Michael Jackson, King of Pop: 1958 - 2009

The pop culture icon died today in Los Angeles, reports confirm.

by | June 25, 2009 | Comments

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson, internationally known as the “King of Pop,” died today at the age of 50. Jackson, who got his start fronting the family band The Jackson 5 at the tender age of eight before enjoying one of the most successful entertainment careers in history, often fell under intense public scrutiny for his personal life but created some of the most popular albums of all time and remained a pop culture fascination through his final years. He also helped popularize the music video genre, made extensive charitable contributions, worked with some of Hollywood’s leading directors, and acted in feature length films while leaving a lasting influence on modern dance, music, and culture. Jackson was 50.

Gossip website TMZ first broke the news that Michael Jackson had suffered fatal cardiac arrest in his Southern California home before being rushed to a hospital this afternoon, a report that was confirmed shortly thereafter by the Los Angeles Times. The “King of Pop” had been planning a huge career comeback, which would have seen Jackson perform 50 sold-out shows in London beginning in July. High School Musical director and choreographer Kenny Ortega had been working with Jackson to direct the tour.

As a child singer, Jackson fronted the musical group The Jackson 5 with brothers Marlon, Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, topping the charts with singles like “I Want You Back” and “ABC.” But those Motown roots were only the beginning of a five-decade recording career that marked Jackson as one of the most versatile artists in show business, as his sound morphed from R&B to funk to disco-pop to jazz and beyond.

Michael Jackson

In 1978, Jackson took on his first feature film role playing the Scarecrow in Sidney Lumet‘s The Wiz, an all African-American version of The Wizard of Oz. During production, Jackson made plans to work with the film’s music arranger on his next solo album. That album — produced by Quincy Jones — was Jackson’s multi-platinum selling Off the Wall, which propelled both Jones and Jackson to even greater fame, and led to their collaboration on Jackson’s next two albums, Thriller (the best-selling album of all time) and Bad (which yielded five #1 singles).

His directors on the landmark music videos for both of those albums? None other than John Landis, whose 14-minute short film involved dancing zombies and helped make MTV an early success (and who later directed Jackson’s “Black or White” video), and Martin Scorsese, who directed Jackson opposite a young Wesley Snipes in the 18-minute short film for Bad. Later, horror legends Mick Garris, Stephen King, and Stan Winston would team up on Jackson’s long form music video Ghosts, in which Jackson played opposite himself as a reclusive outsider more comfortable around children than the judgmental town folk around him. Other notable directors that helmed some of Jackson’s well-known music videos include John Singleton (“Remember the Time”), photographer Herb Ritts (“In the Closet”), and Mark Romanek (“Scream”).

Michael Jackson

(In addition to his music video work, Jackson worked with Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, producer George Lucas, composer James Horner and actress Anjelica Huston on the 3D film Captain EO, showcased as its own attraction in Disney theme parks all over the world.)

In 2002, Jackson returned to the big screen with a small part (playing essentially himself) as “Agent M” in the alien conspiracy sequel Men in Black II, a self-reflexive character type repeated in his last screen role in 2004’s direct-to-DVD spoof film, Miss Cast Away.

Jackson’s sudden death comes at a time when his career seemed on the verge of a comeback. In addition to his planned UK concert tour, Jackson is a featured subject of discussion in Universal’s upcoming comedy-documentary, Bruno, in which the character Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) attempts to wrangle a Jackson interview by speaking on-camera with his sister, LaToya Jackson.

For a more detailed look at Michael Jackson’s movie career, go to his celebrity page.


More on Michael Jackson from our friends around the web:

Michael Jackson Live Video Coverage

MyFoxLA.com Michael Jackson Local Coverage

MyFox Michael Jackson National Coverage

MyFox Michael Jackson Video Archive

Rotten Tomatoes: Michael Jackson, King of Pop: 1958 — 2009

AskMen.com’s Michael Jackson Profile

FoxNews.com on Michael Jackson

FoxBusiness.com on Michael Jackson

TimesOnline.com: Michael Jackson — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

