Eleven years ago today (June 25th), Michael Jackson died at age 50 of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication, after suffering from cardiac arrest. At the time of his death, Michael was preparing for his comeback tour at London’s 02 Arena.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. At age 9, MJ and his brothers — who went by The Jackson Five signed a record deal with Motown. They rose to fame in 1969 with their hit “I Want You Back.” The song entered Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 90. It hit number one on January 31, 1970. The group’s album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, spawned the hits “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There.” Between 1972-1975, MJ also recorded four solo albums with Motown, producing hits like “Got to Be There”, “Ben”, and a remake of Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin.”
In June 1975, the group left Motown Records and signed to Epic Records. After changing their name to The Jacksons in 1976, the group released three albums on the label, The Jacksons, Goin’ Places and Destiny. They scored top ten hits with “Enjoy Yourself” and “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).”
In 1979, Michael released his debut solo album Off The Wall. The project was produced by Quincy Jones and went on to sell 7 million copies. His sophomore albumThriller was released in 1982 and sold 40 million copies. In 1985, MJ co-wrote “We Are The World” along with Lionel Richie. In 1987, Michael released Bad — which went on the sell 40 million copies. In 1988, MJ released his first autobiography Moonwalk. That same year, Michael built his $17 million dollar home, which he named Neverland Ranch.
The 90’s proved to be very controversial for Michael Jackson. In 1991, he released Dangerous, then in 1995, Michael released HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. In 1993, he was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy. The following year, Michael settled out of court with the boy’s family. He maintained his innocence.
In 1994, Michael married Lisa Marie Presley in a secret ceremony. Their marriage lasted only for 18 months. In 1998, MJ married nurse Debbie Rowe. They split three years later. Michael and Debbie had two kids: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. — known as Prince,born on February 13, 1997 and Paris Katherine Jackson ,born on April 3, 1998.
In 2001, Michael released Invincible. He was entered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the second time in 2001. He was first inducted as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1997. In 2002, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
That same year, Michael’s third child, Prince Michael Jackson II aka Blanket, was born . The identity of his mother is unknown, but MJ admitted that the child was the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his sperm. Michael made headlines when he dangled Blanket over a hotel balcony in Berlin.
In 2005, MJ was cleared of charges that he molested a 13-year-old boy back in 2003.
In 2006, the Neverland Ranch was closed due to financial troubles.
DEATH AND AFTERMATH
On July 12th 2009, a televised memorial was held for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Jackson family held a private funeral on September 3, 2009 at Forest Lawn Memorial park in Los Angeles.
In October 2009, This Is It — a film that documented MJ’s rehearsals for his final performances in London hit theaters. The film hit #1 and made $23 million in its opening weekend. It went on to make more than $260 million worldwide.
On November 7, 2011, Michael’s physician Dr. Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
On April 29, 2013, the wrongful death trial against concert promoter AEG Live began in Los Angeles. Michael’s mother Katherine sued the company for hiring Dr. Conrad Murray — who was convicted of killing Michael Jackson.
In 2014, Michael’s second posthumous album Xscape was released. That same year, Michael became the first artist to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades
In 2016, Forbes estimated annual gross earnings by the Jackson Estate at $825 million, the largest ever recorded for a celebrity, mostly due to the sale of the Sony/ATV catalog. In 2018 the figure was $400 million.It was the eighth year since his death that Jackson’s annual earnings were reported to be over $100 million, thus bringing Jackson’s postmortem total to $2.4 billion.
In 2019, Forbes recognized Jackson as the top-earning dead celebrity each year since his death except 2012.
In November 2019, it was reported that a Jackson biopic, produced by Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King, was in the works, with the screenplay written by John Logan. Jackson’s estate granted King the rights to his music and will work with King.
MICHAEL JACKSON TRIVIA QUIZ
Q: Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson appeared in which of Jackson’s music videos?
A: “Remember the Time”
Q: Who directed Jackson’s video for “Bad”?
A: Martin Scorcese
Q: In 2000, Jackson was listed in the book of Guinness World Records for his support of how many charities?
A: 39 — more than any other entertainer or personality.
Q: In 1996, the Anti-Defamation League issued a press release charging Jackson with anti-Semitism regarding the lyrics of what song?
