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Joe Jackson (1928 – 2018), Jackson family patriarch

by Kirk Fox

Father of Michael and Janet Jackson…

Joe Jackson, the patriarch and longtime manager of the musical Jackson family, died today at the age of 89, according to TMZ and multiple news sources.

Born July 26, 1928, Jackson initially worked in the steel mills of northwest Indiana. But when his children began showing musical talent and forming singing groups together, he became their manager. His three oldest sons, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, were the first to perform, going under the name the Jackson Brothers. Later, Marlon and Michael joined the band, and they became known as the Jackson 5.


Jackson shepherded his sons through their growing fame, taking them from amateur competitions to professional gigs and eventually to a record deal with Motown Records. As Michael became a breakout star and the rest of the Jackson 5 followed, Joe began managing the careers of their other siblings, including Randy, Rebbie, La Toya and Janet. Each eventually pursued a solo career, with Janet achieving particularly great fame.

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As the Jackson children grew up and their careers grew with them, the world began to learn more about their life behind the fame. Joe Jackson allegedly exerted stifling control over their careers that Michael and some of his siblings claimed included physical as well as mental abuse. Joe Jackson denied that he was abusive, but he admitted to physically punishing his children. Michael famously forgave his father, holding an annual “Joseph Jackson Day” at his Neverland Ranch; some of the siblings remained estranged from their father, while others refuted the allegations of abuse entirely.

Joe Jackson was portrayed on film by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs on the 1992 miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” and by Frederic Tucker on the 2004 VH1 biopic “Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story.”

In July 2015, Jackson was hospitalized after having a stroke that left him temporarily blind.

His grandson, Randy Jackson Jr., tweeted a tribute, “RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you grandpa.”

His daughter Latoya also paid tribute on Twitter. “I will always love you! You gave us strength, you made us one of the most famous families in the world. I am extremely appreciative of that, I will never forget our moments together and how you told me how much you cared. #RIP Joe Jackson.”

Jackson was preceded in death by two of his sons, Michael and Brandon, who was stillborn. He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and his children, Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Steven, Janet and Joh’Vonnie.

We invite you to share condolences for Joe Jackson in his Guest Book.

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