Michael Jackson heads a new list of high-earning dead celebrities as his estate amassed $160 million over the last 12 months.

Four years after his death, Jackson is generating more money than any living star, comfortably beating the $125 million that went in the direction of Madonna, the highest-earning living star.

In the latest annual rich list of dead stars compiled by Forbes magazine, second place went to Elvis Presley, who earned $55 million.

The posthumous profitability of the Jackson brand owes much to the success of the tours Immortality and One performed by the Cirque du Soleil acrobatic company.

The Jackson estate also earns profits from his music as well as his half share in the Sony/ATV song catalogue that includes acts such as The Beatles and Lady Gaga.

For the second successive year, Charles Schultz, the cartoonist who created Peanuts, came third, with earnings of $37 million.

Elizabeth Taylor ranked fourth with earnings of $25 million - much of it from a licensed perfume as well as rights from her films and her stock and property investments.

Reggae legend Bob Marley came fifth, and he was followed by Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Bettie Page, Theodor Geisel (AKA Dr Seuss), and Steve McQueen.

In joint 12th position were actor and kung fu star Bruce Lee and Jenni Rivera, the Mexican-American singer who died in a plane crash last December.