BeliefNet.com on Michael Jackson

BeliefNet.com: Michael Jackson’s Faith In His Own Words

WSJ.com:  Jackson Memorabilia Video Story

WSJ.com:  Jackson’s Famous Red Jacket

Tag Cloud

golden globes scary 24 frames spider-man New York Comic Con scary movies young adult halloween tv discovery Lionsgate golden globe awards First Look spider-verse space rt labs trailers werewolf black Sneak Peek Bravo Wes Anderson Heroines 93rd Oscars technology Opinion OneApp ViacomCBS Emmy Nominations all-time period drama Mary Poppins Returns saw ID Marvel Studios Sony chucky Pet Sematary comic book movies Travel Channel YouTube SXSW 2022 Reality Apple TV+ king arthur rt labs critics edition streamig OWN Starz Best Actor HBO Go Apple The Walt Disney Company Native DC Comics Musicals boxing Writers Guild of America target scene in color 2020 Epix ESPN 1990s Hollywood Foreign Press Association Columbia Pictures dogs USA Network dark Year in Review A&E TruTV know your critic new york cults japanese worst richard e. Grant Sony Pictures Fox Searchlight archives breaking bad classics jurassic park TBS Television Academy twilight 2019 crime drama Stephen King Legendary Action comiccon Amazon Prime VH1 best Dark Horse Comics docuseries Mudbound Cannes Teen ABC Family Oscars Disney streaming service Disney Channel Music CMT razzies TIFF Photos telelvision spinoff YouTube Premium spanish language Trophy Talk nfl boxoffice Hear Us Out 2016 Prime Video die hard TCM broadcast streaming movies IFC Superheroes The Purge suspense Paramount Pictures lord of the rings cartoon Pop true crime CW Seed The Arrangement The Walking Dead elevated horror child's play PBS Netflix doctor who binge RT21 Disney Plus GLAAD spanish AMC Western movie Paramount black comedy APB television art house nature Disney universal monsters Vudu FOX dc reboot Anna Paquin kaiju independent Fox News sopranos Ovation Best Director book adaptation Pride Month IFC Films Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ghosts pirates of the caribbean trophy game show rotten movies we love anime disaster comics cops Ellie Kemper Fargo Nat Geo Trivia Calendar Superheroe Character Guide BAFTA slashers Comic-Con@Home 2021 unscripted Kids & Family Rocky Horror green book legend Disney+ Disney Plus adventure italian LGBTQ Reality Competition directors Academy Awards Mystery slasher aapi action-comedy Best Actress Image Comics Comic Book Television Critics Association San Diego Comic-Con Amazon Studios Sundance TV casting 99% superhero LGBT superman versus 2015 kong mockumentary Lucasfilm Song of Ice and Fire hidden camera Indigenous comic book movie Spectrum Originals Super Bowl psychological thriller Endgame new star wars movies 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Martial Arts hollywood 2021 President teaser Shudder biography Family Hulu Holidays Mary Tyler Moore what to watch a nightmare on elm street WGN Shondaland scene in color film series streaming 21st Century Fox venice Masterpiece criterion 72 Emmy Awards X-Men docudrama Winter TV TCA Winter 2020 cancelled TV shows Best Picture Avengers Geeked Week Sundance CBS All Access Nominations Polls and Games Tomatazos Pixar Winners mob cooking new zealand feel good Adult Swim name the review Countdown police drama heist movie comic books critic resources Musical TCA Awards Extras revenge BET ABC obituary deadpool blockbusters live event Tarantino Thanksgiving TV movies Freeform Nickelodeon game of thrones cats war dreamworks Premiere Dates Comics on TV foreign PaleyFest Country canceled nbcuniversal Apple TV Plus Showtime NBC singing competition high school USA marvel comics halloween target Emmys Classic Film indiana jones Quiz rt archives Tumblr Sci-Fi robots Ghostbusters VOD godzilla Walt Disney Pictures Binge Guide Warner Bros. Watching Series christmas movies SDCC movies popular political drama South by Southwest Film Festival toy story 71st Emmy Awards Pacific Islander TCA Crunchyroll Marathons IMDb TV romantic comedy films Brie Larson Interview miniseries Fall TV composers The CW Alien posters hispanic reviews james bond Rocketman Comedy Central TCA 2017 El Rey Syfy vs. The Witch Pirates japan kids screenings Awards Tour emmy awards Spike Film summer TV preview CBS spain Rock based on movie olympics WarnerMedia harry potter HBO women serial killer Schedule DC Universe AMC Plus strong female leads Universal Pictures gangster Red Carpet Paramount Plus MCU mcc prank CNN Black History Month cancelled 73rd Emmy Awards festivals sequel interviews E3 wonder woman renewed TV shows crossover NYCC Drama royal family fast and furious travel Amazon Prime Video History science fiction sitcom National Geographic football Focus Features Peacock FX on Hulu dexter mutant biopic Biopics adenture Britbox Animation Election Broadway laika Esquire Discovery Channel Chernobyl cancelled television Lifetime Christmas movies Christmas dramedy zombie scene in color cinemax vampires king kong See It Skip It book Hallmark MGM Amazon Set visit Elton John TV renewals obi wan Toys spy thriller 2017 SXSW 90s Cartoon Network crime news Tubi stop motion worst movies Video Games supernatural batman GIFs satire Spring TV children's TV Tags: Comedy leaderboard Paramount Network asian-american live action HFPA australia Holiday Sundance Now YA 45 toronto ITV DirecTV HBO Max Neflix Baby Yoda BBC Food Network zero dark thirty Star Trek Trailer basketball indie Acorn TV Funimation Instagram Live video on demand Logo Film Festival documentary parents Exclusive Video romance Turner blaxploitation RT History Best and Worst sag awards TNT facebook jamie lee curtis BBC One tv talk marvel cinematic universe remakes BBC America 2018 BET Awards TLC zombies 007 screen actors guild PlayStation stand-up comedy fresh Mary poppins critics Fantasy SundanceTV Arrowverse Tokyo Olympics scene in color series Black Mirror Marvel Podcast finale quibi concert theme song 94th Oscars cancelled TV series Grammys American Society of Cinematographers genre TV One joker sports blockbuster Star Wars Celebration festival Mindy Kaling Turner Classic Movies Universal Women's History Month historical drama The Academy award winner summer preview hispanic heritage month Rom-Com animated Awards stoner Chilling Adventures of Sabrina GoT E! hist Valentine's Day crime thriller canceled TV shows comic transformers Box Office Pop TV Hallmark Christmas movies DC streaming service medical drama Summer Creative Arts Emmys latino ratings FX NBA Lifetime dceu VICE Cosplay sequels Marvel Television 4/20 A24 dragons Netflix Christmas movies international Crackle Oscar series diversity documentaries free movies monster movies comedies FXX witnail TV talk show Star Wars thriller franchise summer TV aliens social media debate rom-coms ABC Signature anthology 20th Century Fox french mission: impossible scorecard Infographic justice league cars video adaptation rotten psycho Certified Fresh politics 79th Golden Globes Awards natural history south america YouTube Red DGA TV Land First Reviews MTV Captain marvel MSNBC Comedy