25 Outstanding Facts About Michael Jackson


*Originally published by Cyndi K on March 2022 and Updated by Vanessa R on May 2023 and Cyndi K on January, 2024

Michael was born on August 29th, 1958 as Michael Joseph Jackson. He was popularly known as the ‘king of pop.’

This is because his creative works and contribution made him be recognized as one of the most significant figures of the 20th Century.

During his time, he influenced artists across different music genres and styles through his unique stage and video performances.

1. He is the most awarded music artist in history

Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

All through his career, 13 Grammy awards inclusive of a Grammy Legend Award and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award were awarded to him.

He was also awarded 6 Brit awards, 5 billboard music awards, 24 American Music Awards.

By the year 2006, he was holding 20 Guinness World Records and was also recognized as the world’s most successful entertainer.

He was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming one of the few artists to be inducted twice.

The first time was in 1997 when he was still a member of the Jackson 5 and then the second time was in 2001 as a solo artist.

2. Michael Jackson had his first performance when he was 5 years old

Toglenn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With a father who was a guitarist and vested in the music scene, it is natural that his children were mentored to go the same direction.

He felt that his children were very talented. In 1964 therefore, Michael joined his brothers who had formed a band by the name,’ Jackson Brothers.’

When he and his other brother, Marlon joined in, it was renamed ‘The Jackson 5.’ It was realized by the family that Michael was very talented in singing and dancing.

Thus at just age 5, Jackson’s career began and by the time he was 8 years old, he was the lead vocalist alongside his older brother, Jermaine.

3. Michael Jackson Suffered from Vitiligo but embraced it.


Photo by Hanen Boubahri on Unsplash

Contrary to common belief, Jackson didn’t purposely change his skin because “he hated being black.”

He suffered from Vitiligo, a skin condition characterized by depigmentation of the skin occurring in patches.

When he started changing, the media’s speculation that he wanted to look white affected his mental health a great deal.

After coming out however and explaining his condition, it was revealed that in an attempt to treat the condition, he used makeup to even out his skin. 

After it worsened, he started using creams to de pigment his skin so that he would appear to have an even skin tone.

4. Jackson was a philanthropist

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Michael was regarded as a prolific philanthropist and humanitarian. His early charitable work was described by the chronicle of philanthropy’ as something that “paved way for the current surge in celebrity philanthropy.”

It is estimated that he donated over $500 million to charity throughout his life. He was even recognized in the Guinness World Records for the breadth of his philanthropic work.

Much of what he donated is however not known since he often gave anonymously. In 1992 also, he established the ‘Heal the World Foundation’ to which he donated several million dollars in revenue from his tours.

5. He was one of the most influential Cultural Figures of the 20th Century

Michael Jackson- "Thriller"

Photo by Call Me Fred on Unsplash

Apart from making phenomenal music, Jackson’s stage presence and charisma made him unique.

Given he was the first great televisual entertainer, his creation brought about a different video screen presence. Adding that to how he would electrify a live audience, the Michael Jackson brand became so big within no time.

As retold by fellow artists he worked with, Jackson had a new art form of turning low-budget promotional clips into projects that would always blow up.

His creativity as showcased by the videos for “thriller,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat it” brought a new genre that combined every form of the 20th-century mass media: the music video.

His projects were both cinematic and had elements of live performance. His videos made MTV (Music Television) and ultimately changed the music industry.

The music industry had to do better and expand in order to accommodate Jackson’s talent. This shows how big of a deal his creations were in the music scene.

6. Michael loved helping Underprivileged Children

Children doing a peace sign in Vietnam

Children in Vietnam doing a peace sign- Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

Other than the monetary donations he often made, Jackson also had a habit of performing in benefit concerts.

He would give away tickets for regular concerts performances to groups specializing in aiding underprivileged children.

He often made hospital visits to sick children and opened his home for visits. He paid much attention to ensuring the provision of special facilities and nurses if the children needed that level of care.

7. Michael Jackson was awarded 3 different Presidential Awards

Photo by Ariel on Unsplash

In 1984, Jackson allowed his song, “Beat it” to be used for an anti-drunk driving campaign. To recognize his philanthropy, President Ronald Reagan bestowed the Presidential Public Safety Commendation upon Jackson.

