Mark Lester: for years the child star of “Oliver!” lived in relative obscurity as a London area osteopath. He was Michael Jackson’s friend, but kept out of the limelight.

Back during Michael’s child molestation trial years, Lester and I spoke often. After Jackson was arrested in November 2003, Lester stayed with him on New Year’s Eve at the home that was rented for Jackson by the Nation of Islam.

Lester was also at Neverland, by coincidence, when Martin Bashir was filming “Living with Michael Jackson.”

We talked a lot about Michael, his health and well being, and his children. During all those conversations, Lester never once mentioned that he thought he was the biological father of Michael’s daughter, or that he’d donated sperm to an insemination project.

It is true that Lester rode in the car with Michael and promoter Randy Phillips to the AEG press conference at the O2 Arena last March announcing the “This Is It” concerts. And Michael often visited Lester, his wife and chilren with his own kids during his year and a half out of the U.S. following the trial.

But the former Oliver Twist as Paris’s dad? It’s unlikely. Lester, to my disappointment, seems as though he’s sold his story to the British tabloids. He’s cashed in on Michael’s death like everyone else. You can almost guess that a book is forthcoming, too: “My Friend, Michael.”

What a shame.

Lester claims his daughter resembles Paris. She does not. Harriet Lester looks just like Mark Lester when he was Oliver. She has that same bright blonde hair. Paris Jackson ‘ whom Debbie Rowe still insists was conceived in Paris, and thus is named ‘ has brown hair.

But even more preposterous is the idea that Michael, who was paranoid about his kids, would want to spend so much time with the man who was their biological father. It makes no sense.

Of course, stranger things have happened. But if Lester did feel he was Paris’s father, was going public for money the way to announce it? He certainly could have contacted Michael’s attorneys, set up quiet meetings, and done any number of things that wouldn’t have embarrassed and scared the child. And he could have done it all for free.

To paraphrase Lester’s famous line from the movie: “Please, sir, no more.”

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Leave a Reply

Print This Post Print This Post