Michael Robin Jackson, a talk radio personality who broadcast for more than 32 years on KABC Radio in Los Angeles, died Saturday at his California residence. He was 87 years old.
Jackson’s death was confirmed at Variety by Lyle Gregory, his close friend and producer of 30 years. The former radio host had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for a decade.
“It was a testament to Michael that so many guests and celebrities would rather come to the studio, than call in,” Gregory said in a statement. “With his British accent and childish charm, Michael made people feel at ease, they opened up. It was his gift. Michael turned an interview into conversation, news and information. Like two people sitting at a kitchen table talking.A table, an open window, where millions of people tuned in daily across the country, so many of them referring to Michael as their personal university.
Born in England on April 16, 1934, Jackson was first raised on the British island during World War II before moving with his family to South Africa and later to the United States. Jackson began his radio career in the United States as a DJ in San Francisco at KYA and KEWB before moving to Los Angeles to work at KHJ and news station KNX.
In 1966, Jackson moved to KABC, beginning a decades-long tenure as a talk show host at the station. In 1998 he left KABC and went through talk shows at KRLA, KLAC and KGIL until his retirement in 2007 at the age of 73.
During his career, Jackson broadcast at KABC and was syndicated on ABC Radio Network for nearly a decade. He received four Golden Mike Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an induction into the Radio Hall of Fame and an honorary Doctor of Laws from the Western School of Law. More than 2,000 of his radio interviews are now preserved at the Library of Congress. Jackson has interviewed hundreds of public figures over his five-decade career, including Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as various politicians, movie and TV stars, authors , musicians and artists.
“The world knew and adored our Michael Jackson. But Michael’s home was California, Los Angeles, America. We are grateful,” former California senator Barbara Boxer said in a statement. Boxer was a frequent guest. from Jackson’s talk show.
Jackson married Alana Ladd in 1965. The two remained married until Ladd’s death in 2014. The couple had three children and five grandchildren. Jackson is survived by his children Alan Jackson, Alisa Magno and Devon Jackson; their spouses, Heidi, Tom and Sarah; and her grandchildren Taylor, Emily, Adeline, Amelia and Hugo. The family requests that a donation be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research in Jackson’s memory.