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Michael Jackson

George Rose/Getty Images

As Michael Jackson turns 50 today, let's congratulate the eccentric performer not only on all of his massive successes but on merely surviving.

Jacko's public life has had more ups and downs than his Neverland ranch roller coaster:

Childhood abuse, astronomical preteen fame, horrendous skin problems, worldwide superstardom as a teen, plastic-surgery nightmares, owning a zoo, a life that's a zoo, going from career flop to the King of Pop, from child sexual-abuse allegations to ultimate acquittal and creating not only his own non-sequitur fashions, but also his personal freaky style of fatherhood.

Yes, it's been a long, strange trip. And that ain't even the half of it! Sample a smattering of highlights from five decades of spectacular fame in our Jacko 5-0 gallery.