Richard Roeper Blog

The parallel “kings.”



Elvis Presley was “The King.”

Michael Jackson was “The King of Pop.”


Elvis came from humble beginnings in East Tupelo, Miss.

Michael came from humble beginnings in Gary, Ind.


In their 20s, both men had women screaming and swooning with their overtly sexual, hip-thrusting dance moves.

Later in their lives, both men underwent drastic physical transformations and took to wearing capes and bizarre, spangled, circus-performer costumes.


Elvis changed the music world with his seminal appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Michael changed the music world with his seminal appearance on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special.


Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu.

Michael married Elvis’ and Priscilla’s daughter.


Both men literally lived in fantasy worlds. Elvis lived in an exotically decorated mansion called Graceland.

Michael lived in an exotically decorated compound called Neverland Ranch.


Elvis met with Nixon.


Michael met with Reagan.


Elvis did socially conscious songs such as “In the Ghetto.”

Michael did socially conscious songs as “Man in the Mirror.”


Both men reportedly had sexual fetishes, to put it mildly.


Elvis spawned a thousand impersonators.

Michael spawned a thousand impersonators.


Elvis’ diehard fans don’t want to hear your criticism of their man’s strange habits and addictions.

Michael’s diehard fans don’t want to hear your criticism of their man’s strange habits and addictions.


Elvis reportedly battled addictions to prescription drugs. We’re hearing reports Michael suffered from similar addictions.


Elvis staged a comeback in 1968.

Michael was on the verge of trying to stage a comeback in 2009.


In the summer of 1977, the world was shocked when Elvis died at 42.

In the summer of 2009, the world was shocked when Michael died at 50.

10 Responses to “The parallel “kings.””

  1. Despina Panagakos Yeargin Says:

    You are quite the observer. 😉

    When Herbert von Karajan died, the papers in Europe had this headline, “The King Is Dead”.

    When Elvis dies, papers in the U.S. had this headline, “The King Is Dead”.

    I’m not sure if Karajan sported a cape, though. 🙂 A sense of humour is good medicine.

  2. Sy Adelman Says:

    Good article Richard. But don’t you think TV has gone crazy with its 24 hour saturated covered of Jackson. There are other important things happening in the world.

  3. Annie Benson Says:

    Does this mean that we’ll soon be hearing reports that Jackson faked his death and was seen eating donuts in various small town coffee shops across the Midwest?

  4. pbjmahwah Says:

    Richard. . . come on. Do you know ANYONE personally who is actually shocked that this guy is dead. A person who peaked at the age of 25 and never came close to doing ANYTHING of artistic value except for mutilating his own body to look like. . . . something or someone else. What’s shocking is he even allowed himself to reach the age of 50. And does anyone truly believe this “comeback” of his was going to do anything for his career? I haven’t even looked it up but I bet I know the number of U.S. dates on his comeback tour: ZERO. If this happened 20 to 25 years ago then, yes, it would be shocking. Now the only word I can think of is: inevitable.

  5. Michael Says:

    Richard you are stretching yourself thin. Recycling all of these posts between your blog and your columns pushing it.

    Michael Jackson calculated many of these “parallels.” You are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Why are you surprised Jackson is dead? Are you really this naive? You should only be surprised suicide did not take his life before blowing himself out less directly.

  6. JR Says:

    It was reported that the Dr. how was giving MJ CPR when he died said the “King of Pop” last words were…”Thank you, thank you very much” but in a much higher voice than Elvis’.

  7. Caleb Synan Says:

    I never thought this would happen, but you guys have brought be down to the “commenter level”. I thought this stuff was entertaining. It’s like the Lincoln/Kennedy parallels. The fact that someone thinks this is scraping the bottom of the barrel is just sad. It’s not like Roeper is some conspiracy thoerist who takes this seriously or does it for a living. I think that some online fanboy who gets in a twist about a film critic’s blog scrapes beyond the so called “bottom of the barrel”. And what’s this about more important things happening in the world? Listen dude, you’re the one reading about Michael Jackson on a film website, isn’t there some fascinating expose you should be reading up on?

    Long live Roeper! And if you don’t like it, go spew your hate comments somewhere else.

  8. richard Says:


    I’m not ‘recycling,’ nor am I stretching myself thin. In addition to my regular four columns for the paper last week, I wrote two extra columns after Jackson died. I also wrote a couple of movie reviews and a number of other posts. As the owner of the extra material, I posted it on my site and gave it to the Sun-Times for the paper and for their website. I do additional work, and you find fault with that? Interesting.

    Also, of course Jackson cultivated many of the parallels. Who said he didn’t?

    As for being naive, you’ve really got the wrong guy. That said, yes, I was surprised by news last Thursday. So was just about everyone else. I guess you weren’t.

    Thanks for your comments.


  9. Michael Says:


    You did not preface your parallels post with anything indicating this was just fun nonsense. “Who said he didn’t [cultivate many of the parallels]?” You presented it as though they were coincidental, if not mysterious. What matters is that you did not say he cultivated any of them.

    You posted the same article in two different venues under different titles. That is recycling. Doing additional work would be writing two different articles not using one article with a two titles.

    “I was surprised….” Nope you said, “shocked.” That is what I find naive. I asked, “Are you really this naive?” “Surprised” was my description.

    As for “just about everyone else” maybe if you view the world as the media hype you might believe everything thrown at you.

    And… if you only want smoke up your bottom let everyone know. Otherwise I’ll praise you and bust your chops whenever you inspire me.

    Thank you for your comments……truly.


  10. Irma Says:

    Thanks, that is a very good article. I found it via Yahoo and immediately incorporated it into my feedreader. I am pleased to soon be back here to read again! greetings

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