(courtesy of rollingstone.com)
Seventy days after the death of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop was finally laid to rest last night, September 3rd, with a private ceremony Glendale, California’s Forest Lawn Cemetery. About 200 close friends and family members attended the evening funeral, which concluded with Jackson being entombed in Forest Lawn’s Great Mausoleum, the final resting place of Walt Disney, Clark Gable and other legendary talents.
Elizabeth Taylor, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Jackson’s ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley and Macaulay Culkin attended the ceremony, along with Mila Kunis, This Is It director Kenny Ortega, Teddy Riley, Chris Tucker, Corey Feldman and Miko Brando. According to a statement from the Jackson family, Michael’s five brothers Tito, Jermaine, Randy, Marlon and Jackie all served as pallbearers.
Michael’s three children Prince Michael, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II placed a crown atop Jackson’s casket to signify his status as the King of Pop. The Jackson family had provided a live video feed to media prior to the ceremony when guests began arriving at the cemetery, however the feed ceased transmission the moment the Jackson brothers went to take Michael’s gold-plated casket out of the hearse.
After Pastor Lucius Smith read the opening prayer and a portion of Ecclesiastes 3:7, Gladys Knight sang the gospel hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” Songwriter Clifton Davis next sang the Jackson 5 tune he wrote for the group, “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Speakers then began to take the podium to pay tribute to the singer, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Michael’s father Joe Jackson and other close friends and family members.
According to the New York Times, the media that congregated outside Forest Lawn outnumbered the number of fans, though one group of fans held a large white banner that read “Gone too soon.” Following the ceremony, according to the ceremony’s nine-page engraved invitation, family and friends of Jackson were encouraged to drive to an Italian restaurant in Pasadena, California, for “a time of celebration.”
The first page of the invitation also featured a quote from Michael’s 1992 book of essays and poems Dancing the Dream, “If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.”