Home Celebrity Michael Jackson Memorial Set for Friday Morning

There’s a private memorial service set for Michael Jackson for tomorrow morning, Friday, June 25th, at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Michael’s brother, Randy, sent out the invites. The guests will include his brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Joe Jackson will be there. Katherine Jackson will not. As I reported before, she and Michael’s kids are out of town to escape the circus like atmosphere already growing around the anniversary of Michael’s death.

Other guests will be similar to last year’s final funeral, including Jackson’s executors, his former lawyers like Tom Mesereau, and perhaps a few celebs like Macaulay Culkin. Otherwise, there will be no press this time. Last year, the first speaker was ex-con and Joe Jackson intimate Leonard Rowe. One can only hope there’s no repeat of that episode.

Rowe is not the only Joe Jackson crony lurking about these days. TMZ printed a picture today of Katherine Jackson with her business partner, Howard Mann. They failed to recognize the man on her left. It’s Lowell Henry, a one time “assistant” to Berry Gordy in the Motown days. Henry has somehow re-inveigled his way into the Jackson family. When I met him the other day at the Beverly Hilton–where he’s working on Saturday’s event–he tried to pretend he was someone else.

Hilarious. The cast of Joe Jackson supporting players never ceases to amaze me. Last year it was Marshall Thompson of the Chi Lites, wearing a wide brim white hat and a zoot suit, carrying Joe’s water.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also 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.
4 replies to this post
  1. I personally find the media’s perspective on MJ hilarious. All the death anniversary articles reminding us of Michael’s skin bleaching (by way of Vitiligo, CONFIRMED in his autopsy), child molestation, ridiculous spending, loss of touch with reality, weirdness, dysfunction) only caters to the detractors and people who never fans. People who supported Michael through the best & very worst of times are not interested in the continuous muckraking. My biggest question: What audience is the media catering to with this recycled psycho babble? Who are they trying to speak to??

  2. ^^^^^^ ^I forgot to mention the article is titled “Michael Jackson’s Life Could Have Been Saved”

    Yes indeed Rabbi Sleazy, but your soul can’t be saved.

  3. Just found this bullshit article from the fraudulent Rabbi Shmuckface
    He has yet to tell the media or public that his friendship ended with Michael once he stole money from Michael’s “Heal the World” charity in 2001. Sad, Michael will still be defamed by those parading around as his “friends” to the media. I guess Rabbi needs to keep pedaling bullshit since his book on MJ isn’t selling.

    This Friday marks one year since the passing of Michael Jackson. His legacy remains highly controversial. On one side there are ardent fans who consider him the central inspiration of their lives. On the other there are strident critics who believe he was hopelessly weird with an unhealthy interest in children. In the middle are those who simply love his music and miss his talent.

    The truth about Michael as I knew and understood him was something else entirely. Michael Jackson forever remained the broken boy who yearned for a normal childhood but was thrust reluctantly into a spotlight that slowly became addictive. Immersed in a celebrity culture rife with human corruption, he yearned to be innocent. Starved of affection, he spent his life looking for love but ultimately settled for attention. Surrounded by sycophants who indulged his every unhealthy whim, he longed to find an authentic and spiritual environment. And trapped in a cocoon of incarcerating fame, he craved to consecrate his celebrity to a cause larger than himself.

    The tragedy of his life was his failure to achieve these noble aims. Michael knew that G-d had given him a special gift and with it the power to ‘heal the world, make it a better place.’ He understood the responsibility of celebrity and was devastated as his was slowly transformed into notoriety. He hated to be hated and was crushed by the chasm between what he saw as his sincere intentions to do good verses the uncharitable public perception of him as a shallow materialist.

    Once, in the midst of the thirty hours of recordings we did together for publication in a book that would allow Michael to speak directly to the public, he revealed how defamatory his celebrity had become. “You get tired and it just wears you down. You can’t go somewhere where they don’t manipulate what you do and say, that bothers me so much, and you are nothing like the person that they write about, nothing. To get called Whacko, that’s not nice. People think something is wrong with you because they make it up. I am nothing like that. I am the opposite of that.”

    Polite to a fault, he was a soft and gentle soul who prided himself on being different to other celebrities. Whereas they partied in nightclubs, Michael loved being around ordinary families. Where they put, as Michael said, needles in their arms, he was a vegetarian who wouldn’t be caught dead with a street drug. And where they, as Michael maintained, engaged in tawdry relationships, Michael preferred the company of innocent kids.

    What he could not see was that overindulging in medication prescribed by a doctor was just as destructive as a street drug and was motivated by the same celebrity emptiness. He was also oblivious to his own excess when it came to kids. It was one thing to show kindness and friendship to children. It was another thing entirely to invite them into your bed.

    I do not for a moment believe Michael was a pedophile. Those who judge him as such forget that the only time he was charged he was utterly acquitted, and it is time for the public to exonerate him as well. But he gave himself license to cross lines of basic propriety that brought him into disrepute and soiled his message as to the purity and innocence that adults could learn from children. For a man who spent his life trying to educate the public as to the wonders of childhood, this was a monumental failure, and he knew it. The suspicion cast on him by a public whose love he had spent a lifetime cultivating marked the principal sorrow of his life. It would have tragic consequences when he turned increasingly to painkillers to numb the ache.

    A year after his death what most haunts me is the knowledge that Michael’s life could so easily have been saved. What Michael needed was not painkillers but counseling, not the numbing of an inner wound through drugs but the awakening of an inner conscience through spiritual guidance. He needed a wise voice in his ear guiding him to a mastery of his demons before they consumed him. Any number of people could have rescued Michael from impeding oblivion. Most of all, he craved the love and validation of his father. What emerges most strikingly in our recorded conversations — conversations that Michael knew would be read by a wide audience, perhaps including his parents — was the hurt he felt toward his father on the one hand, and the extreme affection he harbored for him on the other. Michael had many fans, but he played primarily to an audience of one.

    But while his life is sadly irretrievable, the lessons to be culled from his life are not. Few were as eloquent in articulating the profound lessons parents could learn from being around their children. Fewer still were more attuned to the lifelong scarring of children who were victims of neglect. I can still hear Michael’s daily admonishments to me to look my children in the eye and tell them I loved them and to never allow a night to go by without reading them a bedtime story.

    When first I learned of his death my immediate reaction, I am ashamed to say, was anger. You silly man, I thought. How could you? You knew your children, whom you adored, depended on you. You were the most devoted father. How could you orphan them? You Michael, to whom G-d bequeathed such unequaled talent, just threw it away?

    Twelve months later the anger is gone, replaced by a deep sadness. He was an imperfect candle. But his striving to go beyond the caricature he had become and redeem his life by visiting orphanages and hospitals was illuminating. The lyrics of his songs spoke to the human yearning to mend the broken pieces of the human soul and become whole. Whether it was encouraging himself and his fans to be the man looking in the mirror, or healing the world, he wished for his music to inspire people to choose goodness.

    A year after his untimely passing it is time to finally mourn Michael as a man. To remember him not as an entertainer, or to miss him as an international icon – an object without feelings or pain – but as a struggling soul who tried to transform the pain of his broken childhood into an inspirational message of parents cherishing their children. It is time to evaluate Michael his life not in the context of an idol who had much money and fame but as a man who searched for a real home that was not a stage.

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