- published: 25 Mar 2014
- views: 32461
Henry, the son of Jamaican immigrants, was born at Burton Road Hospital in Dudley in 1958. He was a pupil at St John's Primary School and later The Blue Coat School outside Dudley, before completing his school education at W.R. Tuson College (now Preston College).
His first manager was Robert Luff, who signed him in 1975 and gave him the opportunity to perform as part of the Luff-produced touring stage version of The Black and White Minstrel Show. In July 2009, Lenny Henry stated he was contractually obliged to perform and regretted his part in the show.
Shortly before this, on 17 December 1974, the then 16-year-old Henry had been voted Britain's top non-smoker for his declaration aimed at teenagers that smoking was not fashionable.
His earliest television appearance was on the New Faces talent show, which he won in 1975 with an impersonation of Stevie Wonder. The following year he appeared with Norman Beaton in LWT's sitcom The Fosters, Britain's first comedy series with predominantly black performers. His formative years were spent in working men's clubs, where his act was as a young black man impersonating white characters such as the Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em character Frank Spencer (whom he impersonated on New Faces). He also made guest appearances on television programmes including Celebrity Squares, Seaside Special and The Ronnie Corbett Show.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Often referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance, and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971.
In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller", were credited with transforming the medium into an art form and a promotional tool, and the popularity of these videos helped to bring the relatively new television channel MTV to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made him a staple on MTV in the 1990s. Through stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced numerous hip hop, post-disco, contemporary R&B, pop and rock artists.