Name: Michael Joseph Jackson
Born: August 29, 1958; Death: June 25, 2009
Occupation: Singer, dancer, songwriter
Known as MJ or the “King of Pop,” Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958. As the eighth child born into the family, Michael quickly learned to sing and dance with the rest of his family. He eventually became the lead singer of The Jackson 5 and at the age of 13 started his solo career while still working with the family.
The role MJ played in the development of music and pop culture is undeniable. His work throughout the early 80’s helped to break cultural and racial barriers and the success of his initial music videos – Beat It, Billie Jean, and Thriller have been credited as bringing MTV into the forefront of the television music scene as well. He was responsible for the development and introduction of several dance moves, including the moonwalk. Throughout his career, Jackson had over a dozen number one singles and sold over 400 million albums around the world.
Thriller, as an album, is still credited as being one of the best selling albums of all time. The song itself is still incredibly popular today, especially around Halloween, when groups from around the world strive to break records for the largest number of people gathered together to perform the dance.
Michael Jackson’s personal life was always the subject of scrutiny and criticism. Allegations of child sexual abuse were settled out of court while others were acquitted. Towards the end of his life, Jackson’s financial situation was the subject of close scrutiny as well. In 2006, the famous Neverland Ranch was closed in order to save money, followed by a restructuring deal with Sony. In the following years, he was rumored to be working on additional albums with other artists, but none ever came to fruition.
In early 2009, Michael Jackson announced his This Is It comeback tour. The concert series, which included an incredibly strenuous performance schedule, would have been his first since 1997. The celebrity had hinted he might retire after the series.
Sadly, the tour never came to fruition, as Michael Jackson passed away suddenly on June 25, 2009. News of his death shocked fans and supporters around the globe. The cause of death, officially listed as cardiac arrest due to a drug intoxication, was eventually ruled a homicide and blamed on Dr. Conrad Murray, who was tried, convicted, and served four years in prison. Conrad Murray was released from prison on October 28, 2013.
Despite his death, Michael Jackson’s estate continues to grow, with an estimated net worth of $600 million. While his own music portfolio was valued at around $100,000,000, the collection of portfolios he owned the rights to, including that of The Beatles, earned him hundreds of millions more. The executors of Michael’s estate worked incredibly hard to make the estate solvent. Doing so has enabled them to keep the portfolio of music in the name of his estate, allowing it to continue growing in value.
Despite the ups and downs in his life, Michael Jackson had a huge impact on the development of the music industry and pop culture and his legend will live on for decades.