Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 to working-class African-American parents in Gary Indiana. Although musically talented, Michael's parents put aside their dreams to support their growing family.
Michael was the eighth of ten children in the Jackson family, he grew up with three sisters and five brothers.
He was just six years old when he made his professional debut in 1964 with older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon, as the youngest member of The Jackson 5.
The group was managed by their father, Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson, who was a former boxer and steelworker. While his other sons described him as a disciplined man, later in life, Michael would reveal the traumatic abuse he suffered at the hands of Joe Jackson.
For years, Joe physically and emotionally abused young Michael during rehearsals - often saying that he had a "fat nose."
The physical and emotional abuse would take a serious toll on the young performer, as an adult, he described his childhood as lonely and isolating.
Later in his adult life, Michael would suffer from nightmares, chronic sleep problems and develop a deep dissatisfaction with the way he looked - all consistent with the effects of child abuse.
In happier moments, Michael was a charming, brilliant performer. In the pictures above, Michael Jackson and Tatum O'Neal danced the night away at an event on the evening of July 4, 1979. The Jackson's hit single 'Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)' was number 7 on the charts and rising.
In the 1980s, Michael's health and appearance would take a dramatic turn...