Jimmy Osmond about MJ
"MICHAEL REACHED A WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL OF CELEBRITY. HE DID THINGS THAT WERE SO REVOLUTIONARY AND SO ON THE EDGE. WE'VE NEVER GONE THERE."
-- Jimmy Osmond
Jimmy Osmond is the youngest of the Osmond Brothers. He once recalled playing football with the Jackson Five "in the corridors of a hotel, while 5,000 girls were out and screaming hysterically." And how as a young boy he would go swimming at Jackson's California home. Later he was a Broker for the BAD tour, and developed a different kind of friendship with Michael Jackson.
Jimmy (along with older brother Donny) was one of the few celebrities to go on public television to defend Michael during the trial. Devastatingly, Jimmy suffered a severe stroke over two years ago, and is now focusing on recovery.
Here is an insightful collection of quotes from various print media about the Michael Jackson he knew:
"We were always very friendly with The Jackson 5. I did eventually get to work with Michael for two years. I worked with him over a two year period during the Bad Tour and the release of the Bad album. I had always known Michael and we were always friendly, but to actually work with him was a real treat. We became close enough to have some really cool conversations. At the time I was heavily into producing other people, and he allowed me to work with him when there was another deal that was better than mine; but Michael wanted to work with me. By doing that he really opened up the floodgates of opportunity for me. He didn’t have to do that but he was really a kind hearted guy."
“The public perception of Michael is not always what is the truth. I worked with him for two years, raising finance for his tour of the Pacific Rim, and I got to know him in a personable way and he’s a wonderful man and he’s so misunderstood. But what is reality anyway?"
“We saw how phoney the business really was. Michael did, too. He knew that.”
“I was the guy that handled packaging and raising money for the tour but he could have done it with anybody... I think he just took pity on me” (laughs) – this was ‘the biggest grossing tour of ANY artist at that time."
“I don’t know. I think it’s interesting. Please protect me when you write this. Because I had so much respect for him and I’m grateful for the friendship we did have.”
"Michael Jackson could seem quite odd, but I think a lot of it was calculated to get media attention."
"The truth is. It is impossible to understand what it is like to be Michael Jackson. We all act based on our experience, on our own lives. There is a lot of pressure. It's like living in a fish bowl."
"He is a good person. He was in a weird business where sometimes you've got to create something unique to get attention for a specific project. Michael was just who he was. He was a media magnet, and he knew how to do things that were fun for him but yet were so out of the ordinary that he created such a stir. But he had the talent to back it up."
"I was there when Sal Bonafede, Lee Solters and Frank DiLeo plucked Wacko Jacko from Westside [Story], The Chamber, The Elephant Man's Bones...all of that."
"Whenever Michael had a meeting with his publicist he would allow me to sit in and listen. I would just sit there like a fly on the wall and listen to what was basically a master class on marketing."
“That level of success does change the way you think and the things you like. He can’t go out anywhere. Imagine that. Lazy journalism makes it impossible for him because every story is taken as gospel truth.”
"Quite similar in a weird way. Our Moms had the same birthday, and both Dads were kind of strong characters."
“Their mom is fantastic. A lot of similarities, though, in our families. The same number of performers."
"Because he took a shot with me in the past, and took a couple of my deals, he really blessed my personal life. He opened up a whole world of credibility for me, not only being a performer but brokering other high-end deals for performers."
"It was fun to go places with him and talk about how similar we were. Their Dad made them watch us on The Andy Williams Show and they hated that – no one wants to be compared. And my Dad would make us watch them! That was real funny. We’d laugh about how similar we were.”
“And Joe Jackson and George Osmond [their fathers] were both driven guys, you know; otherwise, they never would have pushed us to be the best we could be. A lot of people are critical about that. But the truth is, you don’t get anywhere without discipline in your life and having people around you that push you."
“Well, there’s a very dark and hard side to it all [being pushed as child performers]. But the truth is, everyone has those challenges. Whether you’re a plumber or you’re an entertainer.”
"It was a really cool thing to have worked with him. I felt bad later in life after we had done what we had done together, that we didn’t really keep in touch like I wish that we had. But sometimes you get intimidated, and I was a little intimidated when someone reaches that level. I thought that Michael wouldn’t have wanted to hear from me but I also felt that there really was a connection between us. He connected with my brother Donny as well but our connection was a bit different. It wasn’t that we just exchanged life experiences; Michael was a business man and that is something that I have always tried to be and so it was fun to be collaborating at that level because the guy was a master marketer."
"It always hurt my feelings when the media wasn't very kind to him. He was very misunderstood. All my interactions with him were very positive, very appropriate. And very kind and loving."
"I remember after he was acquitted from all that craziness [Jackson faced child molestation charges in 2005], I phoned him and said congratulations buddy, so glad that people saw the light, that you're a good person. I feel bad now that I didn't really reconnect with him. I wasn't the best friend, though he'd blessed my life so much financially. When I heard he'd died I felt so sad that was a friendship that was undone."
“Michael was a great guy. It was so sad how he ended up.”
‘I know he had [painkiller] issues that way. I knew he was in a lot of pain and I was super-sad for him in many ways."
"I knew him as a wonderful person. A very forgiving, loving man. A great musican. But, you know, a great person... someone that really cared about people in the world."
Once, on a flight — one of the last times they were together — Michael asked Jimmy wistfully how the Osmonds had managed to keep their family together.