Katherine Jackson

Katherine Jackson
Kattie B. Screws

(1930-05-04) May 4, 1930 (age 90)
(m. 1949; died 2018)
Children9 (see below)

Katherine Esther Jackson (née Screws; May 4, 1930) is the matriarch of the Jackson family, an American family of entertainers.

Early life

Jackson was born as Kattie B. Screws[1][2] on May 4, 1930 in Clayton, Alabama to Martha (née Upshaw; December 14, 1902 – April 29, 1990) and Prince Albert Screws (October 16, 1907 – January 21, 1997). The elder of two daughters, Jackson contracted polio at age two, which left her with a noticeable permanent limp. In 1934, her father changed his surname to 'Scruse', and renamed his daughter "Katherine Esther".[2]

As a child, Jackson aspired to become an actress or country singer, but was dismayed to find no notable black country stars. Jackson's parents divorced when she was still a child. Jackson joined her high school band while a student at Washington High School in East Chicago, Indiana. In 1947, she met Joseph "Joe" Jackson, a fellow resident of East Chicago. Joseph began dating Katherine after obtaining an annulment of his earlier marriage. The couple married on November 5, 1949 after dating for a year. In January 1950, they purchased a two-bedroom house in Gary. During the couple's early years in Gary, they sang together, with Joe playing guitar. After the end of Joe's boxing career, he continued working at nearby East Chicago's Inland Steel Company. From 1950 until 1966, Jackson gave birth to 10 children, including twins Marlon and Brandon, the latter of whom died a few hours after birth.

Jackson family

Joe eventually enlisted Michael and older brother Marlon into the group not as vocalists, but as backing instrumentalists, playing percussion. In 1966, Joe began to see seven-year-old Michael's overall talents two years after Jackson's discovery. Beforehand, Michael had performed onstage without his father's knowledge at several school recitals starting at five. By the end of 1966, Michael was positioned as the second frontman of the group after Jermaine. Acting on advice from a schoolteacher in 1965, Joe changed the group's name to The Jackson Five. In 1967, after winning several talent shows in Gary, Joe Jackson decided to make the group a professional act when Gordon Keith, an owner and vocalist at Gary's Steeltown Records, discovered and signed them to their first contract with him on November 21. Their first single, "Big Boy",[3] produced by Keith, was released on January 31, 1968.[4] "Big Boy" became a local hit, playing on radio stations in the Chicago-Gary area. During the Jackson 5's 1970–71 heyday, Jackson – along with her three daughters and youngest son – was barely mentioned in the press. This changed in 1974 when Joe began building careers around his three younger children and eldest daughter. Jackson started to become part of her husband's management team when the grown-up members of the group (which renamed themselves The Jacksons after splitting from Motown in 1975) reunited for the Victory Tour in 1984. Michael dedicated his 1982 album Thriller to her. Janet Jackson did the same following the release of her 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814, the first album where she was not under the watchful eye of her father following the success of Control, as Janet had fired him months after its release. In 1985, acknowledging what was then a positive impact on her children's successful music careers, national urban magazine Essence honored her as "Mother of the Year".

Jackson filed for divorce in March 1973, but chose to rescind the divorce papers.[5] In August 1974, Joe and Cheryl Terrell's daughter, Joh'Vonnie Jackson, was born. Jackson would again file for divorce in 1982, but again would rescind the papers. Joe and Katherine would go on to live separately, but remain legally married until Joe's death in 2018.[6] In 1990, Jackson released her autobiography, My Family, The Jacksons, which documented her early years and her relationship with her husband and their children, eight of whom wrote salutes to their mother in the book's foreword.[7]

In 1980, Jackson and her two youngest children, Randy and Janet, confronted a woman who worked for Joseph's company, whom Jackson had often reportedly accused of cheating with Joseph.[6] The incident was redramatized for the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream. However, in the miniseries, Jackson was shown confronting Joseph instead of the woman about the alleged incident. During the late 1980s, Jackson began experiencing an estrangement from her daughter La Toya after she was being managed by Jack Gordon. In her 1991 memoir La Toya: Growing Up in the Jackson Family, La Toya alleged that Jackson was emotionally abusive, charges Jackson denied and blamed La Toya's husband for "brainwashing" her. In 1997, La Toya and her mother reconciled after she filed for divorce from Gordon. Jackson was portrayed by Angela Bassett in the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream. Patricia Idlette portrayed her in the 2004 film Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story.

