Jefferson, Margo 1947–
Jefferson, Margo 1947–
PERSONAL: Born October 17, 1947, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Ron (a doctor) and Irma (a teacher and social worker) Jefferson. Education: Brandeis University, B.A., 1968; Columbia University, M.S.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Pantheon Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Journalist. Newsweek, New York, NY, associate editor, 1973–78; New York University, New York, NY, assistant professor, 1979–83, 1989–91; Vogue, New York, NY, contributing editor, 1984–89; 7 Days, contributing editor, 1988–89; Columbia University, New York, NY, lecturer, then assistant professor, 1991; New York Times, New York, NY, critic, 1993–. Also visiting lecturer at New School for Social Research, New York, NY.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pulitzer Prize, 1995; Alumni Achievement Award, Brandeis University, 1995.
On Michael Jackson, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Nation, Vogue, Grand Street, Village Voice, American Theatre, Dance Ink, Ms., New York Times Book Review, Soho Weekly News, Lear's, Alt, Denmark, NRC Handelsblad and Harper's Magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for the New York Times. Gaining experience with various periodicals and lecturing positions at Columbia University and New York University, Jefferson began working on staff with the New York Times in 1993 as a culture critic and later as a theater critic. After winning her Pulitzer, she became critic-at-large for the paper while contributing to a number of other publications, including the Nation and Village Voice. With her wide-ranging experience, it was only natural for Jefferson to cover Michael Jackson and the highly publicized events surrounding his life. In 2006, she published On Michael Jackson, with topics ranging from the psychology of his celebrity upbringing to his fascination with P.T. Barnum's circus and through his child molestation court case.
Critics who reviewed On Michael Jackson had mostly positive comments about the book. A reviewer for Essence called the "evenhanded portrait … piercingly honest" and "flawlessly written." Despite the familiarity the average television viewer has with the life and scandals of Michael Jackson, several critics noted that Jefferson does not simply summarize what has already been reported and published. Robert Morast, writing in the Library Journal, commented that Jefferson's "book manages to be almost as fresh as it is entertaining." Francine Prose had a similar viewpoint in her review of On Michael Jackson in O, the Oprah Magazine. She went even further in her praise by adding that "watching Margo Jefferson's mind at work is as pleasurable and thrilling as seeing Michael Jackson dance."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Notable Black American Women, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Booklist, November 15, 2005, Ray Olson, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 4.
Detroit Free Press, January 23, 2006, Marta Salij, "Never Can Say Goodbye"; January 25, 2006, "Margo Jefferson Bio."
Ebony, January, 2006, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 28.
Essence, February, 2006, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 95.
Hollywood Reporter, January 17, 2006, Gregory McNamee, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 23.
Houston Chronicle, March 3, 2006, Roger Catlin, "Michael Jackson after the Hits."
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2005, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 1222.
Library Journal, December 1, 2005, Robert Morast, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 132.
O, the Oprah Magazine, January, 2006, Francine Prose, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 87.
Playbill, July 29, 2004, Robert Simonson, "Margo Jefferson Out."
Publishers Weekly, November 28, 2005, review of On Michael Jackson, p. 41.
New York Writer's Institute Web site, http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/ (April 15, 2006), profile of Jefferson.
Public Broadcast Service, http://www.pbs.org/ (April 15, 2006), profile of Jefferson.