Inner Michael » Farewell “Tookie”

Farewell “Tookie”

You have to laugh at Michael Jackson’s wry sense of humor and how he was often caught hiding things in plain sight. In the movie Moonwalker,  the drug dealing villain is “Frank Li Deo.” Li Deo is a classic bad guy figure with an unusual haircut and a mafioso style.

I think we can be pretty certain this is a parody of Frank Di Leo who managed Michael Jackson in the eighties and returned to manage him at Michael’s last enterprise– This Is It. There are so few truly loyal friends in Michael Jackson’s life because so many sold him out for cash and their 15 minutes of fame. But there are a few… and Frank Di Leo appears to be one of them. Di Leo was present during Michael’s darkest hours– during the 2005 trial. It is said that Di Leo was there every day.

He is not without criticism because there were those who worried about the kind of exposure Di Leo encouraged and permitted in Michael’s early success years. He certainly could play hard ball and there was more than a tinge of cynicism about him. And isn’t that just going to be true of anyone who must deal with the “Hollywood factor.” How much is enough? How far do you push the envelope? And in the “Hollywood” fashion, everything appears fickle– perhaps even loyalty.” How would one know if not living it?

Whatever happened to break up this team that once set the world and the charts on fire, in the end all must have been forgiven because Di Leo was back in Michael Jackson’s life at he end of his life. It is reported that it was Di Leo whom was with the children when they were told the awful truth about their father.

By all accounts, Di Leo was a colorful character. Bold and maybe even a bit reckless, he was a feature in the Payola scandal that clouded the early record business. He was nevertheless beloved by friends and clients when often a love-hate relationship characterizes such dealings where friendship and business acumen collide. The perpetual “cigar” was Di Leo’s trademark.

Di Leo’s career is wider than most realize. He was not just Michael Jackson’s manager; he managed many up and coming, and “arrived” stars of the music business. He produced the film Moonwalker, and after meeting Martin Scorcese during the filming of “Bad,” he was offered a role as mafia hit man in GoodFellas:


 Thanks to the fan who put this together. Nicely done.

AP Frank Di Leo Obituary Los Angeles

Music industry executive Frank Dileo, who managed Michael Jackson’s career in the 1980s and returned as his manager in the superstar’s final days, died Wednesday. He was 63.

Publicist Karen Sundell said Dileo died in the morning. The cause of death was not immediately available, but he had recently experienced complications following heart surgery.

The short, portly Dileo was a colorful figure in the entertainment industry and had movie roles as an actor, notably portraying a gangster in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas.

A native of Pittsburgh, Dileo began his career in the music industry working as a promoter for CBS subsidiary Epic Records. He signed so many stars that he was credited with catapulting the small company to the No. 2 label in the country. Jackson was at CBS Records at the time and together they worked on the phenomenally successful “Thriller” album.

In his book “Moonwalk,” Jackson credited Dileo as one of the people “responsible for turning my dream for ‘Thriller’ into a reality.”

Jackson wrote that Dileo’s “brilliant understanding of the recording industry proved invaluable” and described how Dileo decided to release “Beat It” as a single while “Billie Jean” was still the No. 1 song in the country.

“CBS screamed ‘You’re crazy. This will kill Billie Jean,'” Jackson recalled. “But Frank told them not to worry, that both songs would be No. 1 and both would be in the Top 10 at the same time. They were.”

In 1984, with “Thriller” soaring, Jackson recruited Dileo to leave Epic and manage his career. Dileo accepted and presided over one of the most productive periods for Jackson.

He executive-produced the full-length Jackson movie, “Moonwalker.” He also wrote, produced and negotiated a series of lucrative Pepsi commercials for Jackson.

And he managed two of Jackson’s concert tours — the Victory Tour with other members of the Jackson family and the Bad World Tour, Jackson’s first solo excursion which became the largest grossing concert tour of all time.

After five years together, Dileo and Jackson abruptly ended their business relationship without explanation.

Dileo went on to manage the careers of other musicians, including Taylor Dayne, Jodeci, Laura Branigan and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. He also worked with Prince on several projects.

He founded Dileo Entertainment Group in Nashville, Tenn., a company focused on launching the careers of young artists.

In 2005, when Jackson stood trial on child molestation charges, Dileo returned to his side. He later described their emotional reunion. After Jackson’s acquittal, they remained in touch and in the summer of 2009, as Jackson prepared to launch his This is It tour, the singer asked Dileo to manage him again. They were working together when Jackson died on June 25, 2009.

John Branca, co-executor of the Jackson estate, said he had the privilege of knowing Dileo for more than two decades.

“He was not only one of the great veterans of the music business, he was a beloved friend to me and all who were lucky enough to have had him in their lives. He was one of a kind,” Branca said, and “we will miss him.”

Dileo is survived by his wife, Linda; two children, Belinda and Dominic; and a grandson, Frank.


Frank DiLeo was a good friend to Michael Jackson and someone whom never abandoned a friend in his greatest hour of need.  The fans have been writing that they are very sad and very upset and they send condolences to his family. I have it from credible sources that Tookie was met at the gate with a giant cuban cigar and was ushered in by an angel on one side and a skinny little Moonwalker on the other. May they both rest in peace. Another one gone too soon. 




  1. Jan said . . .

    God bless them both … along with the stupid, smelly cigar!

    Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:09 am | Permalink
  2. gertrude said . . .

    I forget where I read it,it may even have been something Tom Mesereau recounted, but Michael was moved to tears when Frank DiLeo moved back to LA specifically to stay at Michael’s side during the trial, and Michael described him as one of the only friends true enough to stand by him during his most horrible of all ordeals. I don’t think it matters why they had a falling out – people who love each other have those all the time. What matters is that in the end Frank was true to his friend Mike, and they are no doubt back to laughing, goofing around and all their other shenanigans now.

    Posted August 26, 2011 at 2:36 am | Permalink
  3. Kim said . . .

    Simply beautiful and heartfelt Rev. Barbara. Yes I felt some sadness yesterday and I didn’t know where it was coming from. When I heard about Frank, I had a feeling that is why. Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute to both Frank and Michael. I’m glad that Michael was there to greet Frank when he returned home.

    Posted August 26, 2011 at 2:38 am | Permalink
  4. Souldreamer7 said . . .

    RIP Frank DiLeo. I always thoughts Mr. Big was Joe Pesci With Love~*~*

    Posted August 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  5. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    The actor is Joe Pesci. LiDeo is the character. I’m pretty sure that is a play on the name DiLeo ~B

    Posted August 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
  6. susan singidas said . . .

    I am teary eyed. I have still my copy of the interview of Frank Dileo recounting his memories at the time Michael passed away at the hospital together with the three children. It was when he said that he kissed Michael before he was covered by the sheets that I was really moved to tears. Thank you for giving them this tribute.

    Posted August 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  7. Casey Mueller said . . .

    Frank was from my home town. Nice to see that a guy from Ohio can go somewhere with his life. RIP Tookie

    Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:09 am | Permalink

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