No One says “No”

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

T.R. Locke

Posted in Hollywood Dreams, The Business of Entertainment, The Couch-Therapy for Artists and tagged , , .


  1. You make some excellent points. Your blog strengthens my commitment to always holding up an accurate a mirror as I can, and to seeking out people who do likewise with me. Its not always pleasant in the moment, but I believe that in the long run, this kind of candor is steeped in true love and true respect. Thanks for the brain food, as always!

    • Thank you for reading and participating. I appreciate your insights.

  2. Brother Locke this has definitely been a challenging and truly unbelievable time in not just America but across the globe. After hearing his story I have no problem admitting that I no longer would like to be famous. He couldn’t go Anywhere without any privacy. The crazy thing about Mike is he not only transcended music but he also had the ability to move generations. I grew up on him in the 80’s. I was 3 when thriller came out and about 9 when bad came out. However my parents can recall growing up on mike with the Jackson 5. And yet still at 50 after singing for 40 years he still sold out a show in London. Hollywood is funny. But you know what they say. It can make you or break you and I think in his case Hollywood did both things to him.

    • Very well said, Garrett. I just saw his last rehearsal at the Staple’s center. See what he was singing, “All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us.”

  3. Well said, and hopefully this too will be a life lesson to those who strive to “be like Mike”.

    While I doubt the whole truth will ever truly be known by the public, enough will get out to continue to paint a disturbing picture of the life of one who supposedly “had it all”.

    You made some good observations, now lets see if anyone learns from them.

  4. Bravo! Well written and very insightful.

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