Michael was the seventh of nine children (Janet and Randy are younger). They grew up in a two-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana. The six boys slept in one room, while the three girls shared the other with the parents, Joe and Katherine.
Here are the siblings, in order of birth: Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Michael, Randy and Janet.
He was married twice, first to Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie from 1994-1996, then to his former housekeeper Debbie Rowe from 1996-1999.
Lisa Marie explained, "We probably connected because our lives were different to most other people." She said that their marriage fell apart when it became clear that he wanted her to be part of his public life, whereas she shied away from the spotlight.
He had two children from his marriage to Debbie Rowe: Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Macaulay Culkin is their godfather. His third son, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson II (nicknamed "Blanket), was born to a surrogate mother.
The actress Elizabeth Taylor was his best friend. She is the godmother of his son, Prince.
His idols included Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelley, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, The Three Stooges and Walt Disney.
Here's his connection with tennis player John McEnroe: his first date was with actress Tatum O'Neal, the daughter of Ryan O'Neal, who went on to marry and divorce McEnroe.
As a teenager, he had terrible acne which made him very self-conscious.
The "King of Pop" moniker was Jackson's idea, and his label tried to talk him out of it because they thought it would backfire. In the Songfacts interview with Dan Beck
, who was in the marketing department of Epic Records at the time, he explained: "Our feeling was that radio was going to just roll their eyes and say, 'Screw you!' This was around the time of Dangerous
, the late '80s and beginning of the '90s, and here was a guy that the tabloids were starting to talk about his skin color, they were starting to talk about the plastic surgery and the Elephant Man and the hyperbaric chamber – I guess those were probably the first four aspects of Michael starting to take hits in the media."
He suffered from a disease called vitiligo, and he also is allergic to to much sunlight. That's why he wore sunglasses in public and usually had an umbrella with him. (thanks, Johnny - Geneva, Switzerland)
In 1985, Jackson made perhaps his best financial decision when he bought the publishing rights to most Beatles songs for $47.5 million, using money from the profits of Thriller. This ended his friendship with Paul McCartney, who felt betrayed by Jackson.
In 1984, he was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame directly in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
On June 25, 2009, Jackson collapsed at his rented mansion in Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating him by his personal physician were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at the UCLA Medical Center at 2:26 p.m. local time. Jackson had been preparing for his This Is It tour, a series of 50 concerts to be held at London's 02 Arena beginning July 8. It was to be his first tour since 1997. (thanks, Steven - La Quinta, CA)
His memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009 was a major event, with most TV networks covering it and many celebrities speaking at the service. 17,500 tickets were made available to the public, and more than 1.2 million people signed up for a lottery to get them.
Michael Jackson's famous crystal-studded glove was actually just a modified golf glove.
Michael Jackson was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and was active until his disassociation in 1987. Despite his tremendous fame and great fortune, the Thriller star was still door-to-door proselytizing for his faith twice a week in the mid-1980s and regularly attending meetings at Kingdom Hall with his mother when he was in town.
The actor Marlon Brando was one of Jackson's best friends who would sometimes visit him at Neverland Ranch. Even Brando's son, Miko, was a bodyguard for Jackson for several years and recalled that his dad was treated well by the King of Pop. Brando had breathing problems later in his life and if by some chance he wanted to move around Neverland, Jackson would attach a portable oxygen tank to a golf cart that they would cruise around the ranch in as a means to keep Brando from losing breath.