Elizabeth Taylor Eclipses Michael Jackson as Top-Earning Dead Celebrity

Elizabeth Taylor Beach - H 2011
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor Beach - H 2011

The late actress earned a jaw-dropping $210 million last year, besting her pop star friend, due in large part to her record-breaking Christie's auctions.

Even in death, Elizabeth Taylor continues to rake in the dough.

The iconic actress, who died in 2011 at 79 years old, tops Forbes' list of highest-earning dead celebrities by earning $210 million in the last year. Taylor out-earned her friend, the late pop superstar Michael Jackson, who raked in more than any living artist in the past 12 months with $145 million.

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A majority of Taylor's $210 million came from a record-breaking Christie's auction earlier this year, featuring the glamour girl's jewelry, costumes and art work, bringing in $184 million. After that, her White Diamonds perfume sold $75 million in retail in 2011. The remainder of Taylor's earnings came from property sales and residuals from her films (the actress negotiated a 10 percent ownership stake in each of her films after Cleopatra).

Forbes notes that the film residuals will be enough to keep Taylor on their list for years to come, but without the auction money, she will be hard-pressed to top the King of Pop again. She will, however, be seen on the small screen next month when Lifetime's telepic Liz & Dick airs, with Lindsay Lohan playing Taylor and Grant Bowler as Richard Burton.

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Elvis Presley ranks as No. 3 with $55 million in earnings last year -- the same amount as 2011. Peanuts creator Charles Shulz earned $37 million and Bob Marley $17 million.

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