• Slideshow Photos

    Henry Diltz

    Michael Jackson in a Butterfly Collar Shirt

    Michael Jackson’s life and career

    Click to see pictures from the highs and lows of Michael Jackson's career.

  • Michael Jackson in a Butterfly Collar Shirt

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    Little boy Michael -

    Jackson was just 12 when this picture was taken in May 1971, but his career was already stratospheric. Berry Gordy had signed the Jackson 5 to Motown Records in 1968, and Michael and his brothers had already topped the charts with "ABC" and "I'll Be There." It was a bright start for the boy from Gary, Ind.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • FILE PHOTO:  Michael Jackson Hospitalized

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    Signs of success -

    Michael Jackson, far left, and the rest of the Jackson Five; the five brothers from Indiana were signed to Berry Gordy's Motown record label pose in 1972.

    Getty Images file / Getty Images file
  • The Jackson 5 Performing

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    All in the family -

    The Jackson 5 performs in Los Angeles on a 1970s Bob Hope TV special. Michael continued to front the band, but his solo career was already on the rise, starting with 1971's "Got to Be There."

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Michael Jackson At Opening Of Wiz

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    A wonderful Wiz -

    Michael Jackson at the opening of "The Wiz." The 1978 movie musical was the first time Michael worked with legendary producer Quincy Jones, who would soon produce Jackson's breakout solo album, "Off the Wall," and eventually the "Thriller" album as well. Jackson's "Wiz" co-star was friend and mentor Diana Ross, who had introduced the world to the Jackson 5 back in 1969.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Michael Jackson Singing

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    Wanna be startin' somethin'? -

    Michael Jackson performs in concert during a 1981 tour with his brothers. During the tour Michael began writing down ideas for a solo project that blossomed into the highest-selling album of all time.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Image: Diana Ross and Michael Jackson

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    Michael Jackson and Diana Ross hold their American Music Awards in L.A. Jackson won for favorite soul album and Ross won for favorite female soul vocalist.

    AP / AP
  • Michael Jackson with <Thriller> Zombies

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    Fright night -

    Michael Jackson stands with a group of dancers dressed as zombies while filming his 1983 video "Thriller." "Thriller" was revolutionary in the music industry. The zombie-themed minimovie put MTV on the map and essentially confirmed music videos as an art form of their own. The album sold 25 million copies in the United States alone.

    Corbis / Sygma / Corbis / Sygma
  • Michael Jackson Performing

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    Moment of stardom -

    Michael Jackson performs the moonwalk for the first time on television's "Motown 25," a tribute to Berry Gordy. The dance move that would become Michael's trademark stunned viewers and the crowd, and marked his imminent crowning as the King of Pop.

    Corbis / Corbis
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    Handfuls of glory -

    With Quincy Jones at his side, Michael Jackson holds six of the eight awards he won for "Thriller" at the 1984 Grammy Awards. His outfit, complete with epaulettes, sequined glove and dark shades, became a quintessential Michael look.

    AP / AP
  • Reagans and Michael Jackson at Ceremony

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    Role model -

    During a May 1984 ceremony at the White House, Michael Jackson accepts a Presidential Award from President Reagan as First Lady Nancy Reagan looks on. Jackson was honored as a model for American youth, and for lending his hit song "Beat It" to a new campaign against drunk driving.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • MICHAEL JACKSON

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    A scary day -

    Michael Jackson, background, is seen with his hair on fire during a taping of a Pepsi TV commercial in Los Angeles on February 1984 as brother Jermaine Jackson, foreground, continues to perform, apparently unaware of the situation.

    AP / AP
  • Michael Jackson is lead through a crowd by policeman

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    LONDON-1985: Michael Jackson is lead through a crowd by policeman on a promotionial tour of Great Britain in London.(Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)UK NEWSPAPERS OUT WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT FROM DAVE HOGAN. PLEASE CONTACT SALES TEAM WITH ENQUIRIES

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Stars Singing at Awards Show

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    They were the world -

    In January 1985, a who's-who of the music and movie worlds came together to sing "We Are The World," written to benefit famine victims in Ethiopia. Michael Jackson can be seen front and center, along with Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, and dozens of other stars. Michael's sister Janet can be seen bottom right.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Van Halen Jackson

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    Victory lap -

    Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, left, makes a July 1984 guest appearance during Michael Jackson's Victory Tour concert in Irving, Texas. Van Halen had recorded the now immortal guitar riff on "Beat It," to the displeasure of bandmate David Lee Roth, but to the delight of nearly everyone else.

    AP / AP
  • Michael Jackson and His Dancers in Concert

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    Who's bad? -

    Michael Jackson and his dancers in concert during a 1987 Tokyo concert on Jackson's "Bad" tour. The previous year, he had starred in the 3-D film "Captain EO," one of the most expensive short films ever. But Jackson had begun to draw more criticism as his albums and videos grew costlier and more infrequent. His next album, "Dangerous," wouldn't arrive until 1991.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Cameraman Photographing Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey

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    A difficult year -

    A cameraman photographs Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey in January 1993. This was the year Jackson was first accused of child molestation, and he took an opportunity on a 90-minute Oprah TV special to address the charges. The criminal allegations eventually were dropped, but Jackson reportedly paid as much as $25 million to settle the claims.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Michael Jackson in Performance

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    Black and white at the Super Bowl -

    Michael Jackson gives a performance with 30,000 children during the Super Bowl XXVIII halftime show, on January 31, 1993, in Pasadena, Calif. Despite allegations against him, Jackson's career had regained momentum with hits like "Black or White" and "Remember the Time," and the "Dangerous" album was a multi-platinum seller.

