Michael Jackson passed away Thursday, June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California from an apparent cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old.
Known primarily as a music superstar of global proportions, the world of film has played a role in his life and career.
His first major, post-Jackson 5 project was a co-starring role in the 1978 film, The Wiz. He played The Scarecrow in the adaptation of the Broadway musical. His role in the film created an identity for him as a solo artist and gave him a bit of separation from his famous siblings.
Jackson rose to superstardom after the release of his 1982 album, Thriller, and this rise correlated with the rise of the music video. Jackson was one of the first stars to embrace this means of promotion, and often worked with big-name Hollywood directors on his videos.
The most famous pairing might be with John Landis on the video for the title track off his breakthrough album, “Thriller.” Clocking in at 13 minutes, it was more movie than video and is remembered even today as one of the landmark examples of the early days of music video.
Jackson would reteam with Landis for the video for “Black and White”. He would also team with Martin Scorsese for the video for “Bad,” Spike Lee on “They Don’t Care About Us,” and John Singleton on “Remember the Time.”