1978 - August 22: Interview with Randy Taraborrelli PDF Print E-mail

On politics:

"I don't know much about politics. Nothing, I guess. Someone told me recently that Gerald Ford was president. [laughs] I remember when he was vice-president. That I remember. But president? [shrugs] That I missed.”

On what he saw as his biggest professional challenge:

"To live up to what Joseph expects of me. […] My father, Joseph. […] Yes. A professional challenge. […] My professional challenges and personal challenges are the same thing. I just want to entertain. See, when I was in the second grade, the teacher asked me what I wished for. I asked for a mansion, for peace in the world, and to be able to entertain... Can we talk about something else?"

On best friends:

"Well, I do have one friend. A very dear, close friend that I can tell my deepest, darkest secrets to, because I know she won't tell anyone, not another living soul. Her name is... Miss Diana Ross. […] [laughs] Everybody has deep, dark secrets."

On an incident involving an injured admirer – one of the harsh prices of fame:

"Once at a record store in San Francisco, over a thousand kids showed up. They all pushed forward and broke a window. A big piece of glass fell on top of this girl. And the girl's throat... was slit. […] She just got slit. And I remember there was blood everywhere. Oh, God, so much blood. And she grabbed her throat and was bleeding and everyone just ignored her. Why? Because I was there and they wanted to grab at me and get my autograph. [sighs] I wonder whatever happened to that girl."

On events involving fans breaking into the family’s home or asking embarrassing questions:

"We got three guard dogs. One is Heavy, one is Black Girl, and the other one don't got no name. We have to have them. See, once a lady jumped over the gate and into the house and sat down in the den. We came home, and she looked at us and what did she say? What'd that lady say (,Marlon)? [Marlon: "She said, 'I'm here ‘cause God sent me,'"] Yeah, God sent her. .. Yeah, God sent her to sit in the Jackson 5's den and wait for them to get home so she can get their autograph, and maybe her picture with ‘em too. She was on a divine mission. Man, that's funny. And then once, a whole family managed to get into the estate somehow, and they toured the whole house. Lookin' all in our stuff. Findin' all our most private things. And Janet was here all by herself. It was scary. And sometimes, fans ask weird questions. They don't think you're real. Once a fan asked me the most embarrassing question and in front of everyone. She said, "Do you go to the bathroom?" I was so embarrassed."

On Scarecrow, the character he played in “The Wiz”:

“What I like about my character is his, I guess you could call it, his confusion. He knows that he has these - these problems, I guess you could call them. But he doesn't know exactly why he has them or how he got that way. And he understands that he sees things differently from the way everyone else does, but he can't put his finger on why. He's not like other people. No one understands him. So he goes through his whole life with this… confusion. Everybody thinks he's very special. But, really, he's very sad. He's so, so sad. Do you understand? Do you understand his sadness?..."

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"The best years were back when Michael was about three and I used to sing folk songs with him. You see, I'd always wanted to be a country star, but who'd ever heard of a black country star back then? Those restrictions, again. Anyway, we had one bedroom for the boys and they all slept together in triple bunk beds. Before going to sleep, we'd all sing. We were all so happy then. I'd switch my life now and give up all that we have now for just one of those days back in Gary when it was so much simpler. When we first came to California, I don't know how many times I said, "I wish things were the way they used to be in Gary." But things have never been the same.. It's all changed now."

[Katherine Jackson talking to Taraborrelli that same day]