Michael Jackson, The Celebrity
Who Earned $160 Million
Even After Death

Even in death Michael Jackson still remains the reigning King of Pop. No other musician has dazzled the pop industry as much as he has; his album Thriller holds the record for the best-selling album ever released. 

michael jackson graffiti

Over an illustrious career Michael has given us numerous albums, some of which have gone platinum posthumously. As such, it is only natural that the man had money and although he wasn’t a billionaire at the time of his death in 2009, Jackson was worth about $600 million.

Moreover, his portfolio is still expanding and in 2013, he was the highest earning deceased celebrity, having made $160 million in sales. 

Bitter Sweet Start

Jackson was born into a singing family with both his parents having been musically active at some point in their lives. As a matter of fact, Jackson and his brothers formed the Jackson 5 group that gave us such hits as I Want You Back. That notwithstanding, the music came at a high cost in the Jackson house.

Michael’s father was physically and verbally abusive and at times referred to Michael as ‘fat nose’. All the same, although his father’s iron fist left Michael emotionally scarred, it also instilled in him the discipline to become the entertainer that the world loved.

michael jackson, the king of pop in the younger days
Photo by Alan Light / CC BY 2.0

The King of Pop In 1988

Going It Alone

By the early 1970’s, Michael was already grooming himself for a solo career, however, he still performed alongside his brothers. Consequently, he began to release solo albums and in 1982 he gave the world his greatest work ever: Thriller.

From that point on there was no stopping him. The album sold approximately 65 million copies and earned Jackson a Grammy. Moreover, he released even more albums and singles earning himself over 700 awards including 13 Grammys and 31 Guinness World Records.

So, if Michael’s life is anything to go by, then it seems like sometimes you need to step away from the crowd in order to reach your greatest potential.

michael jacksons's star on the hollywood walk of fame

Michael Jackson earned himself over 700 awards including 13 Grammys and 31 Guinness World Records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Money Keeps Coming 

Michael showed the world that he wasn’t just an entertainer, he was a businessman, and his brand was himself. Consequently, Pepsi hired him and his brothers to do their ad in 1983 earning them $5 million.

Moreover, Michael signed a second deal with Pepsi that saw him earn $10 million. Furthermore, other companies such as Sony, L.A. Gear and Suzuki also capitalized on him and hired him for their campaigns.

lisa marie presley, former wife of michael jackson

Michael Jackson was once married to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley from 1994-1996

Dramatics : Changing Skin Color And Child Molestation Charges

Jackson’s stardom placed him squarely in the limelight and he found himself facing numerous unsavoury allegations over the years. Notably, his ever paling skin colour and thinning nose and lips had the world speculating that he was trying to look more Caucasian.

All the same, Michael did suffer from vitiligo, a condition that could have lightened his skin. That said, Jackson had greater things to worry about than the colour of his skin: in 1993, he was accused of sexually abusing a boy aged 13. The case was settled for $22 million out of court.

Unfortunately for Michael, more sexual abuse charges would come his way in 2003 when a documentary that was supposed to boost his public image did the direct opposite. As a result, he was arrested and tried for child molestation but luckily for him he was acquitted.

In spite of the charges and looming financial woes, Jackson continued to record his music and was quoted as saying that he was taking everything in stride.

michael jackson's 3 children

Michael Jackson's 3 children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II

Death of A Great Icon

In 2009, Jackson was planning a major tour dabbed This Is It and things were going well with the shows being sold out. Sadly, on 25th June 2009 Michael Jackson died of a heart attack caused by a prescription drugs overdose. He was 50 years old.

The world mourned and major websites crashed as people sought to find out exactly what had happened. However, on the bright side, although Michael is gone, his music lives on and his estate continues to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Lessons From The Life of Michael Jackson

There is so much that can be said about this iconic man and so many lessons that we can learn from his life. Here are but a few of them:

  • Your beginnings do not necessarily determine your end.
  • Sometimes you need to do it alone to do it best.
  • Keep doing what you love no matter what happens. 

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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