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Not much is known about Jonathan Spence, Michael Jackson’s special friend from late 1984 to 1987 – and even while researching this story we found information about him hard to find. Before Jonathan, there was Emmanuel Lewis – Jackson’s previous special friend.If you search, you can find plenty of information available for Lewis: he was already famous; he and Jackson were often photographed together; and many stories were written about their friendship.Asked how she came by that story, Berlin said she was a neighbor of the Jacksons in Encino and that “everybody knew that”, however she conceded it may have been Jackson’s head of security Bill Bray that told her.Other rumors circulated that Jonathan was an orphan.Spence family life seemed idyllic until August 15th, the tragic day in 1977 when Johnnie died suddenly at home from a heart attack.Marion and daughter Sarah were devastated, Jonathan, who was just four years old, had yet to fully comprehend the death of his father.
Spence was actually twelve years old at the time Captain EO was filmed; he wasn’t an actor; he was friends with Jackson for much longer than a year; and their friendship didn’t end after filming was completed.
In 1976 he made the decision to take the leap and move to the United States full time with his family.
They moved into a comfortable home on Lake Encino Drive, and Johnnie was able to secure lucrative work arranging and directing music for both television shows and movies.
In 1986, Michael Jackson had starred in Captain EO, a million 3-D film produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola that was both the most expensive and the most promoted short film in the history of the movies, despite being shown exclusively at Disney theme parks.
On the set, only three people were permitted to speak to the star: Coppola, Liz Taylor, and ten-year-old Jonathan Spence, and of these, Michael seemed closest to the boy.