Michael Jackson, music industry icon, passed away yesterday, June 25th, after suffering a suspected heart attack. He was 50 years old.
Liza Minnelli spoke to Harry Smith at the CBS "The Early Show" this morning about the death of her good friend Michael Jackson. The recent Tony Award winner described how devastated she is about the loss of Jackson. "He was just a really splendid man," she remarked. "And a brilliant performer who changed theatrical history. And I will miss him, I cannot tell you."
Michael Jackson was a close friend of Liza Minnelli and was in her wedding party along with ElizaBeth Taylor when she married David Gest.
In a phenomenal, unparalleled career, Michael Jackson sold more than 750 million records, had 13 number one singles - more than any other male artist - and is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; once as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1997 and later as a solo artist in 2001. His numerous other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, including one for "Thriller" as the world's best-selling album of all time - 100 million copies and counting.
Jackson notably starred in the 1978 film adaptation of the musical THE WIZ. The singer played the Scarcrow alongside Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. The singer's work is currently represented onstage in London with "Thriller - Live!" a spectacular, high octane show celebrating both his career, and the Jackson 5.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958, the seventh child of the Jackson family. He made his professional debut at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group. Hailed as the "King of Pop" in subsequent years, five of his solo studio albums have become among the world's best-selling records: "Off the Wall" (1979), "Thriller" (1982), "Bad" (1987), "Dangerous" (1991) and "HIStory"(1995). An early star of MTV and the art of making pop videos, Michael broke down racial barriers, transformed the art of the music video and paved the way for modern pop music. 2008 marked the 25th anniversary of the "Thriller" album with the release of the double-disc album "Thriller 25", containing the original nine tracks from "Thriller", re-mixes and a new song called "For All Time". The album reached number one in eight countries, number two in the US, number three in the UK and was top 10 on over 30 national charts. To celebrate Michael's 50th birthday, Sony BMG released a compilation album, "King of Pop" which featured tracks voted for by his fans.