Elizabeth Taylor surpassed Michael Jackson as the highest-earning dead celebrity in the past year, with her estate pulling in US$210 million (NZ$256 million), much of it from the auction of her jewels, costumes and artwork, Forbes said on Wednesday.
Jackson, who died in 2009, dropped into second place with earnings of US$145 million, followed by Elvis Presley with US$55 million.
In addition to the Taylor auction, which totalled US$184 million, the actress, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 79, also earned US$75 million from sales of her top selling perfume White Diamonds.
"The rest of the money came from property sales and residuals from Taylor's movies," according to Forbes. "After Cleopatra, the star smartly negotiated a 10 percent ownership in each of her films."
Although Taylor bumped Jackson from the top spot, Forbes said the pop star is likely to regain it next year due to steady revenues from music sales and other ventures.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz, who created the Peanuts comic strip, came in at No. 4 with earnings of US$37 million, followed by reggae star Bob Marley with US$17 million.
Forbes compiled the ranking by analyzing the dead celebrities' earnings between October 2011-2012.
"We count money coming into the estate and we don't deduct for how the estate handles it," Forbes said.
Films stars and musicians dominated the list but Nobel-prize winning physicist Albert Einstein tied with Marilyn Monroe for seventh place, with each earning US$10 million.
The 13 dead celebrities on the list earned a total of US$532.5 million.
The full list can be found here.