Janet Jackson Undressed
Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, actress, and the youngest child of the legendary Jackson family. She is the sister of pop icon Michael Jackson. Breaking away from the shadows of her siblings, Jackson now ranks as the ninth most successful artist in the history of rock and roll, according to ''Billboard'' in 2004.
Janet was born the last of nine children in Gary, Indiana to parents Joseph and Katherine Jackson. Living in a two-bedroom house with eight older siblings, Janet's father, Joseph, worked as a crane operator in a steel mill and before she became a devout Jehovah's Witness, her mother Katherine worked as a store clerk for Sears. Before Janet's birth, her father decided to try a hand at a music career fronting the R&B band the Falcons, but never got as far as the top nightclubs in Indiana. According to reports, Janet's father was gregarious and stern while her mother was deeply religious and seemed saintly.
By the time she was a toddler, Janet's older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael had already begun to perform on stage at nightclubs and theaters as the Jackson 5. In March 1969, the group signed to Motown Records, and by the end of the year, the group recorded their first of their four consecutive number-one singles. By the time the Jackson 5 had achieved success the entire family moved to Southern California, eventually settling in a gated mansion they named Hayvenhurst in 1971.
Aspiring to be a horse jockey during her early years, Janet had no intention of entering show business. However, her father thought otherwise, as he saw her career potential. After the success of the Jackson 5 began to diminish, Joseph decided to bring the rest of his children into the spotlight, including Janet. On April 9, 1974, Janet made her public debut performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with nearly all nine members of the Jackson family. Janet quickly became the star of the show, emulating and imitating various celebrities of the day such as Cher, Marie Osmond, Toni Tennille, and Mae West, in particular.
By 1976, the Jackson family's Vegas act had caught the attention of CBS president Fred Silverman. The network was desperately trying to find a new variety act to replace the recently ended Sonny & Cher Show, since ABC had a competing show featuring Donny and Marie Osmond. Debuting on June 16, 1976, The Jacksons show became the first African-American family to have a variety show on TV. The show lasted only two seasons and was canceled in 1977.