Saturday, December 11, 2010
Only one thing could bring together the former first lady and reigning pop star: books. William Kuhn on the story of how Jackie, a book editor at Doubleday, got Jackson to write Moonwalk—and how he almost killed the whole deal.
“They both actually talked the same,” remembered Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. Michael Jackson talked “in that same breathy voice” Jackie sometimes used. Nevertheless, it wasn’t Jackson’s idea to approach Jackie about editing his autobiography, which became Moonwalk in 1988.
Nor was it the sort of project Jackie would have proposed to do on her own. Bill Barry remembered of the Jackson autobiography that Jackie “took one for the home team”; the book for her was “an exercise in pure for-proﬁt responsibility” and one that he “suspected she came to regret.” The journalist Hillel Italie described the book as the “classic celebrity project,” because it wasn’t written or conceived by Jackson himself.
Rather, it was an idea that originated at Doubleday, and Jackie agreed to sponsor it. One of the unspoken expectations at Doubleday was that the publisher might support the more speculative books that she was passionate about if every once in a while she agreed to go after a commercial book that might generate signiﬁcant proﬁt.
Full piece at The Book Beast.