Reagan’s speech stated that Michael “is proof of what a person can accomplish through a lifestyle free of alcohol or drug abuse.

People, young and old, respect that. And if Americans follow his example, then we can face up to the problem of drinking and driving, and we can, in Michael’s words, beat it.”

In 1990, Jackson was again recognized as ‘Artist of the Decade’ by President George Bush. On May 1st, 1992, two years later, President Bush again presented Jackson with an award acknowledging him as “a point of light ambassador.”

Michael received that award in recognition for his act of inviting disadvantaged children to his Neverland Ranch. Michael Jackson was the only entertainer to receive this award.

8. He once attempted to play the role of Spider-man

Spiderman Image

Image by Dusan Naumovski from Pixabay

In the late 1990s, Marvel Comics announced that it was filing for bankruptcy. Michael got the idea of purchasing it so that he could remake Spider-man the way he envisioned it.

He stated that he had intended to play the role of Spider-man although many fans and production leads were strongly against it.

9. Michael’s Net Worth became even more after his death

Sack of money image

Image by LediciaDesign from Pixabay

After his passing in 2009, Jackson’s total net worth skyrocketed to $2.1 billion. He ended up being considered as one of the most collectible celebrities in the world.

This is because several fans continue to devote themselves to collecting memorabilia related to him.

Items owned or connected to him are still being sold at private auctions, collecting several thousands of dollars.

That is inclusive of his popular and iconic red suit and white gloves that he was often spotted in.

10. Recognized by Forbes

Forbes Magazine

Forbes Magazine Building- Photo by Paul Sableman- Wikimedia

Given how his net worth shot up after his death and continues to, in 2018, Forbes Magazine ranked Michael as the highest-paid deceased celebrity in the world.

His earnings rose to $400 million posthumously and continued to hold the top spot on the list until the year 2020. By this time the earnings he made had reached over $48 million.

His net worth is considered even higher than other deceased icons like Frank Mercury, Kobe Bryant among others.

His retaining the number one spot since his death in 2009, shows how much of an impact he left behind.

11. He lived in a theme park

Photo by Matt Bowden on Unsplash

Although some people might think it odd, there are those that agree this is living quite the life. Michael Jackson turned his ranch home into a half-home, half-amusement park kind of living situation. The amusement park even had a petting zoo, roller coasters, railroads, bumper roads and a ferris wheel. Quite the life! He named his ranch ‘Neverland,’ after the fictional place that Peter Pan lives. This property was 3,000 acres and it has been speculated that he could have paid anywhere between $17 million to $30 million. At the moment, the property is worth $100 million.

12. Michael Jackson would take Llamas to the studio with him

I, Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned above, MJ had an amusement park in his ranch that even had a petting zoo area with many animals including two Ilamas that MJ considered very special. They were called Lola and Louis and they would visit the recording studio alongside Jackson. In fact during one session in 1983, as MJ was collaborating with Freddie Mercury, he brought them along. It caused a big uproar and soon became a regular occurrence that Mercury didn’t like at all. Amongst other reasons, it is said that this was also a contributing factor for not being able to complete songs during recordings.

13. He once appeared in a USSR commercial

Photo by Nagy Arnold on Unsplash

In 1988, MJ appeared in the first-ever Western advertisement commercial in the Soviet Union. At the time, the USSR was closed off from the rest of the world but somehow MJ managed to get through the Iron Curtain. After working with Pepsi company for many years, MJ was featured in their advertisements, and in the many years to come, they filmed one for the Soviet Union. Given the fact Pepsi had been sold across the USSR since the 1960s, it was one of the few Western brands that were allowed in the Soviet Union. The advert would showcase MJ performing ‘Bad’ and as much the singing wasn’t dubbed into Russian, it did have Cyrillic text on the screen. This worked for MJ because his music had been banned in the Soviet Union and so he wasn’t known as a celebrity. After the fall of the Soviet Union, however, he visited in 1993 and 1996 to perform now as a world-known celebrity.