Recent years

Jackson has spent the last couple of decades talking to the press defending her children, mainly Michael, who began to gain notoriety. In an interview promoting her Michael Jackson vip Book/DVD on The Oprah Winfrey Show, however, Jackson acknowledged that she got her husband to admit to physically disciplining their children.[8] Over the years, some claimed that Joe was abusive towards his children, which he continually denied. As of 2011, Jackson resided with her grandson T. J. Jackson, along with his family, at her home in Calabasas, California. Jackson had moved out of her Hayvenhurst home in Encino, California, due to house renovations.[9][10]

Jermaine Jackson related in his 2011 memoir You Are Not Alone: Michael Through a Brother's Eyes, that Jackson had told her children that she had wanted to see them perform together one last time. One of Michael Jackson's future plans as part of his deal with AEG Live was a final reunion tour with his brothers. She most recently appeared at the BET Awards 2015 with her daughter Janet as she accepted the Ultimate Icon Award. Joe Jackson died from pancreatic cancer on June 27, 2018, aged 89.[11][12]

Death of Michael Jackson

On June 25, 2009, Michael died from cardiac arrest and an overdose of propofol. In July 2009 Katherine and Debbie Rowe, the mother of Michael's two oldest children, reached a settlement pertaining to the care of her children, Prince and Paris, in which the children will be raised by Katherine, and Rowe will have visitation rights and continue to receive the yearly payments to which Michael had agreed. On August 3, 2009, a judge named Jackson as the children's permanent guardian. On July 25, 2012, Jackson's guardianship of the children was suspended by the court amid allegations that she may have been held against her will by several Jackson family members as a result of a financial dispute between those family members and Michael's estate.[13] Guardianship of the children was temporarily given to Michael's nephew, TJ, one of Tito's sons.[14] Katherine Jackson's guardianship resumed with T.J. Jackson added as a co-guardian.[15][16] On November 1, 2017, Jackson resigned as co-guardian of Michael's youngest son, Blanket. Jackson stated her reasons for resigning included her own advanced age, the fact that Michael's oldest children Prince and Paris Jackson were now adults, and that Blanket was now 15 years old. TJ Jackson was, without objection, awarded sole custody of Blanket.[17]


Ten children — seven sons and three daughters — were born to Katherine and Joe Jackson:[7]


  1. ^ Biography
  2. ^ a b Jackson Source
  3. ^ Big Boy, 40th Anniversary http://www.jackson5abc.com/steeltown/
  4. ^ [1] 45 RPM Records
  5. ^ J. Randy Taraborrelli (15 July 2009). Michael Jackson:: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story 1958-2009. Grand Central Publishing. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-0-446-56568-4.
  6. ^ a b Donald Bogle (6 June 2017). Elizabeth and Michael: The Queen of Hollywood and the King of Pop—A Love Story. Simon and Schuster. pp. 158–. ISBN 978-1-4516-7698-3.
  7. ^ a b Jackson, Katherine; Rich Wiseman (1990). My Family, the Jacksons. St. Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0-312-92350-3.
  8. ^ Gina Serpe (8 November 2010). "Michael Jackson's Kids, Parents Join Oprah: Talk Plastic Surgery, Beatings and...French Toast?". eonline.com.
  9. ^ Taylor, Candace (20 June 2014). "Michael Jackson's Estate Buys in Calabasas for $10.75 Million". Retrieved 24 October 2016 – via Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ David, Mark (27 March 2011). "Kathryn Jackson Takes Her Grandbabies to Calabasas". variety.com. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Joe Jackson Dead at 89".
  12. ^ "Joe Jackson, father of Michael and Janet Jackson, dead at 89". Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  13. ^ "Katherine Jackson loses custody of MJ's kids". Firstpost.com. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
  14. ^ "Judge suspends Katherine Jackson as guardian of Michael Jackson's children". Cnn.com. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  15. ^ Duke, Alan (2 August 2012). "Katherine Jackson resumes guardianship of Michael Jackson's children". Cnn.com. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Autopsy Report for Michael Jackson" (PDF). Autopsyfiles.org. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
  17. ^ Katherine Jackson resigns as Blanket Jackson's co-guardian

External links

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