Thursday, May 30, 2024

Didn’t Happen: Michael Jackson, Brando, Liz Taylor Road Trip


Sorry, guys. The “road trip” Michael Jackson supposedly took after the World Trade Center tragedies never happened. Various outlets are suddenly reporting that Michael gathered up Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando on September 12, 2001 and escaped from New York on a cross- country adventure.


It’s a great urban myth, and it will probably live on forever now that it’s been published on the internet. But you know, at the time, Michael and Liz Taylor weren’t so close. He’d had to give her a piece of jewelry that cost over $600,000 so she would come to his Madison Square Garden shows. Michael also paid Brando one million dollars cash so he’d come to New York and deliver the most inane speech of all time on a couch in the middle of the stage.

So what did happen? Michael and his kids, the nanny, et al immediately decamped to their second home–that of Dominic and Connie Cascio in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. And there they stayed, a family friend confirmed for me, for two weeks. Finally, Michael and party chartered a private plane from White Plains, New York to Burbank.

What happened to Brando and Taylor? I have no idea. But there was no “On the Road” for them. Brando weighed way too much to travel that distance by car. Taylor had way too many maladies. The Jackson family, I was told in 2001, went home on a private bus.

Where do people get these stories? And why are they reprinted over and over without any fact checking?

By the way, this was two years before Michael’s arrest for child molestation and conspiracy. During the entire period from 2003 through Michael’s acquittal in 2005, Taylor never said a word in public to defend Jackson. While Macaulay Culkin, Chris Tucker, and other friends testfied for Michael and went to bat for him, Taylor remained mum.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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.

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