A: “They Don’t Care About Us” from HIStory (The lyrics included “Jew me, sue me”, and “Kick me, kike me”)
Q: What was the name of Jackson’s first autobiography?
A: Moon Walk
Q: How much did Jackson pay for Neverland Ranch when he purchased it in 1988?
A: $17 million
Q: How much did Jackson pay for The Beatles’ back catalogue?
A: $47.5 million
Q: What was the name of Jackson’s pet chimpanzee?
Q: Pepsi settled a lawsuit with Jackson after his 1984 injury while filming a commercial for them for how much money?
A: $1.5 million
Q: Jackson co-wrote the charity single “We Are the World” with what other artist?
A: Lionel Richie
Q: Thriller remained in the top ten of the Billboard 200 for how many consecutive weeks?
Q: When did Jackson have his first rhiniopolasty surgery?
A: In 1979 after breaking his nose during a complex dance routine.
Q: Jackson played what character in the 1978 film musical, The Wiz?
Q: The Jackson 5 won a major local talent show in 1966 with a rendition of what soul classic?
A: James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)
Q: How many Jackson children were there? Can you name them?
A: Nine — Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy, Janet — and Michael.
Q: Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse with what interviewer?
A: Oprah Winfrey, in 1993.
Q: Michael Jackson is recognized as popularizing what dance step?
A: The moonwalk
Jackson announced his “This Is It” tour. During a press conference, the artist made a brief, three-minute statement interspersed with poses, peace signs, raised fists, and thrown kisses. He said, in part: [“I’ll be, I’ll be performing the songs my fans want to hear (cheers). This is it, I mean this is really it. This is the final — this is the final curtain call, OK? And I’ll see you in July . . . and . . . I love you. (cheers) I really do. You have to know that. I love you so much (cheers). Really, from the bottom of my heart. This is it, and see you in July.”] SOUNDCUE (:38 OC: . . . you in July.)
Jackson talked about his biggest influences: [“Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy. I just have to say thank you. He was so important in our lives, and he is really my real inspiration, and I owe him so much. Quincy Jones, thank you. We talk about a ‘Thriller,’ it’s Quincy. You’re incredible. I love you, Quincy. He is the man. The glamorous–(crowd members shouts something) No, I…thank you. The glamorous and talented and beautiful Diana Ross, who is my second mother–I thank you.”] SOUNDCUE (:31 OC: . . . I thank you.)
Michael Jackson tells Oprah he was beaten as a child. [“(Michael) I remember going to the recording studio, there was a park across the street and I would see all the children playing and they were rooting and making noise and I would cry. It would make me sad that I would have to go and work instead. Oh there’s a lot of sadness in my past life. And you know adolescence and my father and all those things, it just made me very sad. (Oprah) So he would tease you and make fun of you? (Michael) Yes. (Oprah) Did he ever beat you? (Michael) Yes he did.”] SOUNDCUE (:34 OC: . . . yes he did)
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley kiss at the MTV Music Awards in 1994. [“And just think, nobody thought this would last.”] SOUNDCUE (:11 OC: . . . this would last)
Jackson went on 60 Minutes in 2003 to talk about the child molestation case. He told the late Ed Bradley: [“I wanted to have a place that I could create everything that I that I never had as a child. So, you see rides. You see animals. There’s a movie theater. I was always on tour, traveling. You know? And — I never got a chance to do those things. So, I compensated for the loss by — I have a good time — I mean, I can’t go into a park. I can’t go to Disneyland, as myself. I can’t go out and walk down the street. There’s crowds, and bumper-to-bumper cars. So, I create my world behind my gates. Everything that I love is behind those gates.”] SOUNDCUE (:39 OC: . . . behind those gates)
Back in 2003, Jackson spoke with Bradley about sharing his bed with children: [“Well, what’s wrong with sharing your bed? I didn’t say I slept in the bed. Even if I did sleep in the bed, it’s okay. I am not going to do anything sexual to a child. It’s not where my heart is. I would slit my wrists first . I would never do anything like that. That’s not Michael Jackson. I’m sorry. That’s someone else.”] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC: . . . that’s someone else)
Jackson thanked his fans outside court after the arraignment in the child molestation case: [“I would like to thank the fans around the world for your love and support, from every corner of the Earth.”] SOUNDCUE (:05 OC: . . . of the Earth.)