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George Michael Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (42)  | Personal Quotes (35)

Overview (5)

Born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Died in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK  (heart failure)
Birth NameGeorgios Kyriacos Panayiotou
Nicknames Yog
Knobby
TLTI
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

George Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in Finchley, north London, in the United Kingdom, to Lesley Angold (Harrison), a dancer, and Kyriacos Panayiotou, a restaurateur. His father was a Greek Cypriot, and his mother was of English background. He first discovered fame as a musician when he and school friend, Andrew Ridgeley, formed the pop group Wham!. Success came fast and furious with their first album, 'Fantastic' (1983) hitting the UK number one spot. Wham! survived for five years and during that time the group notched up four number one singles and two number one albums. Most of their other releases made top three. George also contributed to the Band Aid Single 'Do They Know It's Christmas' (1984), and scored two further solo number one hits with 'Careless Whisper' and 'A Different Corner'.

Following the break-up of Wham!, George went on to have a hugely successful career as a solo artist, his debut album 'Faith' (1987) - and the single of the same name - both achieving instant and international success. The album has since been certified Diamond.

Over the last four decades George has notched up 8 number one albums in the and 13 number one singles in the UK (including Wham!, Band Aid, and the 'Five Live' EP). In the U.S. he has achieved 2 number one albums and 10 number one singles, with numerous other number one hits throughout the rest of the world.

He has performed duets with artists including Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Queen, and Lisa Stansfield, and actively participates in charitable causes, Live Aid and the Freddie Mercury concert for AIDS being just two of the more prominent examples. According to a BBC documentary, George donated more than five million pounds towards various charities. Whilst with Wham!, he donated all the proceeds of 'Last Christmas' (1984) to charity. The single reached number two in the UK and George also performed simultaneously on the number one charity record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'.

George released the single 'December Song' in 2008 as a free download: his hope was that purchasers would donate money to charity.

He remained in contact with his Wham! partner and long-time friend Andrew Ridgeley until his death in 2016.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trade Mark (3)

His powerful, smooth and soulful voice
His songwriting talent - he had huge success with both ballads and uptempo pop songs
His pin-up good looks

Trivia (42)

