Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson)

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

He was called the “King of Pop,” and is best remembered for his revolutionary videos such as “Thriller” (1982), and “Dangerous” (1991), as well as two Guinness World Records: Most successful entertainer of all time (with 13 Grammy Awards, 13 Number One single hits in a solo career, and sales of over 750 million in albums worldwide), and for having the greatest selling album of all time (“Thriller”). He is also remembered for his trademark single sequined white glove, and for The Moonwalk. Born Michael Joseph Jackson in Gary, Indiana, he was the seventh of nine children to Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson and Katherine Esther Scruse Jackson, a working class family living in an industrial suburb of Chicago. His father was a steel mill employee who also played guitar in a Rhythm and Blues band, the Falcons. Jackson showed his musical abilities early, performing in front of his kindergarten classmates at the age of 5, and later joining his four brothers in a singing group, The Jackson Brothers, which was changed to the Jackson 5 when Michael was eight years old. Michael was soon singing lead to the others playing, and in 1968, the group signed with Motown Records, their initial break into the recording industry. Even then, Michael was recognized as a singing prodigy. Their first four records set a Motown record when all four hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. By the early 1970s, the group was considered one of the most successful pop/soul groups in history. In June 1975, the Jackson 5 signed with CBS Records, and Michael also became the principal songwriter of the group. In 1978, he attempted to break into film, playing the Scarecrow in “The Wiz” but had better luck with his music videos, to which he changed from just a video recording of his singing to a short musical story of intense drama. His revolutionary remake of the video medium would change forever the video industry. In 1979, Michael broke away from his brothers to go solo, since he had become more popular than any of his brothers. During the 1980s, his record sales consistently hit number one in the charts, to be topped by his best selling album of all time, Thriller (1982). During this period, Jackson would claim to be suffering from both lupus and vitiligo. In a 1988 autobiography, “Moon Walk,” Jackson would speak of facing his father’s abuse during his childhood, his many periods of weight loss and weight gain, and the changes to his face (many doctors believe that he has undergone as many as a dozen facial cosmetic surgeries). In 1993, he would state in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he suffered from vitiligo, a rare disease that depigments the skin, turning it white. In the 1990s, as Jackson’s fame grew, he become more introverted, building his Neverland Ranch retreat as a refuge from his fans and detractors alike. Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993, but settled out of court, paying his accuser 22 million dollars to end the stress of the pending court trial; this led many to believe he was hiding a tendency toward pedophilia, which lost him many fans. Ever the businessman, even his marriages were crafted to improve his image. He was married twice, first to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Rock King Elvis Presley, on May 26, 1994, but the marriage ended in divorce in January 1996. He then married Debbie Rowe on November 15, 1996, with whom he had two children, a daughter Paris Michael Katherine, and a son, Michael Jr, nicknamed “Prince.” This marriage also ended in divorce in October 1999. During this period, Jackson became addicted to painkillers, and was able to break the habit with the help of his singer friend, Elton John. In 1997, Jackson would dedicate his album, HIStory, to Elton John; it would sell over 6 million copies worldwide. Jackson would have a third child in 2002, a son, Prince Michael Jackson II, and nicknamed “Blanket.” To date, the name of the mother has not been revealed; she apparently gave up custody of the child to Jackson. In 2003, Jackson was again accused of child molestation, but was found “not guilty” during a media circus trial that ended in June 2005, due to lack of evidence. Many court watchers believe that he was a victim of being a rich celebrity target for blackmailers, hoping to score a quick multi-million dollar settlement from him. During his lifetime, Jackson has been very active in a number of charities, and has donated upwards of $300 million to various charities; he is considered one of the top celebrity donators. For much of his 50 years of life, Jackson, a sensitive man, was subjected to severe stress, beginning with what he considered his father’s mental abuse, his early fame and continuous success in the music world, his loss of several fortunes over the course of his life, followed by the hard work to set up a tour to recoup his losses, his unsuccessful marriages, the continual hounding of the tabloid press, hurtful jokes of late night television hosts, his addiction to pain killers, and rapid weight gain and weight loss; all have taken their toll on his fragile body. About noon on June 25, 2009, Jackson was found unconscious at his home and although EMTs immediately responded, he was pronounced dead at the hospital, believed at the time to be from a fatal heart attack. On July 7, 2009, the Jackson family held a private service for him at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, followed by a memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1997 as a member of the Jackson 5, and in 2001, as a solo artist. In 2002, he was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. He has also received numerous awards for his contributions to the world of pop music, and for his numerous best selling albums. On August 28, 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner officially ruled the cause of death as a homicide, caused by acute intoxication from the drug Propofol and other conditions. In November 2011, Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, and was sentenced to four years imprisonment plus restitution to the Jackson estate.

More Images

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  • Janet Jackson, Randy Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Marlon Jackson attend Michael Jackson's funeral service held at Glendale Forest Lawn Memorial Park  in Glendale - (L-R) Janet Jackson, Randy Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Marlon Jackson attend Michael Jackson's funeral service held at Glendale Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California September 3, 2009. Jackson, 50, the king of pop, died at UCLA Medical Center after going into cardiac arrest at his rented home on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.   REUTERS/Harrison Funk/The Jackson Family/Handout (UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT OBITUARY IMAGES OF THE DAY) NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

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  • August, 29, 1958
  • Gary, Indiana


  • June, 25, 2009
  • Holmby Hills, California,

Cause of Death

  • cause of death as a homicide, caused by acute intoxication from the drug Propofol and other conditions


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park
  • Glendale, California

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