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George Michael

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Also Known As: Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou Died:
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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

isted that he was gay, and it was with 1996â¿¿s Older that he began to make veiled references to his open secret. Although the follow-up single "Fastlove" went to the top of the U.K. charts and went Top 10 in America, the set had little impact on the States despite winning BRIT and MTV Europe Awards as well as Michael earning his third "Songwriter of the Year" honor.Any questions as to Michaelâ¿¿s sexual orientation were laid to rest on April 7, 1998, when an undercover male police officer arrested him for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public toilet in a Beverly Hills, CA park. The incident made international headlines as well as punchlines, and Michael was fined and sentenced to 80 hours of community service. He seemed to weather the ensuing media firestorm with self-deprecating humor, however, and included on that yearâ¿¿s Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael the song "Outside," whose lyrics and music video poked fun at the incident. The police officer who had arrested Michael sued the singer over the video, which depicted male police officers kissing, but he lost the case. Embracing his sexuality, Michael revealed how "Jesus to a Child" had been about his lover Anselmo Feleppa, who died...

isted that he was gay, and it was with 1996â¿¿s Older that he began to make veiled references to his open secret. Although the follow-up single "Fastlove" went to the top of the U.K. charts and went Top 10 in America, the set had little impact on the States despite winning BRIT and MTV Europe Awards as well as Michael earning his third "Songwriter of the Year" honor.

Any questions as to Michaelâ¿¿s sexual orientation were laid to rest on April 7, 1998, when an undercover male police officer arrested him for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public toilet in a Beverly Hills, CA park. The incident made international headlines as well as punchlines, and Michael was fined and sentenced to 80 hours of community service. He seemed to weather the ensuing media firestorm with self-deprecating humor, however, and included on that yearâ¿¿s Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael the song "Outside," whose lyrics and music video poked fun at the incident. The police officer who had arrested Michael sued the singer over the video, which depicted male police officers kissing, but he lost the case. Embracing his sexuality, Michael revealed how "Jesus to a Child" had been about his lover Anselmo Feleppa, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1993, and that he had been in a long-term relationship with Dallas-based art dealer Kenny Goss since 1996. He would later discuss how he had been out to friends since he was 19, but had chosen not to do so more publicly due to concerns that he would upset his family and curb his burgeoning career.

After 1999â¿¿s low-selling album of covers, Songs from the Last Century, Michael regained his professional footing with 2004â¿¿s Patience. Although his mainstream chart dominance in the United States had ended, he remained immensely popular in Europe, where he scored hits including the controversial "Shoot the Dog," "Freeek!" and "Amazing" as well as the international dance hit "Flawless (Go to the City)." In 2006, he released a second greatest hits album, Twenty Five, launched a successful tour, and recurred on the quirky legal fantasy "Eli Stone" (ABC, 2008-09) as the title characterâ¿¿s guardian angel. He found time to sit down with Oprah Winfrey on her talk show "Oprah" (syndicated, 1986-2011) and performed on the 2008 finale of "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ). During a concert in 2011, he announced that he and partner Kenny Goss had split in 2009. Although he achieved unprecedented professional success, becoming the most played entertainer on British radio, writing and performing enduring classics, and enjoying evergreen concert success, Michaelâ¿¿s personal life remained far from charmed; he often found himself constantly dogged by bad publicity, self-destructive behavior and legal woes.

In fact, Michaelâ¿¿s prodigious talent and legacy were often in danger of being overshadowed by bad press. In 2006, tabloids photographed and interviewed a 58-year-old van driver who claimed to have engaged in anonymous public sex with Michael, who responded by saying that he frequently sought out anonymous sex and that it was not a factor in his romantic relationships. Earlier that year, he had been arrested for drug possession, and in 2007 he was arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs, which caused the court to strip him of his license and sentence him to community service. That same year, Michael gave a frank interview discussing his struggles to control his marijuana habit. In 2008, the singer was arrested in a public toilet again, this time for drug possession, and two years later was caught on tape crashing his car into the front of a London storefront. Michael was arrested and charged with possession of drugs as well as driving under their influence, and was sentenced to eight weeks in prison as well as a five-year ban from driving. After serving four weeks, he was released.

By Jonathan Riggsith a sold-out Wembley Stadium concert and a farewell single, "The Edge of Heaven," which went to No. 1 on the U.K. charts and featured Elton John playing piano.

