Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press


The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson

by Randall Sullivan

“The first deep-dive narrative by a veteran journalist covering the King of Pop’s convoluted final years on earth . . . [Untouchable] helps cast Jackson in a new light.” —Los Angeles Times

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 800
  • Publication Date March 11, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4582-6
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $20.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 800
  • Publication Date November 06, 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-1962-9
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $35.00

About The Book

From longtime Rolling Stone contributing editor and journalist Randall Sullivan comes Untouchable, an intimate, unflinching, deeply human portrait of Michael Jackson, from his childhood to the heights of stardom, with specific attention to the final four-year odyssey of his tumultuous adult life. Untouchable is the definitive biography of a global icon.

When Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009, millions of fans around the world were shocked. Many of them gathered at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, at the Jackson family homes in Los Angeles and Gary, Indiana, and in cities across the globe to grieve for a star whose music is universally recognized as timeless.

Jackson was the most talented, richest, and most famous pop star on the planet. But the outpouring of emotion that followed his loss was bittersweet. Dogged by scandal for years and undone by his own tendency to trust the wrong people, Jackson had become untouchable in many quarters, which wounded him deeply. Untouchable takes readers into the reality of a Michael Jackson they have never met—a man who, from his childhood under the constant glare of the spotlight to his fall from grace, had always been alone and who, in the wake of a criminal trial that left him briefly hospitalized and broken in spirit, abandoned Neverland to wander the globe without a home.

Jackson shuttled from Bahrain, where he was the guest of a prince who later ended up suing him, to Ireland, where he lived for a few brief months a quiet domestic life, until his attempts to work on a comeback album brought the paparazzi and shattered his peace. With his return to the United States—to homes in Las Vegas and Los Angeles—his attempt to recapture his wealth and reputation would begin in earnest, with a financial bailout for his massive debt and plans for a series of fifty megaconcerts for which he was rehearsing until his death. The Jackson that emerges in these pages is both naive and deeply cunning, a devoted father whose parenting decisions created international outcry, a shrewd businessman whose failures nearly brought down a megacorporation, and an inveterate narcissist who wanted more than anything a quiet, solitary, normal life.

Randall Sullivan delivers never-before-reported information about Jackson’s business dealings, his relationship with his family, and the pedophilia allegations that irreparably marked his reputation and changed him personally, as well as the inside story on the guardianship of his children, the foundations of his estate—whose value has grown dramatically since his death—and whether anyone besides Conrad Murray will be held to account for his death. Based on exclusive access to inner-circle figures including former attorneys, business partners, managers, as well as advisors to Michael’s mother Katherine, the guardian of his children. Untouchable is an intimate, unflinching, deeply human portrait of the life and afterlife of Michael Jackson, a man of uncountable contradictions who continues to reign as the King of Pop.


“A dishy Michael Jackson biography that makes the exhaustively covered King of Pop fascinating all over again.” —People

“The first deep-dive narrative by a veteran journalist covering the King of Pop’s convoluted final years on earth . . . [Untouchable] helps cast Jackson in a new light.” —Los Angeles Times

“A tale of family, fame, lost childhood, and startling accusations never heard before.” —ABC Nightline


Michael Jackson’s “30th Anniversary” concerts were to be staged at Madison Square Garden, and he wanted his family to attend in special box seats. The Jacksons insisted that they should receive “appearance fees” of $250,000 apiece. Just days before the first concert, though, Jermaine Jackson read that his brother would make as much as $10 million from the two concerts and convinced his parents that Michael should pay the them another $500,000 apiece if he wanted them in the audience.

The day before their scheduled departure for New York, Joe, Katherine, and Jermaine Jackson, showed up at Neverland saying they had new contracts they needed Michael to sign. Michael told the guards to tell them he wasn’t at the ranch. “I’m his father,” Joe told the guards. “I need to use the bathroom. His mother needs to use the bathroom. Let us in.”

As soon as Joe, Katherine, and Jermaine were through the gate, they drove to the house and “they literally ransacked the place,” Jackson’s business partner Marc Schaffel remembered.

Michael retreated with his kids to a hiding place that was concealed behind a secret door at the back of his bedroom closet and phoned Schaffel in tears. “You see what they do to me? Do you understand now why I don’t want anything to do with my brothers?” Michael asked. “Do you understand now why I’m the way I am? How else could I be?”