The King of Pop has struggled with his health since 1984 when he became addicted to painkillers after receiving severe burns filming a Pepsi commercial. The pop star's hair caught fire, leaving Jackson in excruciating pain.
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A former family lawyer told "GMA" he knew Jackson had a drug problem.
"I spoke to family members. I said to them, If this situation arises where Michael perishes because of medications, and my words were, 'If he one day wakes up and he's dead because of these medications, I will not hold my tongue. I will speak out and I will speak out loud,'" said former family attorney Brian Oxman.
In 1995, Jackson collapsed while rehearsing for a television special. His doctors said he fainted because of an abnormal heart rhythm caused by dehydration.
Jackson had an anxiety attack at a copyright lawsuit court appearance and was treated with intravenous fluids and tranquillizers in 2003.
Trainer: Michael Jackson Was in 'Fantastic Shape'
Jackson's trainer, Lou Ferrigno, Said the Singer Was Thin From Training but Ready for Tour
By IMAEYEN IBANGA
June 30, 2009
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Questions about Michael Jackson's health have dominated conversations about the pop icon since his unexpected death last week from cardiac arrest.
Lou Ferrigno says despite Michael Jackson's thin frame, he was "very energetic."
But the singer's trainer, actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, said Jackson was "in fantastic shape."
"He might have been a little thin because he was under a lot of stress training for the tour," Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in "The Incredible Hulk" TV series, said in an interview that aired on "Good Morning America" today. "But when I put him through the routine and everything, I mean, it was just fine. I mean, very energetic."
He said Jackson could have handled his tour, which was scheduled to begin next month.
"He was dancing as good as anyone. And, you know, I'm an expert. And I was with Michael. If I didn't feel Michael could've pulled this off, I would've told him," Ferrigno said. "I think he was going to give the greatest tour in his entire life."
Ferrigno's assessment of Jackson's physical condition stands in stark contrast to one writer's description of the Gary, Ind., native.
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Ian Halperin, who is publishing a new biography on the "Thriller" singer, wrote in December that Jackson had only six months to live. He said Jackson suffered from a rare form of lung disorder.
"On some days, he could barely talk," Halperin wrote recently in a British publication. "He could no longer dance."
Halperin said it would have been impossible for the father of three to complete one concert, much less the 50 he had planned.
Halperin, whose book, "Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson," is due for release in late July, said the former Jackson 5 lead singer was suicidal on some days.
The singer's representatives have denied claims that Jackson's health was on the decline, saying the "moon-walker" passed a four-hour physical in preparation for his London concerts.
Ferrigno, who has known Jackson for 15 years, said the pop icon was "very energetic" during workouts and "was in fantastic shape," although "he might have been a little thin because he was under a lot of stress training for the tour."
Ferrigno, 57, said he last trained with Jackson, 50, about three weeks and would go to the singer's home three or four times a week.
The two used tools like exercise balls and did a lot of core training to get Jackson in shape.
"He didn't want to weight train. So he mostly wanted to deal with flexibility and conditioning," Ferrigno said. "He didn't look like he was in pain because he was on the treadmill. He did the stretching exercises."
In addition to training, it seems that Jackson kept a strict diet.
"I think he was a vegetarian. And he only ate once a day. But I just told him the proper supplements to take," Ferrigno said. "The most important thing was the attitude, the mind because he really wanted to be in his best shape."
Michael Jackson's Final Rehearsal
According to lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, Jackson didn't always appear in peak condition during rehearsals for his upcoming tour.
"The sense in the camp was that we were nervous. We were nervous about whether we would be able to pull off the show," he said in a BBC radio interview.
The singer would often miss rehearsals, said Woodroffe, who watched Jackson rehearse two days before he died.
But his final rehearsal began to change the view of the crew.
Pop star Michael Jackson rehearses at the Staples Center in Los Angeles June 23, 2009. Ian Halperin, a writer who is publishing a new Jackson biography, wrote in December that Jackson had six months to live.