14. His hair caught fire while filming a Pepsi commercial

Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

In January 1984, during a sixth take of the filming of a Pepsi commercial, pyrotechnics, in other words, fireworks, went off a bit too early and caught Michal Jackson’s hair. It became one of the most shocking and tragic moments in Michael Jackson’s life and became popularly known as ‘The Pepsi Accident.’ It left him with severe burns on his scalp and face unfortunately had a lasting impact on his physical and mental health.

15. Jackson has a medical center named after him

Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After the Pepsi fire accident, Jackson was left nursing several burns which required him to undergo rhinoplasty surgery, to cover the scarring. Pepsi covered the whole issue outside court by paying him and MJ donated $1.5 million to the medical center in California that treated his burns. As a thank you, the Brotman Medical Centre in California called the burns department after him and it is now popularly known as the ‘Michael Jackson Burn Centre.’

16. Michael Jackson was gifted a 5,000-pound elephant

Photo by Geranimo on Unsplash

It is so wild just to think someone going ahead to gift you an elephant. That’s exactly what happened to Michael Jackson in 1991 when he was gifted an Asian elephant by actress Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor gifted Jackson this unique and unheard-of gift because he allowed her to host her wedding on his ranch. MJ ended up calling the elephant Gypsy and it weighed around 5,000 lbs. That is roughly 2,268 kilograms.

17. In 1992 Michael Jackson was crowned king

Image by talpeanu from Pixabay

Imagine being loved so much by a people that you are crowned king just randomly. It sounds like it can be fun and adventurous at the same time. In 1992, MJ visited the West coast of Africa during his tour and he was warmly welcomed by the locals. They loved him so much that in one small village on the Ivory Coast, they decided to make him king. He was crowned King Sani and given the name, name Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh by the tribal chief. There was even a full ceremony held including traditional dances and drumming in the village of Krindjabo. He remained the King until his death. In an attempt to understand it all, it was said that his ancestry was from that part of the world and that he was the rightful heir to the Sanwi tribe. In fact, when he died, the chief requested Jackson’s body for an official burial for the king but his request was denied and instead Michael was buried in Southern California. Despite this, the local villagers held a two-day ceremony in his memory, and more than 1000 locals attended.

18. Michael Jackson Broke His Nose During a 1979 Dance Rehearsal

In 1979, while doing a dance rehearsal, soon after ‘Off The Wall,’ came out, Michael ended up breaking his nose. According to the many speculations that have been there, this became a catalyst of Jackson needing further nose jobs and likely put him down the path of plastic surgery. For the broken nose, he needed surgery to correct severe damage so that he would breathe properly again. Hi nose ended up changing so much during the next several months afther that incident.

19. He invented gravity-defying shoes

The U.S. National Archives, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

The famous MJ moonwalk dance and the ability to lean at what should most definitely be a near-impossible angle for humans was made possible by the gravity-defying shoes. The US patent number 5,255,452, was given to MJ to use for his famous performances and although he did not invent the moonwalk dance per se, he was an expert at it. The shoes had specially designed slots where they would clip into the stage so as to hold him in place while doing his stunt against gravity. The patent unfortunately expired in 2005 when Jackson missed a payment and so the design was out in the open.

20. Jackson became an action figure

MGEARTWORKS, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You read that right! Alongside the likes of Barbie and G.I Joe, there was a Michae Jackson children’s doll. In 1997, Street Life produced a Michael Jackson doll to sell to the European market. The design was MJ when he recorded the music video for ‘Black or White’ in 1991. It was then released to the European market, at the same time as Jackson’s History World Tour. There was also a singing version of this doll that would sing a clip from his famous Black or White hit. The doll showed Jackson dressed exactly as he was on the 1991 tour.

21. Michael Jackson once tried to buy Marvel Comics

Photo by Dev on Unsplash

In the late 1990s, Michael Jackson tried to purchase the popularly known comic book company, Marvel since the company had filed for bankruptcy, and naturally, Jackson was in the market. His main reason for wanting to purchase the company was so that he could feature as a superhero himself. As noted earlier, MJ was a big fan of Spiderman and he saw himself as being a great Spiderman for Marvel. Actually, this wasn’t his only attempt at trying to become a superhero seeing as how as soon as he heard there would be a new X-men movie, he showed interest in playing Professor X. He was however not chosen for the role either.