He was arrested in April 1998 at a public restroom in Beverly Hills for committing a lewd act in front of an undercover police officer. As a result, for the first time he spoke publicly about being gay. BBC talk show host Michael Parkinson dedicated an episode of his Parkinson (1971) series to an interview with him. Michael also wrote and released the song "Outside", which had lyrics and a music video mocking the whole incident. The arresting police officer filed a civil suit against Michael for defamation of character, but it was dismissed.
He enjoyed four UK number one singles with Wham: "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" (1984), "Freedom" (1984), "I'm Your Man" (1985) and "The Edge of Heaven" (1986).
His song "Father Figure" was sampled for PM Dawn's hit "Looking Through Patient Eyes".
He collaborated with Queen and Lisa Stansfield on the UK's chart-topping "Five Live" (EP) in 1993.
The first three singles of George Michael's solo career all went to the number one position on the UK chart: "Careless Whisper" (1984), "A Different Corner" (1986) and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987). The latter was a duet with Aretha Franklin.
His song with Wham!, "Last Christmas", is the best selling UK hit never to get to number one, reaching the number two position in December 1984, being re-issued and reaching the number six position the next December and being re-issued again and reaching the number 45 position in December 1986. It spent a total of 24 weeks on the UK chart.
He sang on the number one and number two Christmas singles of 1984, Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and Wham!'s "Last Christmas".
He was a big fan of This Morning (1988) and, on the final episode of the series, he phoned the presenters, Richard and Judy, to thank them live on air and to wish them the best.
He has contributed two songs to the "Warchild Hope" album (released 21 April 2003); one is a cover of Don McLean's "The Grave" and the other is his own classic "Faith" (a duet with Ms Dynamite).
His controversial single "Shoot the Dog" (released 2002) had a video that ridiculed Tony Blair, Cherie Blair and George W. Bush.
His last performance with Wham! was at Wembley Stadium in June 1986.
In September 1984, he played a benefit for striking British miners as part of Wham!.
He wrote his smash hit single "Careless Whisper" when he was just 17, on a Thursday afternoon in Bushey. He waited until he was 21 before he released it as his first solo single. The song reached number one in more than 25 countries and sold in excess of six million copies.
His father, Kyriacos Panayiotou, was a Greek Cypriot restaurant owner, who emigrated to the U.K. from Cyprus in the 1950s. His mother, Lesley Angold (Harrison), was of English background, the daughter of George James Harrison and Daisy Angold Young.
He and Andrew Ridgeley wrote "Careless Whisper" on the back of a bus during their school days.
He provided backing vocals on Andrew Ridgeley's album "Son Of Albert" on tracks "Red Dress" & "Shake". These were the only two songs to do well on the charts.
His 1990 solo hit "Freedom 90" from the CD "Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1" was so titled to avoid confusion with his previous Wham! hit "Freedom".
He wrote many of his songs while working at a movie theater as a teenager.
He was reported to have sold over 100 million albums upon his death in 2016 when his sales with Wham! and as a solo artist were combined.
In the Independent on Sunday 2006 Pink List - a list of the most influential gay men and women - he came no. 25, down from 22.
He had an estimated fortune of £105 million upon his death in 2016.
He won several Brit (British Phonographic Industry) Awards during his career. He was the winner (as part of Wham!) of the British Phonographic Industry Award for British Group in 1985. Wham! then shared the Outstanding Contribution award with Elton John in 1986. He was the winner of the award for British Male Solo Artist in 1988 following the success of his multi-million selling album "Faith". His album "Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1" won the 1991 Brit Award for British Album. He was also the winner of the 1997 Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist following the success of his album "Older".
He announced his retirement in February 2004, but began a new European tour in September 2006, his first tour in fifteen years.
His debut solo album "Faith" has sold more than 20 million copies since its release in 1987.
He was paid £1.7 million to perform for an hour at Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin's New Year's party on 31 December 2006.
His partner Anselmo Feleppa, whom he met in 1991, died from an AIDS-related brain haemorrhage in 1993.
He was sentenced to 100 hours community service for driving while unfit. The singer was arrested on 1 October 2006 after being found slumped at the wheel of his Mercedes in the early hours of the morning. He had an antidepressant in his system, as well as cannabis and 16 micro-grams per milliliter of the illegal Class C drug GHB. (9 June 2007).
