His death was a front page story around the world, not just the US. Who, if they died tomorrow, could wipe him off the front page? I think some political leaders could, such as Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVIII, or Osama Bin Laden. Who else in entertainment could?
Madonna? She’s the same age as MJ and she was almost popular at her peak, although she wasn’t famous for as long.
Michael Jordan? How big is basketball internationally? Besides being the “greatest player ever,” he was a huge marketing force.
Tiger Woods? Shaquille O’Neal? Both are big pitchmen who are also larger than life in their sports.
David Beckham? He’s about the only soccer star with household name recognition in the US.
Tom Cruise? Britney Spears? Dunno about them.
Paul McCartney? He’s getting up there in age, but the Beatles are still huge. Although there wasn’t that big a fuss when George died. Paul was bigger than George, though.
Outside of world leaders, it is really hard to say who’s death would be international front page news if they died tomorrow. Michael Jackson is the biggest star death that I can remember. I was born just after Elvis died and was just a kid when Lennon died.
Oddly enough, I am going with Britney Spears. She was one of the most Googled names a few years ago and she is extreme tabloid matter even today. Plus, she is young and has lots of problems like Michael Jackson. All of that makes for a great train wreck story which people are always attracted to.
I honestly don’t think Oprah could do it. She’s not a particularly* international* star, is she? I don’t think the current Pope could. I’m thinking only Obama or Elizabeth II could eclipse Jacko. Paul McCartney is a good candidate, but he’s not nearly as weird. I don’t think any sports stars could do it.
I think MJ is pretty exceptional:
-Multi-generational fanbase, or at least people are aware of him
-Already a mainstay of gossip/tabloid columns
Macca, QE2, the Pope, and bin Laden are up in years. While it might be a surprise to see any of them go, it wouldn’t be a shock. Maybe Becks or Tiger? Still wouldn’t be as big, though.
I’m with dangermom. I’m not seeing Oprah overshadowing Michael. Nor any sports stars.
Obama, Bin Laden, the Pope, et cetera, I’m pretty sure would.
Britney Spears I’m undecided on. Did she have international appeal or was it just the U.S. that’s stuck with her?
Paul McCartney would completely overshadow him in every way. Everybody would say “Michael who?” if Macca died tomorrow.
His death is big? He hasn’t even barely been in the news for a few years.
I’ll be impressed when someone tops Princess Di’s death. That’s a metric to beat.
Any of the British Royal family but Brenda mostly
Based on my memories Elvis’ death created a bigger turmoil than Princess Diana.
How about Neil Armstrong? First man on the Moon and all that?
No, no, no.
No political figure can eclipse the death of an entertainer. Music and film are waaaay more personal and “closer” to peoples’ hearts than anyone involved in politics. Especially someone who was as controversial as Michael Jackson.
The death-cults of Elvis, James Dean, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and many other artists don’t have any analogous followings among anyone not involved in entertainment. The ONLY person who comes close is John F. Kennedy and even his death-cult is really more about the supposed conspiracy and events surrounding his assassination than about the man himself, so he barely even counts.
And anyway, Mandela, the Pope, etc, are already old and nobody would be shocked if they passed on of old age. Celebrities whose deaths create huge impacts tend to die rather suddenly and relatively young.
If Barack Obama were to die, like, this year, that would certainly eclipse anyone else, though. He’s the one exception. But he is more than a politician - he’s a cultural figure.
Get real, people.
This morning, three days after his death, Michael Jackson was the topic of the first 16 stories on CNN.com.
Do you really think that that would be the case with Tom Cruise, Madonna, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Michael Jordan…?
The only person who would come close to such overwhelming dominance of the news would be President Obama and I don’t think he would equal it.
I agree with Little Nemo, Mick Jagger has my vote for causing a media orgy.
Another one, only because it would be expected is Amy Winehouse.
Remember when John died, there was 10 minutes of silence observed around the world, including on many radio stations. They broke the silence by playing “Imagine”.