Update: Michael Jackson’s third funeral took place on September 3, 2009 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
According to news reports, the private affair was open to only a few family members and some notable celebrities. Gladys Knight, renowned member of Gladys Knight and the Pips and a music legend in her own right, reportedly sung a special song during the brief ceremony. No media or television representatives were allowed to attend.
Jackson’s final internment will be in Forest Lawns’s “Great Mausoleum,” final resting place to numerous entertainment legends. It is also the location of the reproductions of the statues of “David” and “Moses” originally sculpted by Michaelangelo and the stained glass reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”
Among the other notable people interred in the mausoleum are Clark Gable, George Burns, Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, and John Wayne. Dozens of other famous entertainers are buried or interred in other publicly accessible areas of the Glendale memorial park including Marilyn Monroe and members of the “Three Stooges.”
During the days leading up to Michael Jackson’s memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles, there was much speculation about how “The King of Pop’s” funeral was going to be handled.
At first it was announced that the Jackson family would have a “private funeral” that would be closed to the public and the press. It might be held at Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County near Los Olivos, California – or maybe not. It could be held in the Los Angeles area and then Michael Jackson’s body would be buried at the ranch site – or maybe not.
As hundreds of people began to gather around the entrance and along the roadside leading to Neverland Ranch, it soon became apparent that privacy for the family would be impossible if the funeral was held at that location. Anything more elaborate that would involve the public would not only cause a major uproar among the residents of that remote area, but also put a severe strain on local roads, public facilities, and law enforcement agencies.
Late in the week of Jackson’s death, the family and AEG Live, the producers of Jackson’s now canceled London concerts, announced that a public memorial performance would be held at Staples Center, a large sports arena near downtown Los Angeles. Staples Center is owned and managed by another subsidiary of AEG. A plan was put into place to distribute 17,000 free tickets to 8,500 winners of an online lottery. All other attendees would be guests and dignitaries invited by the family and AEG.
A big question left unanswered was whether Michael Jackson’s funeral would be included aa a part of the memorial performance. Would Michael Jackson’s coffin even be there? Would the Jackson family actually appear? And, if they did, would his brothers or sister Janet perform during the performance segment?