Jackson, Michael 1958-

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JACKSON, Michael 1958-

(Michael Joseph Jackson)

PERSONAL: Born August 29, 1958, in Gary, IN; son of Joseph Walter (a musician, construction worker, and talent manager) and Katherine Esther (Scruse) Jackson; brother of Maureen Reillette "Rebbie" (a singer), Sigmund Esco "Jackie" (a singer), Toriano Adaryll "Tito" (a singer), Jermaine Lajaune (a singer), LaToya Yvonne (a singer and writer), Marlon David (a singer), Stephen Randall "Randy" (a singer), and Janet Damita Jo (a singer and actress); married Lisa Marie Presley, May 18, 1994 (divorced January 18, 1996); married Debbie Rowe (a dermatologist's assistant), November 15 (some sources say November 14), 1996 (divorced October 8, 1999); children: (second marriage) Prince Michael Jr., Paris Michael Katherine; (with surrogate mother) Prince Michael II.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Sony/Epic Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211.

CAREER: Singer, songwriter, actor, producer, director, choreographer, and dancer. Singer on albums with the Jackson Five, including Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five, Motown, 1969; ABC, Motown, 1970; Jackson Five Christmas Album, Motown, 1970; Third Album, Motown, 1970; Goin' Back to Indiana, Motown, 1971; Greatest Hits, Motown, 1971; Maybe Tomorrow, Motown, 1971; Looking through the Windows, Motown, 1972; Farewell My Summer, 1973; Get It Together, Motown, 1973; Skywriter, Motown, 1973; Dancing Machine, Motown, 1974; Moving Violation, Motown, 1975; Joyful Jukebox Music, Motown, 1976; Boogie, Natural, 1979; and Farewell My Summer Love 1984, Motown, 1984.

Contributor of vocals to numerous albums, including The Wiz (movie soundtrack), 1978; Kenny Loggins's Keep the Fire, 1979; Minnie Riperton's Love Lives Forever, 1980; Johnson Brothers' Light up the Night, 1980; Quincy Jones's Dude, 1980; Dave Mason's Old Crest on a New Wave, 1980; Stevie Wonder's Hotter than July, 1980; Carol Bayer Sager's Sometimes Late at Night, 1981; Donna Summer's Donna Summer, 1982; Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace, 1983; Jermaine Jackson's Jermaine Jackson, 1984; Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, 1984; USA for Africa: We Are the World, 1985; Free Willy (movie soundtrack), 1995; Joe King Carrasco's Anthology, 1995; Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (movie soundtrack), 1995; Three T's Brotherhood, 1995; and Why, 1996. Narrator for audiobook E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, 1982. Provided voice or music for video games, including (voice of Space Michael) Space Channel 5, 1999; Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, 2000; (voice of Space Michael) Space Channel 5: Part 2, 2002; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, 2002; and (as part of Jackson Five) Karaoke Revolution, 2003.

Performer in videos, including (and producer) Thriller, 1983; We Are the World: The Video Event, 1985; (as Darryl; and executive producer and choreographer) Bad, 1987; Black or White, 1991; Leave Me Alone, 1993; History (also known as Michael Jackson: Video Greatest Hits—HIStory), 1994; and (and executive producer) Michael Jackson: History on Film—Volume II, 1997. Performer in numerous music videos, including "Beat It," 1983; (with Paul McCartney) "Say, Say, Say," 1983; and (with Janet Jackson) "Scream," 1995.

Executive producer of albums, including Free Willy, 1995; (and producer) Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, 1995; Sisterella: Original Cast Recording, 1996; This Is Swing, 1996; and Best Girl Power Album Ever, 1997. Producer of albums, including Pablo Cruise's Pablo Cruise, 1975; Diana Ross's Endless Love, 1981; the Jackson Five's Victory, 1984; Heart of Soul's Heart of Soul, 1988; Free Willy, 1995; Three T's Brotherhood, 1995, Why, 1996, and Tease Me, 1996; Groove On! Volume 3, 1996; No Authority's Keep On, 1997; Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute, 1997; Young Jesse Collins's Greatest Hits, 1998; and Rebbie Jackson's Yours Faithfully, 1998.

Actor in films, including (as himself) Goodbye, Charlie, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1964; (as himself) Save the Children, 1973; (as Razamataz) Bugsy Malone, Paramount, 1976; (as Scarecrow) The Wiz, Universal, 1978; (as Scarecrow) Wiz on down the Road, 1978; Michael Jackson: Making Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (short documentary), Vestron Video, 1983; (in archive footage) That's Dancing!, 1985; (as Captain Eo) Captain Eo (short), Walt Disney, 1986; (as Michael, and music composer) Moonwalker, Ultimate Productions, 1988; Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues, Vestron Video, 1989; (as himself) Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, Warner Bros., 1991; (as Maestro/Super Ghoul/Skeleton/Mayor, and music composer) Ghosts, Heliopolis/MJJ Productions, 1997; (uncredited; as Agent M) Men in Black 2, 2002; and (as agent M.J.) Miss Cast Away, 2004. Actor in stage productions, including (and choreographer of part one, and music producer) Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Tribute, Theatre, produced in New York, NY, 2001.

