A dual biography of entertainment legends Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson that explores their individual careers and personal lives leading up to and including their 25-year friendship.
There was no end to the media coverage shadowing Taylor and Jackson throughout much of their lives. In this exhaustively researched new book, Bogle (Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters, 2011, etc.) revisits some of the familiar details but with a fresh and fair-minded perspective. His intent is not to expose startling new facts or dish on the more lurid rumors but rather to provide some clarity regarding their more vulnerable human qualities. The author devotes the first two-thirds of the book to their individual stories leading up to their first encounter. Through alternating chapters, he traces how both had achieved fame, along with the associated consequences, at very early stages in their lives; each was to remain in the increasingly bright though frequently harsh spotlight for the rest of their lives, as masters and victims of their stardom. Taylor attracted attention onscreen through memorable performances in such films as A Place in the Sun (1951) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and off-screen through her numerous marriages and love affairs, along with multiple ailments and life-threatening illnesses. She later found her most satisfying work through her efforts promoting AIDS awareness and research as co-founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Jackson experienced immediate fame as lead singer of the Jackson 5 and later achieved record-breaking triumphs as a solo artist with his many hit albums. Yet controversy stalked him throughout his later career with reports of child molestation, drug use, and threats of financial ruin. Their meeting in 1984 would prove a highpoint for each, quickly establishing a mutual devotion that would serve to nourish their lives throughout their remaining years. Devoted fans of either star may be familiar with much of this material, but they will appreciate the balance and compassion underscoring Bogle’s treatment.
A grounded and consistently absorbing biography.