J.J. Jackson (1941-2004)
Older and more seasoned as a radio and TV personality than the other veejays when MTV launched in 1981, he was "the wise veejay," says Goodman. "J.J. brought reason to whatever weirdness we were going through." After leaving the network in 1986, the ex-Marine from Boston—his initials stood for John Jay—kept busy with voice-over work and his syndicated radio show about the Beatles. Twice married, he was close to his parents, both in their 80s, and his two daughters, Vanessa, an aspiring actress in Manhattan, and Tracey, a hospital administrator and mother of three in the Bahamas.
And he remained proud of his role in MTV. "We were lucky to be there," Jackson said in '01. "And maybe the audience was lucky that the chemistry between us was so good." It was, says Goodman, "a life-changing experience that bonded us forever. It'll be so weird—it's not the five of us anymore."