In The Mirror' at the end of each show.

Michael Jackson This Is It London
There's Probably No Banks In The Afterlife.

Additionally, earnings come from royalties owing to Jackson's extensive back-catalogue and his half of Sony, which includes hits by The Beatles, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Meanwhile, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz ranks third for the second year in a row with $37 million. The classic cartoon may be associated with vintage comics but Peanuts is still big, with a movie in the works.