(Kevin Mazur,AEG/Getty Images/AP Photo)
"He was frail, you might say, but something seemed to happen over the weekend, and he came into rehearsal on Tuesday and something really extraordinary seemed to happen. He came on stage at 9 in the evening and we all looked at each other and it was something that said he really had it," Woodroffe said.
Woodroffe said the artist was performing extremely well.
"Suddenly, he was performing as one had remembered him in the past, and he was singing. A lot of the times the director and engineers will say, 'Hold your voice. Don't sing out,' and it was almost like he couldn't stop himself," Woodroffe said.
But by the end of the run-through, Woodroffe said workers believed Jackson could pull of the hectic concert schedule.
"We all had a view as to whether he would be able to survive these 50 shows and whether he could have. I couldn't tell you, but I can certainly tell you he would have made it to the start of the race if you know what I mean," he said. "Whatever the view of Michael Jackson is, there's this sense that he would have done it and that was exciting.'
Michael Jackson joins celebrity pantheon
By Kevin Modesti Staff Writer
Posted: 06/27/2009 10:04:50 PM PDT
Anthony Marris, 11, of La Puente, Calif., lights a candle at a sidewalk shrine at the star of Michael Jackson on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles Friday. (The Associated Press)
He kept statues of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe at his Neverland ranch, and married Elvis' daughter. He bought publishing rights to the songs of John Lennon's Beatles. He said he and Princess Diana used to talk about the downside of celebrity.
There's no sign he identified with James Dean, but otherwise Michael Jackson seemed to have made connections long ago with the Western world's small circle of all-too-mortal "immortals."
Now that Jackson too has died young, the question is whether he deserves a spot on that unfortunate A-list - or goes straight to the top of that list.
"I think you just got the `A' in the A-list," said Stacy Brown, a newspaper reporter who co-authored the 2005 book "Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask."
"You have to transcend cultural and generational barriers," Nate Thomas, who teaches film and pop culture at California State University, Northridge, said of the qualifications for the dead-icons roster. "I would say Michael will stand above the others." Individual interest and taste will determine who you think belongs on what might be called the DOA-list, the stars who burned bright in life and often brighter after - and maybe because of - their premature deaths.
Jimi Hendrix? Kurt Cobain? Roberto Clemente? Steve Prefontaine? Steve McQueen? Judy Garland? Hank Williams? Barbaro?
After witnessing fans' response to Jackson's sudden death at age 50 on Thursday in Los Angeles, few would dispute
that his best-selling recordings, groundbreaking music videos and lifetime in the often-harsh spotlight earn him a place in the pantheon.
But the case can be made that Jackson is bigger than any of them, a more popular pop musician than Elvis or Lennon, a more intriguing sex symbol than Marilyn, a more tangible face of fragility than Diana, a voice of more generations than James Dean.
It's hard to have a 45-year career AND die young. Jackson worked from age 5, when the Jackson 5 debuted, to age 50, rehearsing for the scheduled comeback concerts that had sold $85 million worth of tickets. He grew up with the generation that now runs the country, and his appeal cut across age groups, many older people loving the innocent-looking child singer of the Jackson 5 days and kids identifying with the Peter Pan-like character of his solo career.
If Jackson's music and death make him the Elvis of his generation, it's an expansive generation.
Thomas, the CSUN professor, who is 51, said he remembers dancing to Jackson 5 records as a child in Ohio and wanting to BE Michael Jackson.
"As I became a teenager, I still wanted to be Michael Jackson," Thomas said. "Then, when I grew up and went to college and went on to teach at universities, I still wanted to be Michael Jackson."
Jackson was the first celebrity Thomas saw in the flesh when he moved to California in 1980.
"My first month in L.A., I'm excited to be in Hollywood, and I'm stopped at the corner of Highland (Avenue) and Hollywood Boulevard. He pulled up in a black Rolls-Royce, bobbing his head to the music (on the car stereo)," Thomas said. "I honked, and he looked over and waved."