Actor in television programs and series, including (voice of Michael) The Jackson Five (animated series), ABC, 1971–73; (as Young Boy) Free to Be … You & Me, 1974; (as himself) The Jacksons, CBS, 1976–77; (as himself) The Other Lover (television movie), CBS, 1985; and (as himself) Switched at Birth (miniseries), NBC, 1991. Has also appeared in numerous television specials and episodes of television series, including Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, 1983; The Making of "Captain Eo," 1986; The History of Rock and Roll, Volume 10, 1995; Michael Jackson: One Night Only, 1995; MTV Uncensored, 1999; Elizabeth Taylor: A Musical Celebration, 2000; Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, 2001; A Night at the Apollo, 2002; Living with Michael Jackson: A Tonight Special, 2003; The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See, 2003; Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies, 2003; and Wacko about Jacko, 2005. Also appeared in numerous television award ceremonies.

Producer of films, including (and choreographer of part one, and music producer) Michael Jackson: Making Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (short documentary), Vestron Video, 1983; (song producer) Captain Eo (short), Walt Disney, 1986; (executive producer; and choreographer of "Smooth Criminal" segment; and song producer) Moonwalker, Ultimate Productions, 1988; (executive producer) Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues, Vestron Video, 1989; (song producer) "Will You Be There," Free Willy, 1993; (executive producer) Michael Jackson: One Night Only (television film), 1995; (and choreographer) Ghosts, Heliopolis/MJJ Productions, 1997; and (executive producer) Michael Jackson: The One (television film), 2004. Producer of stage productions, including Puttin' on the Mast, Workshops for Careers in the Arts, 1979. Director of video Dangerous: The Short Films, 1993, and of film They Cage the Animals at Night, 2005.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grammy awards, Recording Academy, including best male R&B vocal performance, 1979, for "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough," album of the year and best pop male vocal, 1983, for Thriller, record of the year and best pop male vocal for "Beat It," best R&B male vocal and best R&B song, 1983, for "Billie Jean," best music video (long), 1984, for Making Michael Jackson's "Thriller" song of the year (with Lionel Richie), 1985, for "We Are the World," best music video (short), 1989, for "Leave Me Alone," and Legends award, 1993; honorary doctorate, Fisk University, 1988; named entertainer of the decade, American Cinema Awards, 1990; Michael Jackson Award, BMI, 1990; American Music Awards, including best pop/rock award, 1992, for Dangerous, International Artist Award, 1993, for humanitarian work, and favorite soul/R&B single, 1993, for "Remember the Time"; Soul Train music awards, including Humanitarian of the Year Award, 1993, best R&B album (male), 1993, for Dangerous, and best single, 1993, for "Remember the Time"; Caring for Kids Award, 1994; MTV Video Music Awards for best dance video, best choreography, and best art direction (all with Janet Jackson), all 1995, all for "Scream"; best pop music video ever citation, VH1, 1999, for "Thriller"; named best-selling male artist of the millennium, World Music Awards, 2000; inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2001; National Association of the Advancement of Colored People Image awards, including outstanding performer in a variety series and outstanding variety series/special awards, 2002, for Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special, and outstanding music video award, 2002, for "You Rock My World"; special achievement award, Billboard Music Awards, 2002.


Moonwalk (autobiography), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1988.

Moonwalker: The Storybook (for children; based on the short film), illustrated by David Newman, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1988.

Dancing the Dream: Poems and Reflections, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1992.


The Jacksons, Epic, 1976.

Goin' Places, Epic, 1977.

Destiny, Epic, 1978.

Triumph, Epic, 1980.

The Jacksons Live, Epic, 1981.

Victory, Epic, 1984.


Got to Be There, Motown, 1972.

Ben, Motown, 1972.

Music and Me, Motown, 1973.

Forever Michael, Motown, 1975.

Off the Wall, Epic, 1979, special edition, Epic/MJJ Productions, 2001.

Michael Jackson—Superstar Series Vol. 7, Motown, 1980.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1981.

One Day in Your Life, Motown, 1981.

Thriller, Epic, 1982.

Looking Back to Yesterday, Motown, 1986.

Anthology, Motown, 1986.

Bad, Epic, 1987, special edition, 2001.

The Original Soul of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1987.