22. The mother of one of Jackson’s sons is unknown

Toglenn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In total, MJ had three children but one of them has an unknown mother. MJ had two marriages, the first was to the daughter of Elvis Presley, Lina Marie Presley which ended in divorce in 1996. He then had two other children with his second wife, Debbie Rowe, a nursing assistant. They named their son Michael Joseph Jackson and their daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Later on, MJ had another son that was named Prince Michael Jackson II. His mother’s identity was however not known and it has remained a mystery to date.

23. Jackson always took his pet chimpanzee on tours

By now we know that MJ had a great love for animals. It therefore doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that he took a chimpanzee pet, named him Bubbles and he would accompany him in all his tours. The move soon caught the attention of the media and soon after, people were comparing him to the likes of a Disney character that befriended a chimp.  Bubbles became MJ’s double and would be seen in every tour Jackson would be on. Jackson usually referred to him as his son. Bubbles retired in 2005, 4 years before Mj died. After his retirement, MJ used stand-in apes called Max and A.J.

24. Michael Jackson is the world’s most successful dead celebrity

The year MJ died was the most successful he had ever been. About 35 million copies of his albums were sold within the first 12 months after his death. Since his death, he has now made approximately $2.1 billion, half of the $4.2 billion he made while he was alive. In 2016, he made $825 million, hence breaking the record for the highest-earning celebrity in a single year. Then in 2018, he became the highest paid dead celebrity of the year, making $400 million.

25. Jackson’s animals have disappeared

After his death, it is unknown where many of his animals are. His petting zoo was closed down and no one knows where all those exotic animals went. Many of them were given to other zoos and other rehomes to private owners but some have just vanished entirely. Even more weird is that the pets or animals MJ was most fond of are the ones who cannot be accounted for. For instance, there’s no record of the whereabouts of his elephant, Gypsy.

As described in multiple entries and articles, Michael Jackson’s achievements helped get rid of racial segregation in the music scene in the U.S. He helped introduce an era of multiculturalism and integration that future generations of artists followed. He inspired fashion trends and even helped in raising awareness for social causes around the world. Michael Jackson will forever be a musical legend, despite his strange life. His music is catchy, with its sing-along capability with lyrics that stay with you. Jackson is a curious character that left many questions unanswered upon his death in 2009.

5 Reasons Fans Loved M.J.

1. He was a creative genius

Michael Jackson was a real artist who pushed the areas of dance and music. He was always experimenting with different sounds and styles and looking for new ways to advance and create. His originality and creativity served as an example for many other musicians and influenced the development of popular music.

2. His fashion sense was unique

Michael Jackson was known for his daring and unique sense of style. He created iconic looks that have come to be associated with his brand, from his iconic fedora hats to his dazzling gloves and jackets. His dress choices over the years have inspired countless fashion trends because they were always a reflection of his personality and music.

3. His personality was loveable

Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fans adored Michael Jackson’s unique personality which was sometimes hard to understand but somehow his fans would relate to him with deep understanding.   He was commonly described as shy and introverted, with a humorous and mischievous side. He had a fantastic sense of humour and was fun to watch in both interviews and public settings.

4. He was quite influential

MJJ-777, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Jackson had a significant impact on both music and popular culture. He was one of the first musicians to use his music to address social and political issues, breaking down racial barriers in the music business. He also invented music videos. His impact is still felt today, and he continues to serve as an inspiration to many musicians and fans all around the world.

5. He had unique choreography

Outstanding Facts About Michael Jackson

NCC-1701-Picard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Jackson was a true innovator who combined several styles and techniques to produce his signature dance moves, which is why his dance was so well-liked by the world.

His innovative dance moves, including the robot, the crotch grab, and the moonwalk, were unlike anything that had ever been seen before and are now used as inspiration by dancers all over the world. He became one of the best dancers of all time, solidifying his position as a pop culture legend with his spectacular performances and natural ability to move to the beat of his songs.

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