Jackie Wilson’s death (1): An ugly mystery

Beautiful man, beautiful voice . . . silenced

Beautiful man, beautiful voice . . . silenced

Jackie Wilson died a terrible, slow death, dropping to
the stage floor mid-performance as a result of what
has been variously described as a heart attack or
stroke, and then surviving another eight years in a
state of living death, severely brain damaged. From
the time of his collapse, he was unable to speak or
walk, and he remained helpless in the hands of others.

Trapped in institutions labeled “care facilities” and
“nursing homes,” Jackie suffered neglect, abuse, or
both. Legal actions taken by his court-appointed
guardians cut off rehabilitative therapies whenever it
appeared he could recover.

A few who loved him, most notably Joyce Moore, then known as Joyce McRae, struggled and sacrificed to help him. These few were defeated by a coalition with the substantial financial resources needed to make use of New Jersey courts to undermine Jackie’s medical care and general well being. They established Harlean Harris as Jackie’s “wife” and ultimately his widow. They eventually barred Joyce McRae and Jackie’s real wife from even visiting him. And, of course, they took control of Jackie’s estate.

This blog. So far I have concentrated this blog mostly on positive topics related to Jackie Wilson: his journey to stardom, his relationships with other artists, the incredible recordings he left behind, and his legendary status as a live performer.

As the months have passed since I began the blog last summer, I have felt with increasing conviction that many people now want Jackie Wilson’s death discussed. I see this reflected on the blog’s “stats” page, which shows the search terms that have been employed to reach the blog.

I want to assure readers that I will continue highlighting the upbeat side of Jackie’s life story and celebrating the magnificent music he left us. However, beginning with this entry, there will also be a number of posts recounting the facts concerning Jackie Wilson’s death and posing the questions that have never been answered.

The next part of this series is Jackie Wilson’s Death: Harlean Harris.

12 thoughts on “Jackie Wilson’s death (1): An ugly mystery

  1. Bradly Briggs

    Jackie Wilson truly one of the all time greats, exploded on the scene same time as Elvis (who was a fan & friend) and should have shared equal fame, never understood why Berry Gordy didn’t bring Jackie to Motown, he would have gone to the top where he belonged!


    Jackie had some great records in his brightest days. Now many people to this very day of 8 / 20 17 do not realize that the Brunswick Record Company which had released Jackie’s Records is now located in Chapel Hill, NC. Long Live his memory.

  3. Sherri Raef Carroll

    i am 71 yrs of age,, white, blonde, green eyes, born in san francisco. the reason for all of that is i swear i was a soul sister of his…..oh how much i loved and adored him, his music, his voie, his dance. i truly knew he was a brother of mine i felt so close to him….
    i loved you so much jackie, you are always in my heart, always will be,,,i love you so

    sherri raef carroll
    june 13, 2017

  4. Jeanne Illenye

    I was just enjoying some of Jackie Wilson’s hits on You Tube and decided to research him a bit online only to discover his life was so brief and his death so prolonged. Watching and listening him perform just on a PC screen, no one can deny that the music lived within him and was truly his lifeblood. The circumstances surrounding his death sadly prove, “Money is the root of all evil.”

  5. Joyce Smith

    He was one of the greatest singers and entertainers ,I loved his voice and always will. Im 72 and still have and play some of his vinal 33!/3 red records love this man sing in heaven jackie.love Joyce

  6. Patty Fields

    With learning now how Jackie Wilson died, after listening to several of his top hits that I remember so vividly as a child, this is so heart wrenching for me to realize. He gave his all everytime he performed, and none could touch this God-given talent, NO ONE!! And to see him live his last years under those conditions is just so ( i can’t even find the words). Rest In Peace Jackie, I know you are singing among angels and dropping to your knees and dancing in heaven. You were and still are one of a kind. Never will there be another, Childhood fan <3


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