The iconic red jacket worn by Michael Jackson in Thriller, the most successful music video of all time, was sold by Julien’s Auctions for $1.8million (about R26m).
Thriller, released in December 1983, showed Jackson and girlfriend confronted by zombies while walking home. Jackson then turns into a zombie and dances with the undead.
To produce the video, Jackson collaborated with Hollywood director John Landis after seeing his horror film, An American Werewolf in London.
It was a family affair as Jackson’s Thriller red jacket was designed by Landis’s wife, Deborah Nadoolman.
The Thriller video was Jackson’s first interaction with a woman on film. Flashdance legend Jennifer Beals turned down an offer to play the pioneering role and a young hopeful, Ola Ray, a former Playboy Playmate, was cast instead.
Producer Landis encouraged Jackson and Ray to improvise during their scenes and urged Jackson to act “sexy” and show “virility”.
Ray said the chemistry with Jackson was real and they shared “intimate moments” during the shoot, but she could see that Jackson “had eyes for someone else”.