As the circumstances surrounding Michael Jackson’s death begin to pour in, we get a view of one of the realities of Hollywood that I learned from one of the interviews in my book. That reality? That when it comes to celebrities, no one speaks truth to them. No one tells them “no, don’t do that.” Or, “you can’t do that.” No one.
“Real friends give you boundaries. When you don’t have boundaries, it creeps into your choices in movies and life. If nobody around you tells you the truth, you end up doing all kinds of stupid shit.” –Writer/Comedian, interviewed in I Followed My Bliss to Bankruptcy–What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Hollywood.
Michael Jackson is the personification of the Hollywood dichotomy. So many people want the fame and fortune, yet often, being known by everyone results in being known by no one. No friends to tell you “no.”
Michael Jackson was a father who, by all accounts, loved his children dearly. But it was revealed this morning that one of Jackson’s professional acquaintances was responsible for giving the news of his death to his children. Not a family member, a professional acquaintance. Wow. Welcome to fame and fortune.
We’re also learning that Michael had a private doctor who may have injected him with something or prescribed medications that may have harmed his health as well. Perhaps a private doctor was necessary for Michael as it certainly seems that he couldn’t very well go to the office for a visit. And certainly it can’t be in that doctor’s interest to harm his only, or at least most famous patient and utterly ruin his own reputation for the rest of his life, but the details are yet to surface. Who knows what ways the fame of a patient effects a doctors judgment? Perhaps doctors are just as vulnerable as others to the charisma and proximity of fame.
Meanwhile, it is being reported that Michael Jackson may be as much five hundred million dollars in debt. That’s as much as Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld got for the syndication rights to Seinfeld. Even Oprah would take a couple years salary to pay that off. But for the rest of us half a billion dollars won’t be seen in a lifetime of hard labor. Yet Michael Jackson, as half owner of the Sony Music Catalog, got paid every time a Beatles song played on the radio anywhere in the world.
How’s it possible that a man of those means could be in that much debt? Well, it was reported this morning that Sony was concerned about Michael’s financial condition and worried he might sell his portion of the catalog to someone with competing interest, so Sony did what it could to ensure that Michael got as many loans as he needed.
Loans? Interesting. Loans brought down the banks, the American economy and nearly the world’s. It is sad that the King of Pop was living in a rented mansion and nearly buried beneath a mountain of debt, but this is Hollywood. And in Hollywood, nothing is as it seems.
“People love me for my music, my talent…but they don’t really love me.” –Michael Jackson