Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 8:42 AM

‘Michael Jackson Is Worth More Dead than Alive.’ Duh.

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Michael Jackson is reportedly earning more in death than he did when he was alive. …

On Wednesday – what would have been the King of Pop’s 60th birthday – it was revealed that gross earnings since his death are thought to exceed $900 million. …

But just months before his death, Jackson had said he and his three children – Paris, 20, Prince, 21, and Blanket, 16 – were like ‘vagabonds’ because he had debts of $500 million.

(The Daily Mail, August 29, 2018)

I hasten to clarify that the “Duh” in my title is not intended to convey any disrespect. Instead, it merely reflects the macabre reality I posited years ago in “Michael Jackson Is Worth More Dead than Alive,” October 28, 2018.

This seems an occasion to reprise that commentary … in full.


I took a lot of flak for asserting that Michael Jackson’s death was in fact timely. But here, in part, is how I justified my assertion:

[T]he pathological self-loathing, predatory entitlement, and attention-grabbing antics that characterized his personal life were beginning to fatally undermine the appeal of his professional life. This is why, in an admittedly perverse sense, his death was timely. Not to mention how it plays into the legend of “only the good die young” (a la Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, et al) with which Michael was reportedly so fascinated. …

[I]n the fantasy world he cultivated for himself, it was perfectly reasonable for Michael to go on million-dollar shopping sprees despite being effectively bankrupt; to undergo numerous plastic surgeries to change his Negroid features then insist that he looked white naturally; and to act as if sleeping with little boys is the most innocent and loving thing any man could do.

(“Michael Jackson, the king of Pop, is dead,” The iPINIONS Journal, June 27, 2009)

Michael was more than $500 million in debt at the time of his death. In fact, he seemed headed for bankruptcy. For no amount of revenues from concerts and record sales would have been sufficient to pay off his debts while keeping him in the expensive fantasy lifestyle to which he had become so blithely accustomed. And this was especially so given informed predictions that he would not have been able to complete all of the “This Is It” performances that were supposed to earn him a little reprieve.

Here, for instance, is the cynical note I sounded in the above-referenced commentary in this latter respect:

Reports abound that Michael fed his spendthrift habit in recent years by contracting to perform, collecting hefty advances, and then resorting to all kinds of ploys (often involving hospital visits) to avoid getting on stage. Indeed, despite reports of him rehearsing for his big comeback series of concerts, I am convinced that, having collected a hefty percentage of the advance ticket sales, he had no intention of actually performing.

This, alas, is the road to financial ruin that Michael was on when he died. Then, of course, there’s the laughing stock he was becoming for using cosmetic surgery to turn himself into a (living) Madame Tussauds wax work.

Therefore, when one juxtaposes these grave facts with the fact that his estate has generated over $275 million since his death, there can be no denying the timeliness of his death. More to the point, though, nothing confirms that Michael is worth more dead than alive quite like the following:

Thanks to a lucrative catalogue, hit film and album sales, the late king of pop earned more in the last year than Lady Gaga, Madonna and Jay-Z, combined.

(Forbes, October 25, 2010)

In fact, his earnings were over four times more than that of the second person on the Forbes list of top-earning dead celebrities, Elvis Presley, whose estate raked in a relatively paltry $60 million during this same period of time.

So, “gone too soon”? I don’t think so.

I just wonder how “his” three kids will reconcile knowing that it took their father’s early death to ensure they would be able to continue living the fantasy lifestyle to which they too have become accustomed.


Well, all indications are that those kids are having no difficulty reconciling his death with their trust-fund lifestyles.


Related commentaries:
MJ mystery
MJ…is dead
This Is It
MJ worth more dead

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