Jimmie-“JJ” Walker

  1. Michael Jackson, The Wiz, 1977. Motown  bought the rights for Stephanie Mills to reprise her Broadway Dorothy. But Motown’s queen, Diana Ross, pulled rank and grabbed it. Director John Badham quit immediately. ”She’s too old!” Ross was 32, Mills 21, while Dorothy was five in the Wizard of Oz book and 12 in the movie.  New director Sidney Lumet moved Oz to New York (quelle surprise!)  and made Dorothy a school-teacher aged 24.  Ross had promised if she got Dottie, she’d bring Jackson with her as The Scarecrow. Lumet and music supervisor Quincy Jones had been thinking of Walker, the Good Times TV   and were not interested in any Vegas bubblegum act!  Until they fell for his “purity.” They all remained close friends and Jones, of course, produced Michael’s superstardom with the Off The Wall and Thriller albums.

Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  1