Michael Jackson (Aug. 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009)
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Michael was the 7th of 9 children (Janet and Randy are younger). They grew up in a 2-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana. The 6 boys slept in one room, while the 3 girls shared the other with the parents, Joe and Katherine. Here are the siblings, in order of birth: Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Michael, Randy and Janet. (thanks, Elma - Chennai, India)
He was married twice, first to Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie from 1994-1996, then to his former housekeeper Debbie Rowe from 1996-1999.
He had 2 children from his marriage to Debbie Rowe: Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Macaulay Culkin is their Godfather. His third son, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson II (nicknamed "Blanket), was born to a surrogate mother.
Actress Elizabeth Taylor is his best friend. She is the Godmother of his son, Prince.
His idols included Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelley, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, The Three Stooges and Walt Disney.
Here's his connection with tennis player John McEnroe - his first date was with actress Tatum O'neal, the daughter of Ryan O'neal who went on to marry and divorce McEnroe. (thanks, sara - Kallinge, for above 5)
As a teenager, he had terrible acne which made him very self-conscious.
In 2005, Michael Jackson was found not guilty to 10 counts of child molestation. (thanks, Tony - Sydney, Australia)
Jackson played a variety of instruments.
He suffered from a disease called vitiligo, and he also is allergic to to much sunlight. That's why he wore sunglasses in public and usually had an umbrella with him. (thanks, Johnny - Geneva, Switzerland, for above 2)
In 1985, Jackson made perhaps his best financial decision when he bought the publishing rights to most Beatles songs for $47.5 million, using money from the profits of Thriller. This ended his friendship with Paul McCartney, who felt betrayed by Jackson.
In 1984, he was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame directly in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
On June 25, 2009, Jackson collapsed at his rented mansion in Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating him by his personal physician were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at the UCLA Medical Center at 2:26 p.m. local time. Jackson had been preparing for his This Is It tour, a series of 50 concerts to be held at London's 02 Arena beginning July 8. It was to be his first tour since 1997. (thanks, Steven - La Quinta, CA)
His memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009 was a major event, with most TV networks covering it and many celebrities speaking at the service. 17,500 tickets were made available to the public, and more than 1.2 million people signed up for a lottery to get them.
Kerry Livgren of Kansas
In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.
The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."