Solid Gold, Epic, 1989.

Dangerous, Epic, 1992.

Remix Collection, Alex, 1992.

HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book 1, Epic, 1995.

Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, Sony, 1997.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 2000.

The Michael Jackson Collection, Warner Bros., 2001.

Invincible, Sony, 2001.

Greatest Hits: History, Volume 1, Sony, 2001.

Love Songs, Motown, 2002.

Number Ones, Warner Bros., 2004.

Also recorded the solo album Pre-History, 1996.


(With others) Making Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (short documentary), Vestron Video, 1983.

(With others) Moonwalker (includes "Smooth Criminal"), Ultimate Productions, 1988.

(With others) Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues, Vestron Video, 1989.

Also screenwriter for Thriller (music video), 1983.


Composer of numerous songs, including "Blues Away," 1976, and (with Lionel Richie) "We Are the World," 1985. Songs featured in films, including Ben, 1972; Revenge of the Nerds, 1984; Lola, 1985; Captain Eo (short), Walt Disney, 1986; Back to the Future II, 1989; Free Willy, 1993; The Meteor Man, 1993; Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, 1995; Nothing to Lose, 1997; Red Corner, 1997; Rush Hour, 1998; Center Stage, 2000; Kya Kehna, 2000; Charlie's Angels, 2000; American Pie 2, 2001; Rush Hour 2, 2001; Zoolander, Paramount, 2001; Undercover Brother, 2002; Willard, 2003; Starsky & Hutch, 2004; 13 Going on 30, 2004; and God Part II, 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: From the time he was the youngest singer in the Jackson Five during the 1970s, and through his reign as the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" in the 1980s and beyond, Michael Jackson has exerted a monumental influence on the contemporary music world. His charismatic vocals and innovative skills as a dancer, choreographer, and performer have earned him numerous awards, including several Grammys and Soul Train awards, in pop, rock, and R&B, as well as for his imaginative videos and short films. His 1982 album, Thriller, sold over forty million copies the first two years after its release, and the accompanying music video, which features Jackson turning into a werewolf and zombie as he performs his trademark dance moves, has been widely praised as one of the best ever made. Though he struggled during the 1990s and into the early part of the twenty-first century to keep his career afloat in the face of negative media attention and charges of child molestation, Jackson has retained a large following of loyal fans.

Born in Gary, Indiana, to a working-class family, Jackson and his eight siblings were all shaped into young singers and performers by their father, Joseph, a former musician and construction worker who saw in his children a chance to make the big time. Focusing on Jackson and his four older brothers—Tito, Jermaine, Jackie, and Marlon—Joseph Jackson assembled the Jackson Five. Though Michael was the youngest of the members, his obvious dancing and vocal abilities made him the lead singer and star of the group. Together, the Jackson siblings started making the rounds of the local talent shows, and the group soon caught the eye of agents from Motown Records, which was then based in Detroit, Michigan. Within a very short time, the Jackson Five was recording albums and rising to the top of the charts with such hits as "ABC" and "I Want You Back." Though the brothers stayed together off and on as a group, later renaming themselves the Jacksons, young Michael was already making solo albums by 1972, beginning with Got to Be There.

During the late 1970s, Jackson's star faded slightly from the spotlight, though he continued to actively produce records and began acting in films, such as the 1978 musical The Wiz, a funky remake of the classic The Wizard of Oz. He began attracting the attention of fans once again as a vocalist with his 1979 solo album Off the Wall, which features the disco-style hit "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough." The success of that album, however, would pale against the sensation of 1982's Thriller, which won five Grammy awards and includes such chart-toppers as the title song, "Billie Jean," "The Girl Is Mine," "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." It was the golden era of music television, and Jackson took full advantage of this by creating several videos for his hit songs that aired repeatedly on fledgling Music Television (MTV). The videos put Jackson's considerable dancing skills in the limelight, and he became famous for his trademark "moonwalk" move, in which he appears to be walking and sliding backward at the same time. When he performed the move live at the nationally televised Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever celebration in 1983, the applause brought the house down.

Although his follow-up album, Bad, did not do quite as well in sales as Thriller, it still quickly sold twenty million records and contains several hits, including the title track, which was also made into a video by Jackson. Jackson also started to become known at this time as a philanthropist, donating money to organizations that benefited children and composing, with Lionel Richie, the 1985 song "We Are the World," the profits for which went to help famine victims in Africa. By the early 1990s, sales of Jackson's records noticeably declined following the lackluster release of Dangerous and HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book 1.

