Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Did You Know That Michael Jackson Died?

Did You Know That Michael Jackson Died?

Of course you did; you couldn’t miss it. 12 days of media memorials and we still don’t know where he will be buried, if at all.

3,000 police officers, swat teams guarding his $25,000 gold plated casket, freeways closed to accommodate the hearse and 30 limos going the 12 miles from Forest Lawn Cemetary to Staples. The City of Angels spent an estimated $1.4 million on the 12 day Jackson Memorial, much of which went for police overtime. Every network carried the memorial yesterday. If you didn’t win the lottery to attend, you could always watch on TV, or in churches, movie theatres and hair salons. It could have been the memorial for a beloved President.

Not exactly, even President Ronald Reagan’s tightly scripted 2004 service at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley didn’t receive this much attention. Reagan had only been President of the United States, Governor of California, and President of the Screen Actors Guild, as well as a successful actor. But he never did Thriller.

Jackson's memorial was the biggest "funeral" in America since Elvis' death. It was outshown only by Princess Diana's memorial. Mother Teresa, one of the greatest humanitarians of the past half century, died on September 5, 1997. Hardly anyone noticed because Princess Di died tragically in an auto accident on August 31, 1997. Elton John even sang a song for her.

Did you know that Michael Jackson died?

How about Farrah Fawcett, the most popular pinup of all time? How about that great actor of the people, Karl Malden? Or Gale Storm, a pioneer of TV? What about Billy Mays? If only he could have sold the Jackson Memorial on DVD’s, probably coming soon courtesy of Joe Jackson. If you want real music and musicals, did anyone else notice that Harve Presnell passed away? Fed Travalena was great for impersonations and voice overs, but his was muted by Jackson. You may have seen Steve McNair, courtesy of his 20 year old girl friend, or perhaps Robert Strange McNamara, but what about Herb Klein, or Allen Klein who produced some of the great Rolling Stones and Beatles songs?

How about the deaths of 12 of our finest in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past 12 days?

Michael Jackson’s death sucked the oxygen out of the air.

How about the celebrities who managed to get arrested during this period - Joyce DeWitt, Coolio, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Eddie Mekka, Nicole Bobek, and Rowdy Roddy Piper? Yes, many were past their prime, but Michael Jackson hadn’t done anything in a decade, except winning an acquittal in a pedophile trial.

I am sorry about his untimely death; I wished his upcoming revival in Europe would have been a success. He had tremendous talent, some of which was wasted, but could have redeemed much of his legacy.

Michael Jackson was not though the greatest entertainer of the past half century. He could sing, dance, and write. Sammy Davis, Jr. could do all that as well as being an accomplished musician, actor (both in movies and plays), and a comedian without personal scandal in his life, aside from being a pioneer in interracial marriages.

Michael Jackson is another celebrity who died early in life directly or indirectly from drug abuse. The list includes John Belushi, Lenny Bruce, Paul Butterfield, Kurt Cobain, John Entwistle, Brian Epstein, Chris Farley, Andy Gibb, Jimi Hendrix, Abbie Hoffman, Rich James, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Bruce Lee, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Gram Parsons, River Phoenix, Dana Plato, Freddie Prinze, Brad Renfro, Don Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, and even Elvis Presley. We can also add Len Bias and Reggie Lewis to the list.

Unlike many of these celebrities, Michael was not using the drugs, as best as we know, for recreational purposes, but because he became addicted to pain killers and had trouble sleeping.

Still, he could have sought treatment.

He led a self-destructive life style, which apparently killed him at all too early an age.

While not a convicted pedophile, he certainly led a weird life style, partially explainable in that, like many a childstar, he never had a normal childhood. He was a man-child of arrested development. Sammy Davis, Jr. was also a child star, born to vaudeville parents, but he grew up fine.

Where though was all this support for Michael Jackson during the Santa Barbara trial?

We hope that his three children can grow up to lead a normal life.

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