Thomas argues that Jackson seemed to clear barriers to broad popularity in a way few entertainers could. Racially, he was African-American, but he didn't present himself as black either musically or personally - to the point, apparently, of literally lightening his skin. Sexually, his falsetto and surgically refined features made him androgynous. Geographically, he was a product of Indiana but achieved worldwide popularity.
"I think an icon has to transcend all these cultural things," Thomas said. "We're not saying, `He's a black icon' (or) `He's an Italian icon.' ... He would probably be the pre-eminent icon."
Brown, who co-wrote his Jackson biography with Bob Jones, agreed that Jackson cut across race and gender.
"My young children are fascinated with Michael," said Brown, a former Los Angeles Daily News reporter who now writes about the media for the Scranton, N.J., Times-Tribune. "I know people 90 years old who are fascinated with Michael."
Brown said he helped to produce a concert in Scranton paying tribute to Motown Records and New York's Apollo Theater. When Rebbie Jackson, the oldest Jackson sister, performed Michael's "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)," a 94-year-old woman in the audience got up and danced.
He `saw it coming'
Jackson's seeming identification with dead celebrities made sense to Brown. The writer had said before Jackson's death that he expected the singer-dancer to die young. He said Friday, "I think, frankly, Michael Jackson saw it coming."
"One of the things that struck me about Michael Jackson was his fascination with being recognized as the best and the biggest, the most influential," Brown said. "His primary interest was always Elvis Presley. He was on a mission that he was going to be bigger than Elvis."
Brown said Jackson was determined to top the success of his best-selling album "Thriller," believing that would stamp himself as "the undisputed `King."' He thinks the effort to prepare for the London concert series scheduled to begin in mid-July contributed to Jackson's death, initially attributed to cardiac arrest.
"He knew he had to do it (the concert series). He got money up front. He knew if he bowed out (without) a legitimate excuse, his career was totally over and his life was ruined. This was all or nothing," Brown said. "The pressure he put on himself was enormous."
If Brown is right, then Jackson's quest for immortality paid off in a certain way - in the brand of immortality that comes, paradoxically, with dying.
A legendary life
The Jackson brand seemed not to be diminished by the controversies of his later life: child-molestation allegations, other weird behavior, financial problems.
Perhaps as controversy overshadowed his music during a 12-year break from live performing, he became a bigger icon. He painted the full spectrum of celebrity in all its lightest and darkest hues, while creating mystery about the career phase that will never come.
Mark Roesler, founder of CMG Worldwide, which represents the estates of famous people - including Monroe and Dean - responded to Jackson's death with a statement on his company's Web site.
"Michael Jackson was, and will remain, one of those icons," said Roesler, adding that Jackson reminds him of Dean, the Academy Award-winning actor who died at 24 in a 1955 car crash. "His death couldn't have come at a worse time. He was prepared to re-enter the spotlight and start touring again after a long hiatus. Like Dean, he had reached a turning point in his career, and his future could not have been brighter."
On his blog, Harvard Business School professor and marketing expert John Quelch wrote Friday that Jackson's popularity illustrated 10 pieces of advice for how to "build your personal brand." Suggestion No. 10: "Die young."
"The likelihood of a Jackson comeback will forever be debated," Quelch wrote. "Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe James Dean, and now Michael Jackson - all leave to our imagination thoughts of what might have been. When a brand icon is torn from us prematurely, unexpectedly, it figures even larger in our collective memory."
Michael Jackson’s death and a lesson on life
June 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm by Alice Green
Only once did I see Michael Jackson perform live. It was at SPAC in 1973 when he was 14 years old. Yet his death touched me as deeply as if I had known him most of my life. In a way I did. As so many others around the world, I watched him grow up through the media and received great joy from his singing, acting, and dancing performances, which he carried out with extraordinary energy and talent. His immense creativity and genius, reflected in his work, served to stretch our imagination and change popular culture, as well.But then, I also felt his pain as he appeared to struggle for his self identity amid enormous criticism and scorn. Yet, he kept rising to the challenges put before him.