Had somewhat weaker sales been Jackson's only difficulty, he would still have continued to have a successful career. However, years of legal woes began in 1993 when the performer was accused of child molestation by a thirteen-year-old boy. Jackson managed to settle the suit out of court for about twenty million dollars, but it would not be the end of his problems. His commercial contract with Pepsi Co. was cancelled after the scandal, and attorney fees began taking their toll. Beginning in the 1980s, the entertainer had already begun attracting notoriety for his quirky way of dressing (he favors clothes that look like a cross between military dress and the extravagant outfits once worn by pianist Liberace, and for many years wore only one white glove), and by the 1990s he was noticeably changing his physical appearance. Jackson's skin was becoming whiter and his nose narrower and more pointed; the changes sometimes led to accusations that he was trying to make himself "look white." His short marriage to Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, also made Jackson the target of tabloids, which accused him of marrying to avoid speculation that he was a homosexual or, worse, a pedophile.

Jackson's second, equally brief marriage to Debbie Rowe resulted in his fathering two children. Rowe would later say that her relationship with Jackson had been specifically for the purpose of giving him the children he wanted. A third child, Prince Michael II, was born of a surrogate mother. The singer earned more bad publicity when he was caught on camera dangling his youngest son over a balcony railing, and in 2003 several counts of felony child molestation were filed against the performer. Jackson, who had built a sizeable amusement park called "Neverland" at his home in California, was known to frequently invite children there, where they often spent the night. The entertainer admitted that his young guests sometimes slept in his bed, though he denied that anything sexual ever happened. He charged that his accuser's family was just after his money. When the trial ended in June of 2005, Jackson was exonerated; he was found not guilty on all ten counts, including four counts of child molestation and charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor and conspiring to hold the accuser and his family captive. The financial drain of continued litigation, as well as Jackson's extravagant lifestyle, continued to keep the pop icon in the news.



Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 19, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Contemporary Musicians, Volume 44, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2004.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, second edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Jackson, Michael, Moonwalk (autobiography), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1988.

McDougal, Weldon A., The Michael Jackson Scrapbook: The Early Days of the Jackson Five, Avon (New York, NY), 1984.

Newsmakers, Issue 2, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Notable Black American Men, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.


Chicago Tribune, April 29, 2005, Terry Armour, "King of Pop? Not in Gary, Ind., His Hometown."

Ebony, October, 1990, Katherine Jackson, "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Michael, Janet and LaToya: Mother of Jackson Family Tells All," pp. 60-64.

Economist, June 18, 2005, "Not Bad, but Not Quite Good," p. 28.

Entertainment Weekly, May 12, 1995, Nisid Hajari, review of HIStory, p. 12; September 21, 2001, "Wanna Be Stoppin' Somethin': Who's Bad? Two Fumbling Fetes Have Michael Jackson Easin' on down the Wrong Comeback Road," p. 24.

New York Times, June 14, 2005, John M. Broder and Nick Madigan, "Jackson Cleared after Fourteen-Week Child Molestation Trial," p. A1.

People, September 14, 1987, Cutler Durkee, "Unlike Anyone, Even Himself, His Manager Says He's Part Howard Hughes, Part E.T., but Michael Jackson Beggars Description," pp. 86-91; March 28, 1988, Todd Gold, "On Tour, He's Still 'Michael!' But His Charity Work Has Won Him a New Title: Dr. Jackson," pp. 36-37; February 12, 1990, "Hollywood Keeps Partying Hearty in Honor of Liz, Michael and Gregory," pp. 40-41; March 7, 1994, review of Thriller video, p. 62; March 21, 2005, Bill Hewitt, "The Gloves Come Off: The Two Sides Trade Stinging Accusations in the Trial's First Days," p. 91.

Time, March 19, 1984, Jack Cocks, "Why He's a Thriller: Michael Jackson's Songs, Steps and Sexy Aura Set a Flashy Beat for the Decade," pp. 54-59, interview with Joseph Jackson, pp. 61-63; July 16, 1984, Jack Cocks, "Bringing Back the Magic: The Jacksons, Led by Michael, Launch a Controversial Tour," pp. 64-66; June 27, 2005, Jeremy Caplan, "Memories of Michael," p. 18.

Vanity Fair, March, 2004, Maureen Orth, "Neverland's Lost Boys: The Latest Charges against Michael Jackson—of Molesting a Thirteen-Year-Old Cancer Patient—Are More than a Deja Vu of Al-legations that Led to His Twenty-five-Million-Dollar Settlement with Young Jordie Chandler in 1994," p. 384.

Washington Post, June 14, 2005, William Booth, "Jury Acquits Jackson on All Charges," p. A01.


Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (June 9, 2005), "Michael Jackson."

Michael Jackson Web site, http://www.michaeljackson.com/ (June 9, 2005).


Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story (television biography), VH1, 2004.

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Jackson, Michael 1958-

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