As a solo act, Michael achieved instant success, hitting the top of the charts in both the America and the U.K. with "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," a duet with Aretha Franklin, a collaboration that won both singers a Grammy. He capitalized on his new solo success with an era-defining blockbuster that few saw coming: 1987⿿s Faith. Not only did Michael play most of the instruments, but he wrote and produced virtually every track. Featuring a more adult, sexual image, the set caused instant controversy with the risqué lead single and video "I Want Your Sex." An even bigger smash followed with the release of the title track, which hit No. 1 in the U.S. and produced an iconic music video featuring Michael ⿿ resplendent in trademark shades, jeans and leather jacket ⿿ dancing suggestively near a jukebox, complete with close-ups of his posterior shaking to and fro. A global phenomenon, the album cemented Michael⿿s status as a superstar, earning him three additional No. 1 singles: "Father Figure," "One More Try" and "Monkey," as well as the Top Five hit "Kissing a Fool." Not surprisingly, he won the Album of the Year Grammy, an American Music Award, and an MTV Video Music Award, as well as embarked on a red-hot world tour that cinched his musical conquest of Earth⿿s major markets. The entire process proved so successful and yet so draining that, at the peak of superstardom, Michael vowed to take things down a notch for his next album.

Attempting to present himself as a more serious artist, Michael refused to do any promotion or participate in heavy visual imagery, including music videos, for 1990â¿¿s highly anticipated Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. While "Praying for Time" topped the charts in the U.S., the subsequent singles failed to connect with American audiences â¿¿ with the exception of "Freedom! â¿¿90" which went on to become one of Michaelâ¿¿s career-defining songs and music videos. The latter was unique in that the anti-corporate music industry Michael refused to appear onscreen; instead he populated his clip with a gaggle of the eraâ¿¿s top supermodels lip-synching the song in lieu of the real singer. Although it went double platinum in the States, the album fared better in Michaelâ¿¿s homeland, winning Best British Album at the BRIT Awards. His 1991 tour was a success, which resulted in a radio hit of a live cover of "Donâ¿¿t Let the Sun Go Down on Me" featuring Elton John. The proceeds from that single and a handful of singles for the proposed Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2 were donated to AIDS-related charities. That follow-up album never got off the ground due to Michaelâ¿¿s massive lawsuit against his record company Sony, alleging that they had forced him into a lifelong contract but had subsequently failed to promote Vol. 1. The company responded that Michaelâ¿¿s refusal to participate in promotional material had sunk the album, and the court agreed, finding judgment against the singer. Claiming that he was the victim of "artistic slavery," Michael said he would not release any new material until he was set free from the labelâ¿¿s roster.

While his mainstream professional career was languishing, Michael continued to record charity singles and performed at 1992â¿¿s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. After the success of his contributions to the Queen covers EP Five Live, the possibility arose that Michael would become Queenâ¿¿s full-time lead singer in light of Mercuryâ¿¿s recent death from AIDS, but the deal never crystallized. With a sleek new look, he resurfaced as a performer of self-written material in 1994, performing a new song, "Jesus to a Child" at the MTV Europe Music Awards, which went to No. 1 on the U.K. charts. An aching ballad of lost love, the song stirred long-gestating rumors about Michaelâ¿¿s sexuality. Although he had cultivated an overtly heterosexual image in his earlier career, rumors had always ex

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  White Hunter (1965) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Tin Cup (1996) Host Of The Sports Machine
3.
 8 Seconds (1994) Himself
4.
 Wish You Were There (1985) Himself
5.
 White Hunter (1965) Narrator
6.
 Skabenga (1955) Himself
8.
 NetAid (1999)
10.
 Staying Alive (1998) Host
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Met Andrew Ridgeley at Bushey Meads School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
:
With Ridgeley, formed ska band called The Executive
1981:
Formed pop duo Wham! with Ridgeley
1983:
Wham! released debut album <i>Fantastic</i>, featuring singles "Young Guns (Go For It!)," "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)," and "Club Tropicana"
1984:
Duo released breakout album <i>Make It Big</i>, featuring "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Careless Whisper," and "Everything She Wants"; album reached No. 1 in the U.S.
1984:
Contributed vocals to Band Aid all-star charity recording "Do They Know It¿s Christmas?"
1986:
Wham! disbanded following release of singles compilation <i>The Final</i>
1987:
Collaborated with Aretha Franklin on hit duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
1987:
Released solo debut <i>Faith</i>; controversial lead single "I Want Your Sex" banned by U.K. and U.S. due to sexually suggestive lyrics
1990:
Second solo album <i>Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1</i> marked turn as serious artist and songwriter
1992:
Released <i>Five Live</i> EP with Queen and Lisa Stansfield, recorded the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
1996:
Released first studio album <i>Older</i>, featuring dance hit "Fastlove"
1998:
Assembled 28 hits for first compilation album <i>Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael</i>
1999:
Recorded album of cover tracks <i>Songs from the Last Century</i>
2005:
Featured in documentary "George Michael: A Different Story"
2006:
Celebrated 25th anniversary with second greatest hits compilation <i>Twenty Five</i>
2007:
Made acting debut in "The Catherine Tate Show Xmas Special" (BBC)
2012:
Performed at Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony in London, England
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