George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) was born in London on June 25, 1963. He grew up in the suburbs of London, the son of a Greek-Cypriot father and an English mother. He formed Wham! in 1982 with schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley after playing in various bands together for a few years. They became an instant success with their debut album, Fantastic which hit No. 1 on the U.K. charts. Throughout their 4 year partnership Wham! scored several hits on both sides of the Atlantic, including “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” “Careless Whisper,” “Everything She Wants,” “Freedom” and “I’m Your Man.”
After three albums Michael left Wham! in 1986 for an equally – if not more – successful solo career.
George Michael ranks among the best-selling British musical acts and has won various music awards throughout his 30-year caree. He was ranked 40th on Billboard’s list of the Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time in 2008.
George Michael eventually came out as gay in 1998 and he has been an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser since then and until his death. Michael’s personal life and legal troubles made headlines during the late 1990s and 2000s. He was tragically found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames in the early hours of 25 December 2016. He was only 53 years old. A coroner’s report attributed his death to natural causes.
“I was the boy in a Greek family who could do
what he liked from a very early age…”
Is George Michael Greek?
George Michael was half-Greek. His father was Greek-Cypriot and his mother was English.
In his own words about his background from an interview at BBC:
“I have a huge propensity for guilt because I was the boy in a Greek family who could do what he liked from a very early age — and he did. Because the culture was patriarchal and it was to indulge the boy. I have two wonderful sisters who never got their way as young Greek girls, obviously. I grew up with his terrible guilt. I had feelings of guilt as a small child, knowing that I was the one who was going to get the easy ride.”