Life magazine from 1985 celebrates the recording of 'We Are the World'
But, most of all, I appreciated his compassion for and contributions to the world’s children and the poor who suffered from hunger and starvation. We should never forget his significant involvement in making the video, “We are the World,” a global success. That groundbreaking project helped raise massive amounts of money to fight hunger in Africa and inspired other celebrities to use their talents and fame to tackle serious human rights issues around the world.
His death did something else to me. It reminded me again of my own mortality. We often forget that we are all mortal human beings who will someday pass away. However, coming to grips with this reality does not mean that we need to be consumed by it. But, it does suggest that, from time to time, we should take stock of who we are, what we believe is most important in life, and how we treat each other.
Acknowledging the reality of death also implies the need to resolve important matters while we are able. Procrastination is usually an enemy. Michael’s death was so unexpected. That will be the case for most of us. The lesson is that we should take care of important personal business while we are able.
In a sermon several years ago, I heard the renowned Dr. James A. Forbes make this point during a sermon at his Riverside Church in New York City. He urged his congregation to stop worrying about death. Instead, get your affairs in order and then go ahead and live a caring life to the fullest. His wise words echoed in my head upon hearing the shocking news of Michael’s death. They echo with a new urgency now.
The Split (1968)
Music by Quincy Jones
Click to enlarge images.
Limited #: 1500
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: June 2009
Catalog #: Vol. 12, No. 13
# of Discs: 1
Quincy Jones has transcended his one-time occupation as a film composer through his diverse pursuits in jazz, film and media—he is a bona fide celebrity and one of the most important personalities in popular music. So it is only natural that his impact on film is often overlooked—but in the late 1960s and early ’70s, he was one of the hottest composers going, with a jazzy and modern style that elevated such important pictures as The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood and In the Heat of the Night, and also worked wonderfully on lesser-known and genre projects.
One such film was The Split (1968), like Point Blank (FSMCD Vol. 5, No. 8) an M-G-M adaptation of a Richard Stark “Parker” book—here The Seventh—but without the arty aspirations. Jim Brown stars as “McClain,” who leads a ragtag group of underworld thugs (including Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Warren Oates and Donald Sutherland) in a robbery of the L.A. Coliseum during an NFL game—but while the caper goes as planned, dividing the proceeds up afterwards leads to bloodshed and strife. Gene Hackman appears late in the film in a pivotal role as a detective.
Quincy Jones was famously the first African-American composer to have a major career in the previously lily-white world of film scoring—and remarkably resisted typecasting inasmuch as he scored many important films where race was a non-factor. Still, urban settings (with their racial implications) brought out some of his most dynamic work, and The Split is a pulsating, funky and tuneful score with a riveting array of jazz and modernist effects. It is Jones in full-fledged They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! territory—angular, funky and irresistible, with several vocal source and score cues to boot.
FSM’s premiere CD of the complete score to The Split is mastered from the original ½” three-track stereo masters for excellent sound quality. The copious liner notes by Scott Bettencourt and Alexander Kaplan give a thorough background on the literary world of Richard Stark (a pseudonym for Donald E. Westlake) and this film adaptation.
Three Michael Jackson books you've got to read
Jun 30, 2009, 11:54 AM | by Ken Tucker
Categories: Books, Michael Jackson, Music
If you're looking for something to read about Michael Jackson that will give you some insight into the man's talent and life, I recommend these three very different books:
1. The Michael Jackson Story, by Nelson George. First published in 1984 as a paperback quickie, The Michael Jackson Story is actually a first-rate cultural study by the journalist-critic-historian Nelson George. George draws on his deep knowledge of soul and rhythm & blues, along with lots of original reporting, to place Jackson in the history of popular music in a lively, exciting way.
2. Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream, by Dave Marsh. A 1985 book by the well-known rock critic that argues that Jackson's background as an abused child and his subsequent attempts to live in a safe, self-contained world of Peter Pan-like surroundings, trapped him in an artistically limiting way. Despite being critical of many of Jackson's decisions and those of the people surrounding him, Trapped also brims over wit