Michael Jackson book a headache for Jackie O

Sat Jul 4, 2009 12:15pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson crossed swords with a lot of people when he was alive, but perhaps none more important than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The former first lady, in her capacity as an editor at Doubleday Books, secured a coveted book deal with the pop star in 1984, when he was still riding high on the success of his "Thriller" album released two years earlier.

"She was only person in America who could get him on the phone," Stephen Davis, the ghostwriter of "Moon Walk," said in a recent interview with Reuters.

According to a People magazine article at the time, Onassis paid Jackson a $300,000 advance for the book. Davis received what he termed "a generous flat fee."

The book came out in 1988, topped the New York Times Best Sellers list, and quickly sold out of its initial print run of almost 500,000 copies, he recalled.

"That was an extremely successful book. They made money on it," Davis said.

The obvious next step was to print more copies, and then prepare a paperback version. But Jackson, who had total control of the project, vetoed both plans -- annoying Onassis.

"There was so much bad feeling when it didn't go back to press," Davis said. "It wasn't a great experience for her."   Continued...

<p>A memorial is seen as people wait in line to enter the Michael Jackson public memorial at Apollo Theater in New York June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>