    Corbis / Corbis
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    Michael Jackson and French mime Marcel Marceau clowning for the cameras at the Beacon Theatre in New York on Dec. 4, 1995.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley at Neverland Ranch

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    Power marriage -

    Michael Jackson and his wife Lisa Marie Presley are seen at Neverland Ranch in preparation of the Children's World Summit in April 1995. Presley would file for divorce less than a year later, prompting speculation about just what had inspired the relationship.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Image: Michael Jackson

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    Golden man -

    Michael Jackson performs on stage during is "HIStory" world tour concert at Ericsson Stadium in November 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • JACKSON AND HIS SECOND WIFE FILED FOR DIVORCE

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    Marriage 2.0 -

    Just months after his divorce from Lisa Marie, Michael Jackson walked back up the aisle with Debbie Rowe. This wedding photo was released by Jackson's publicist minutes after the Nov. 13, 1996, ceremony in Sydney, Australia. But the pairing was less about romance and more about bearing Jackson a child, and the two would divorce three years later, with Rowe eventually ceding parental rights to Jackson.

    Reuters / Corbis / Reuters / Corbis
  • MICHAEL JACKSON AND ELIZABETH TAYLOR ARRIVE AT CONCERT

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    Best of friends -

    Michael Jackson and actress Elizabeth Taylor arrive at a Sept. 7, 2001, concert celebrating the 30 years of Jackson's career. The two stars had been longtime friends, and Taylor is godmother to two of Michael's children.

    Reuters / Corbis / Reuters / Corbis
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    (FILES) Photo dated November 13, 2002 shows US entertainer Michael Jackson testifying in Santa Maria, Calif. Superior Court in a trial in which he is accused of cancelling concert appearances, costing the promoter several million dollars.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • MICHAEL JACKSON IS PHOTOGRAPHED DURING TIMES SQUARE APPEARANCE

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    Not so invincible -

    Michael Jackson poses for photographers during a Nov. 2001 appearance in New York's Times Square. Jackson made his first ever in-store appearance to promote his new album, "Invincible," which was released Oct. 30. "Invincible," at the time the most expensive album ever produced, fared better with critics and fans than 1995's "HIStory," but questions began to surface about the future of Jackson's career.

    Reuters/Corbis / Reuters/Corbis
  • MICHAEL JACKSON HOLDS A CHILD IN BERLIN

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    One big mistake -

    Michael Jackson holds a towel-covered Prince Michael II over the balcony of a Berlin hotel on Nov. 19 2002. Jackson later called the incident a "terrible mistake," but the image of him dangling his baby son out a window shocked even many die-hard fans. And his reputation was to receive far worse damage just a few months later.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • BOOKING MUG OF MICHAEL JACKSON

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    Arresting development -

    Michael Jackson is pictured in this Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department mug shot from Nov. 20, 2003. In a February 2003 documentary, Jackson acknowledged letting boys sleep in his bed. Soon after, Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon launched a probe into allegations that Jackson had molested a teen boy who appeared in the program. Authorities raided Neverland Ranch in November, and Jackson surrended for arrest days later.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • File photo of Michael Jackson and sisters LaToya and Janet Jackson walking over to greet fans during a lunch break at a pretrial hearing in Santa Maria

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    Family support -

    Michael, center, and sisters LaToya, left and Janet Jackson walk over to greets fans during a lunch break at a pretrial hearing in Santa Maria, Calif. in this Aug. 16, 2004 file photo.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Michael Jackson wears pajama pants and is aided by bodyguards upon arrival

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    MJ's PJs -

    Michael Jackson wears pajama pants and is aided by bodyguards after arriving more than an hour late to court on Mar. 10, 2005, during his trial on the 2003 molestation charges. Jackson appeared after Judge Rodney Melville threatened to revoke his bail.

    pool via Reuters / pool via Reuters
  • World Music Awards 2006 - Show

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    Singin' with the kids -

    Michael Jackson sings with some of his young fans at the World Music Awards at Earls Court in London on Nov. 16, 2006.

    WireImage / WireImage
  • U.S. Singer Michael Jackson visits to Camp Zama

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    Fans in uniform -

    Michael Jackson receives a letter of appreciation from Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, the garrison commander of Camp Zama, on March 10, 2007 in Zama, Japan. Michael greeted thousands of U.S. troops and their family members at the U.S. Army base.

    U.S. Army via Getty Images / U.S. Army via Getty Images
  • Michael Jackson walks with kids Prince and Paris through a studio parking lot in Los Angeles

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    Father figure -

    Michael Jackson walks with kids Prince and Paris through a studio parking lot in Los Angeles in March 2009. The singer had been spotted with his entourage going to a studio on a cold rainy day in the city. The pop star stayed at the studio for more than two hours, and there were many production people working around him, suggesting that the star was filming.

    Splash News / Splash News
  • Fans take pictures of an electronic scre

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    Concert tour planned -

    Fans take pictures of an electronic screen projecting a press conference by Michael Jackson at the O2 arena in London on March 5, 2009. The pop megastar announced he would play a series of comeback concerts in London in July, his first major shows in more than a decade.

    AFP/Getty Images / AFP/Getty Images
  • Image: Michael Jackson

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    Reaching for redemption -

    Jackson, center, is shown in Los Angeles on May 6 during rehearsals for his planned concert tour in London. "He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit," said Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde. "People might have started to think of him again in a different light."

    Discuss the life and impact of Michael Jackson in PhotoBlog.

    Courtesy of Michael Jackson via / Courtesy of Michael Jackson via