He was a close friend of Shirlie Kemp, one of Wham!'s backing singers, and introduced her to her future husband, Martin Kemp, who was the bass player of the popular 1980s band Spandau Ballet. His other music industry friends included Elton John, Spice Girls singer Geri Horner, Belinda Carlisle and Mariah Carey.
He was ranked #73 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
A fan of The Beatles, he performed with Paul McCartney at Live 8 (2005). He also bought John Lennon's Steinway Model Z upright piano for £1.67m in the year 2000, then donated it to Liverpool's Beatles Story museum. In September 2010, while serving a prison sentence for driving under the influence of drugs, Michael received a two-page handwritten letter from McCartney to lift his spirits. In the letter, McCartney said that he empathized with Michael as he himself had spent ten days in prison in Japan in 1980 after being caught with cannabis. He told Michael to keep his chin up and that he would see him when he is released. Apparently, Michael was delighted with the letter and read it over and over again.
He wrote, produced and performed the classic song "Last Christmas" when he was just 21 years old. There have been over 395 cover versions of the song by different artists since it was released in 1984.
He had homes in London, in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire (where he died), and Dallas, Texas.
The singer's music video "Freedom" (1989) featured supermodels Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz. Curiously, GM appeared nowhere in the video himself. Directed by David Fincher and photographed by Jeff Cronenweth.
Many people paying tribute to him observed the poignancy that he died on Christmas Day, 32 years after he first had a hit with Wham!'s "Last Christmas", a song which has become a Yuletide perennial. Many people also regarded his death as a tragic end to an almost relentlessly sad year for music, following the deaths of other hugely successful and influential music industry figures such as David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and pioneering producer George Martin.
He nearly died from pneumonia in December 2011.
Although Michael claimed his maternal grandmother was Jewish, genealogical research has proved this was not true.
Following his death, Madonna described him as a "great artist" and Nile Rodgers called him "an absolute genius". Tributes also came from the rock world. Peter Gabriel called him a "very talented musician" who was "always kind and generous". Fish called him "a massively likeable and extremely down to earth person" and "a brilliant songwriter and truly amazing singer". Tributes were also paid by comedians Ricky Gervais and James Corden (who had performed in comedy sketches with him) and Margaret Cho. Chris Martin performed the tribute to him at the 2017 Brit Awards and Adele performed the tribute at the Grammy Awards.
After he died, many stories quickly came forward about his generous nature. It was revealed that he had donated to charities such as Childline, The Terrence Higgins Trust for HIV victims and Macmillan Cancer Support as well as being the greatest benefactor for Project Angel Food. His only condition for many of these contributions was that his identity not be revealed. He also often volunteered at homeless shelters. It was revealed that he often gave money freely to strangers who were in trouble, such as a student nurse working in a bar to whom he gave a five thousand pound tip, giving twenty-five thousand pounds to a woman he heard crying over debt in a cafe, asking the waitress to hand it over once he had left and anonymously sending fifteen thousand to a woman on the game show Deal or No Deal? (2005) who needed the money for IVF treatment. Every Christmas, he would donate one-hundred thousand pounds to Capital FM's charity drive. He donated the royalties from his 1996 UK number-one "Jesus to a Child" to Childline and the royalties from another number-one, the Elton John duet "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", to an AIDS hospice.
He wrote two of the 50 best-selling singles in UK history, "Careless Whisper" and "Last Christmas". Both were originally released in 1984.
Although he was celebrated as a gay icon upon his death, he had been criticised during his lifetime for pretending to be heterosexual for commercial reasons during the height of his fame in the 1980s and not officially coming out until the late 1990s following his arrest in Los Angeles. This had been despite the growing acceptance of gay stars during the 1980s such as Boy George, Marc Almond, Jimmy Somerville, Holly Johnson, Andy Bell and Neil Tennant, who all had massive hit records. He had a particularly frosty relationship with Boy George, who said of Michael: "People saw me as the benchmark queer while George Michael was passing himself off as a straight stud. In fact, he was loitering in public loos like some pre-war homosexual. It's one thing to keep quiet. It's another to pretend you're someone you're not".
His 1998 arrest in a public restroom in Los Angeles was famously reported in the British tabloid The Sun with the headline "Zip Me Up Before You Go Go", a reference to his 1984 single with Wham!, "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go".

