Confusion over Michael Jackson’s Memorial
Reaction as Michael’s will – and new kid photos – are made public
– Carrie Seim
As fans continue to mourn the King of Pop, confusion reigns over where and when Michael Jackson’s public memorial will be held.
Many media outlets reported the memorial would take place Friday at Michael’s Neverland Ranch, but a family representative said Wednesday there would be no public or private viewing at Michael’s former fantasyland in Santa Barbara County.
The Los Angeles Times reported late Wednesday that the Los Angeles Coliseum is now being considered as a possible memorial venue. By keeping the event within the city of Los Angeles, California would avoid the nightmare traffic tangle a rumored motorcade of Michael’s body from L.A. to Neverland Ranch surely would have whipped up.
But a memorial in the Coliseum would not eliminate the cost and security demands an event of such epic public mourning would mean for the city.
Ken Sunshine, P.R.-god-to-the-stars, is apparently now representing the Jackson clan. Sunshine, who has also repped Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbara Streisand and Justin Timberlake, said in a statement Wednesday that “plans are under way regarding a public memorial for Michael Jackson, and we will announce those plans shortly.”
If anyone could use a P.R. pro, heaven knows it’s the Jackson family. I certainly feel for their pain and loss. It must be an excruciating ordeal to balance personal grief with the public’s demand for a large-scale commemoration. But these frequent and contradictory reports on memorial plans further tarnish Michael’s legacy – already so mired in life and death.
Hopefully Mr. Sunshine can help the fam get a dignified plan together – and stick with it.
The mayor of Michael’s hometown of Gary, Indiana, has been less than dignified in his public pleas to have Michael buried there, according to CNN.
Mayor Rudy Clay blabbed to a Chicago radio station that he has spoken with the Jackson family about burying Michael near the family museum in Gary, with an enormous memorial service at a local ballpark. Classy, right?
Earlier suggestions that Michael’s body might be buried at his beloved Neverland seem to have been nixed by Santa Barbara County zoning regulations that prohibit human interment.
The Will & Diana Ross
Michael’s five-page will, filed in Los Angeles court Wednesday, did not specify where he wanted to be buried.
The will, signed on July 7, 2002, specifies Michael’s attorneys John Branca and Barry Siegel, along with Michael’s friend and music exec John McClain, as executors of his estate. It also grants Michael’s mother, Katherine Jackson, custody of his children. If Katherine should be deceased at the time of his death, Michael nominated Diana Ross as the children’s guardian.
The moment you read that line you remember exactly what a whimsical world the pop star lived in. Only in Michael’s Never Never Land could Diana Ross become a real-life fairy godmother to his children.
Diana, herself a mother of five children, has not made a statement since the will was made public. But by all accounts, she seems to have been an excellent parent to her three daughters and two sons.
Michael’s children – Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Blanket, 7 – are currently staying with their grandmother, Katherine.
Michael’s will also made it crystal clear that he wanted nothing to go to Debbie Rowe, biological mother to Prince Michael and Paris.
“I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson,” he wrote in the will.
Ouch. Not unexpected. But ouch.
Meanwhile, never-before-seen photos of the children were released by Michael’s longtime friend and godfather to Blanket, Al Malnik.
In this slideshow from MSNBC, the children appear to be enjoying a normal, happy childhood. And Michael appears to be an incredibly attentive and hands-on father. The photos reveal what looks to be an achingly close family.
(And okay, the children all look white as a sheet to me, but that’s a controversy for another day.)
I hesitate to say it, but maybe Michael’s odd behavior – shrouding his children from public view in masks and blankets – was savvy parenting. Our heart breaks for what those children, suddenly unmasked and exposed with no father to protect them, must be suffering today.