And not just any people, mind you, but the hugest celebrities in the world. Movie stars, supermodels, fellow recording giants, superstar athletes — they were all at Jackson's beck and call, mostly because he was the most famous man on the planet.
And his mega-celebrity came in handy when MJ wanted to make a music video. Because the King only did them one way: huge, loaded with eye-popping special effects, elaborate dance sequences and opulent set designs. His videos were mini-movies, they were events. And, accordingly, they needed stars.
Of course, the real star was always Michael Jackson. But over the course of three decades, he lined up a veritable galaxy of other luminaries to film cameos in his videos. And that became part of the event ... you didn't just tune in to the premiere of an MJ music video to see the dance moves or the visual fireworks (though, of course, you did,) you also tuned in to see just who he'd get to appear in that video.
Early on, it was former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray, who played Jackson's oft-terrified love interest in the iconic
In the video for the title track (directed, of course, by a dude named Martin Scorsese), an up-and-coming actor named Wesley Snipes starred as Jackson's foil, Mini Max.
In 1991, Jackson returned with his Dangerous album, and the first video,
Jackson broke the bank with 1995's
It's a pretty amazing list of cameos, for sure, and not just for the sheer wattage of stars Jackson assembled. When he put the call out, the biggest names in entertainment and sports came running — and they did so for nearly 30 years. To put it mildly, it's hard to imagine anyone being able to do that again, which is something we've found ourselves saying more and more since he passed away.
MTV will be paying tribute to MJ throughout the weekend with music videos, exclusive performances and calls and tweets from celebrity admirers and friends. For everything we've got on the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."
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