The late Michael Jackson – the King of Pop – was one of the most famous people of all time, let alone musicians. His hits, including “Thriller,” “Beat It,” and “Billie Jean” remain some of the most-played songs on Western radio to this day. However, his life was touched by controversy – and despite his amazing talent and success, Jackson’s life was cut tragically short on the precipice of a comeback. Here are some fun facts about Michael Jackson that might surprise you.
1. Jackson popularized iconic dance moves in the 1980s.
Coming from family band the Jackson Five in the 1970s – who were already household names at the height of disco – Michael Jackson rocketed to fame thanks to his incredible voice and his unique dance moves – in particular, the “moonwalk,” where he walked backward while appearing to walk forward!
2. He came from a large family.
The Jackson Five didn’t even make up half of the children in Michael’s family! He was the eighth child of 12. Younger siblings Janet and Latoyah weren’t part of the Jackson Five, but would go on to be successful in their own right.
3. Jackson’s relationship with his father was intense.
It’s claimed that Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, was abusive to him as a child when he made mistakes while learning music. In fact, some claim Michael missed out on having a real childhood because of being forced to entertain.
4. Jackson tried to regain his childhood by building his own theme park.
Infamous for his eccentricities, Michael Jackson eventually used much of his wealth to commission his own theme park – Neverland, named after his fascination with Peter Pan – which he then lived in. Neverland Ranch spanned 3,000 acres, or over 12 square km, and even had its own petting zoo and roller coasters.
5. He was an animal lover.
Jackson was also infamous for being associated with a pet chimp, Bubbles, in the 1990s – but did you know he also had pet llamas called Louis and Lola? Jackson earned the ire of Queen star Freddie Mercury after he continued to bring Louis the llama to recording sessions. Bizarrely, it’s thought to have contributed to recording sessions breaking down between the two megastars.
6. Jackson’s skin color is said to have changed due to vitiligo.
Michael Jackson’s change in skin color was, according to his autopsy, likely caused by vitiligo, a skin pigmentation disease. However, Jackson’s appearance altered wildly through the 1990s and into the 2000s, allegedly spurred by his body dysmorphia.
7. Michael Jackson nearly bought Marvel Comics!
Long before the mighty rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Michael Jackson set his eyes on buying the comic brand as it faced bankruptcy at the end of the 90s. Believe it or not, his purchase was inspired by the fact he wanted to play Spider-Man! Marvel would cling on and eventually put Tobey Maguire in the role as lead web-slinger – not Jacko.
8. Jackson was considered for the lead role in Doctor Who.
Long-running BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who was adapted into a feature-length special in 1996 – but before that, in 1988, there were plans for Paramount Studios to adapt the time-traveling character to the big screen with Michael Jackson in the lead role! This didn’t come to pass – and the backup actor considered for the role – highly controversial now – was Bill Cosby.
9. Jackson’s net worth was astounding.
Michael Jackson died in 2009, at the age of just 50, about to begin a comeback tour. He left behind not only an incredible catalog of music, but also assets said to be worth a cool $2.1 billion – despite his philanthropic ventures and his propensity to make elaborate purchases!
FAQs about Michael Jackson
What was the real cause of Michael Jackson’s death?
Michael Jackson reportedly died from acute propofol intoxication – he overdosed on anesthetic, which led to the incarceration of his doctor, Conrad Murray.
Why did Michael Jackson wear one glove?
Michael Jackson reportedly wore a single glove as he started to cover up his vitiligo, as his black skin started developing white spots.
Does Michael Jackson have children?
Jackson has three children – Prince, Paris, and Bigi, the elder two having the same mother, Debbie Rowe.
Do you know any interesting facts about Michael Jackson? Share them in the comments below!