Personal Quotes (35)

I do think that Live Aid (1985) was a great thing, it focused people, I think it showed young kids the way in many respects and I think a lot of people are still inspired by what happened in the mid-Eighties.
I still believe that music is one of the greatest gifts that God gave to man.
Even though it's become a really cliched thing to see musicians working for charity, it's still effective and it still has to be done.
It was my own stupid fault. I was in possession of class C drugs which is an offence and I have no complaints about the police, who were professional throughout.
[April 2006] The trajectory of my particular soap opera with the press launched from that statement Elton [Elton John] made about eighteen months ago when Elton hadn't seen me for years. Elton said he thought I was really miserable for some reason. From that point on I've been trying to prove that I'm not. Unfortunately it made me incredibly vulnerable to the press.
I have been doing this on and off since I was a teenager and never once seen violence. If I want to see violence or what I call shameful behaviour, the idea that women in clubs these days have to hold their hand over their drink for fear of being drugged ... Please don't tell me as a member of the straight community that I am taking risks. I know what I do and I am sorry, but we should not be taking questions like this, from straight women in particular ... I do not deserve the criticism. What I don't have respect for is some demand for answers from an openly gay man who is living his own life. I have not cheated or lied about my sex life to anybody in my life, in my entire life. I hate not to be able to rise above it, but there is only so much you can take. I'm suing the individual involved who I have never, ever seen, let alone wanted to have any kind of sexual encounter with, and I'm currently investigating suing the secondary sources of libel. I am taking legal action against the photographers because they're harassing me and I should not have to worry about who's watching me at 2:30 in the morning.
In a strange way I've spent the last 15 to 20 years trying to derail my own career. But it never seems to suffer. I suffer like crazy. I've suffered bereavements and public humiliations, but my career always seems to right itself like a plastic duck in the bath. In some ways I resent that.
Parkinson (1971) is still the only interview on British TV that means anything. Perhaps that is because he appears to realize that his guest should always be the star of the show and... He paid for dinner!
It is nice to know that the News of The World is still so concerned for my well being.
[on his long-term partner, Kenny Goss] Gay relationships are a bit different. I'm sure we'll be allowed to roam if we want to. But we love each other dearly.
[on his arrest for lewd conduct in 1998] Running naked up and down Oxford Street singing "I Am What I Am" would have been a more dignified way to come out.
I think pop music should be about youth culture. It shouldn't be an endurance test. If I can just live further from the spotlight I think that'll be better for all really.
Women seem to ignore the fact that I'm gay. I think that women really get the feeling that I understand them. I grew up with two sisters, I went out with women when I was younger. I do understand them, unfortunately.
Elton John said he thought I was miserable for some reason and I have been trying to prove that I'm not ever since. The subtext to it is always, 'He was all right before he came out and now he lives this depraved gay life and is miserable and fat' and from that point on I have suffered this kind of wishful thinking from the Press.
[on his August 2009 car crash] If that juggernaut had killed me, I think I'd be perfectly happy with the amount of quality music I have left in the world. My ego is sated.
[on Tony Blair] His problem is, one, he's not as smart as he thinks he is and, two, this man does not know when his ego is getting the better of him... A man who will not stare his ego down is every bit as dangerous as an altruist as he is a Hitler.
[on Elton John's concern for him] Elton lives on that. He will not be happy until I bang on his door in the middle of the night saying: 'Please, please, help me, Elton. Take me to rehab.' It's not going to happen. Elton just needs to shut his mouth and get on with his own life. Look, if people choose to believe that I'm sitting here in my ivory tower, 'Howard Hughes'ing myself with long fingernails and loads of drugs, then I can't do anything about that, can I?
Boy George is great company and a man I have always wanted to like. He acts in a homophobic way to other gay men by being such a bitch. It's an aggression that he can't get rid of.
[on his arrest for lewd behavior] When someone is waving their genitalia at you, you don't automatically assume that they're an officer of the law.
I know I'm basically a good person whose two crimes appear to be that I'm gay and I've got a big mouth to go with it.
I'm basically a control freak. It's not because I want to be. I'm not at all into the power play that's involved in it. I'm a perfectionist.
There are very few things in my life that I can't have if I want them. So when I see something that I think I can't have, immediately I'm obsessed by it.
I just hope that I'll stay around musically for as long as I can. I'd love to think that I will still be satisfying myself and other people as a musician until the day I die.
[on his time in prison in September/October 2010] Most of my days have been spent reading thousands of letters and postcards of incredible support from people around the world. I promise to repay their kindness with new music as soon as I possibly can.
[on doing concerts] People run on and off the stage, but usually they're removed before they get to me. It's not really frightening. There's always the possibility that someone's going to take a potshot at you; you take that risk when you perform in front of thousands of people.
I do love Christmas. I always have loved it, ever since I was a child. When I was young both my parents used to work so hard and they always seemed quite stressed to me. But at Christmas everyone would calm down and be nice to each other for a few days, and that used to make me feel very safe. It's Frank Sinatra who reminds me of Christmas. During the school holidays, when I was a kid, I used to work behind the bar of my dad's restaurant in Edgware [North London], and he'd always play Sinatra records for the customers. So that association is very strong for me. Why doesn't it snow at the right time anymore, like it did in the '60s? If it could snow on Christmas Eve or something that would be perfect.
As an artist I'm not interested in repeating former successes.
Loyalty can be different things to different sexualities.
I have a serious problem with the fact that every time I made a mistake and every time I let myself down that I was letting young gay kids down.
It is such an amazing feeling to watch the effect I have on my audience. There is no question that is the most valuable thing I can ever do in terms of contribution and it seems that God wanted me to and gave me the voice to do it and the stamina to do it.
[on the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991] Freddie Mercury was a huge source of inspiration to me as a child. I religiously attended Queen's concerts year after year. This is a sad day.
[on surviving severe pneumonia at Christmas 2011] Best Christmas I can remember, surrounded by the people I love. And knowing that Christmas could have been very different this year for everyone at that table. As it was we stuffed and laughed ourselves silly. I'm such a lucky man! I hope you all had a great one.
[on performing at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992] To sing with Queen was the most memorable moment of my career.
[on regaining consciousness after his 2011 coma] I swear this is true. I came out of my coma talking in this West Country accent. There's nothing wrong with a West Country accent, but it's a bit weird when you're from North London. My sisters, who were obviously so relieved that I'd actually woken up, were just laughing away at this stand-up comedy.
There is no such thing as a reluctant star. Stars are almost always people that want to make up for their own weaknesses by being loved by the public and I'm no exception to that.

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