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How a 45-Minute Visit with Michael Jackson Led to Years of Nightmares

How a 45-Minute Visit with Michael Jackson Led to Years of Nightmares

Music

In the years since Michael Jackson’s tragic death, passion for all things related to the brilliant, troubled superstar has only increased.  From the profound—his peerless musical legacy, to the perverse—endless speculation about his nose and myriad of other personal eccentricities, it seems that no subject is beyond the interest of his ever-growing fan-base.  In the early-2000s while running the music publishing company for songwriter/socialite Denise Rich, I had an unexpected and unforgettable opportunity to spend 45 minutes in private audience with the “King of Pop”  Though the circumstances were mysterious and the take-away confusing, it was certainly unforgettable.  Here is my completely true, first-hand account of how I came to have a private audience with Michael Jackson, one of the greatest recording artists of all-time.  I have written the entire story from notes that I wrote shortly after our visit; nothing is exaggerated.

The intercom buzzed.  It was Denise…obviously.  “Oh, oh, is this David?  It’s Denise,” she said, always emphasizing the second syllable of her name in that breathy, singsong, little-girl voice, as if I might not be able to identify my boss, with or without the caller I.D. that said “bedroom.”  Denise’s voice was a curious instrument that sounded like a B’nai Brith Marilyn Monroe and frequently made me feel like she’d stepped out of a photo session with Bert Stern just to tell me a secret.  “Hi, Denise, yes it’s me,” said I, with an insincere air of surprise, in what had come to be our version of Rhoda’s daily routine with Carlton the doorman.  “Oh…okay,” she’d say, trail off for a moment, and then return, breaking into a nervous but warm laugh, which seemed to celebrate the simple act of having clearly established our identities and proximity to each other within the spralling 5th Avenue triplex aerie she called “home” and I called “office.”  Denise’s happy laugh was always a sign we were moving in the right direction, like the chortle of a baby that had only just discovered its toes.

Michael Jackson fake nose
This photo from around 2002 clearly shows MIchael’s prosthetic nose.

This same bit of business played itself out every time we spoke—which is to say incessantly—but for Denise Rich, songwriter/socialite (that was the order she liked me to use), each time she spoke to me on the intercom was like our first hello.  “Listen…what I wanted to say was…okay…be ready to leave…in about a half an hour..be ready, okay?”  The word “distractible” did not begin to measure Denise’s level of conversational disengagement. “Sure,” I said.  “Where are we going?”  “I’ll explain on the way…I’ll come down…I’ll see you soon…Okay…Buh, bye!”  Click.

As long as I wasn’t in urgent need of a cogent answer, I rather enjoyed my rambling conversations with Denise for their whimsy and good natured unpredictability—she was like Auntie Mame and Joey Heatherton rolled into one—which is to say: you often didn’t comprehend where she was going with an idea but it was fun along the way.  Her admonishments about punctuality were ironic as I was unfailingly prompt and she was unfailingly late, but that particular morning she seemed determined to stick to a schedule, which suggested we were going to see someone unusual and important enough to make her mindful of time, an otherwise fluid concept.  I learned this was not an uncommon characteristic in the very wealthy: there will always be another plane, another car, another opportunity for “one-percenters” like Denise Rich, who couldn’t have had a more accurate appellation.  Although at that point I’d only been running her music publishing company for a few months, I’d known Denise since the mid-1990s and with her there there were two constant truths: she will always be late and anything is possible—no matter how fantastic—this was the coin of the realm in her caffeinated, bold-faced life.

Denise arrived in my office fifteen minutes late (shockingly prompt for her).  We got into the car and Edward, her driver, turned east on 60th street.  “So where are we going?” I asked again.  She started laughing in advance. “We’re going to see Michael Jackson at the Palace Hotel!” she exclaimed with more than her usual percentage of  detached bewilderment.  Denise had two primary modalities: astonishment and annoyance.  “Really?  Why?” I inquired, a bit surprised because even for Denise’s world of non-stop parties, yachts, and red carpets, this was a rather massive dopamine spike—a red letter day!  “Well..I’m not really sure,” she replied laughing, “he just called and said he wanted me to come over.  I guess we’ll find out when we get there!”

“But are you and Michael friends?” I persisted, knowing that even in those pre-Facebook days the word “friend” had completely lost its meaning in the music business and other social worlds Denise moved through.  “Well…I mean I know him…He came to an Angel Ball party with the Clintons a few years ago,” she added, referring to the charity she had founded in memory of her daughter Gabrielle that raised millions to seed research for blood-related cancer, “but we’re not really friends…well…I guess we’re friends,” she added, as if my line of questioning had now forced her to lose the meaning of the word herself.

Denise’s tone frequently communicated her own gusto for the adrenaline-dependent circus that was her life, a world that I had only just recently been sucked into, an unreal newsreel of torn-from-the-headlines drama that delivered bong hits of thrills and “don’t you wish you were me” moments to an always hungry, narcissistic appetite with addictive frequency.  Despite its risks, her playful ridiculousness was infectious—sculpted as it was with her immense wealth—and few were impervious to its particular appeal.  The metaphor I always used was that Denise was a huge fruit tree and everyone in her life was running in circles underneath with baskets, knocking each other over in desperate attempts to collect any low-hanging fruit.

Although it predated me working for her, I had heard about the Michael Jackson party she was referring to from other staff members who were in the house that night.  According to the story I was told, it was very warm in the house that evening: so warm in fact, that the surgical tape that secured the singer’s prosthetic nose-tip  began to peel off.  My informants recounted how mortified Michael was as he ran to the bathroom to put his nose back on, which was understandable, because I feel embarrassed if I find an errant carraway seed in my teeth so I can only imagine what it feels like for your nose to fall off.  I remembered this anecdote clearly because that was the first time I’d ever heard that Michael was missing the end of his nose and—at least for me—you don’t forget things like how the biggest star in the world has a taped-on nose.

This photo was taken the night Michael’s nose fell off at Denise’s house.

As we headed down Fifth Avenue, Denise said, “I just hope he doesn’t want money,” referencing a familiar dynamic when she received unusual invitations from celebrities she only knew in that superficial “it’s-so-great-that-we’re-all-rich-and-famous” way.  These invites often came with a price tag.  Everybody in New York knew Denise was a pushover if her contribution promised access to an event or cause involving proximity to fame that exceeded her own, and—though it seems exceedingly unjust—I observed many people who were all-too-eager to treat her like a human ATM while simultaneously losing respect for her for acceding to their requests, as if they could sense the desperation Denise felt to purchase access.  I saw this and would try to warn her off playing into the hand of fiscal predators of this sort, but it was simply impossible: like an addict, she was powerless over her need to purchase self-esteem.  I think on some level Denise knew she was played for a fool, though she always acted irritated and somewhat surprised that her entire world revolved on a system of complicated ulterior motives and favor-swapping.   The fact is she was always complicit in these transactions, which prevented me from thinking of her as a victim.  I suspected deep down she herself harbored a certain sadness and sense of having lost something on the trip from the lobby to the penthouse, though in four years together she never completely admitted this was the case.  Whatever awareness of her “friends'” duplicity Denise possessed was unilaterally ignored—she was truly a magnet for scoundrels, hustlers, and con artists who were so much grist for the mill on the Denise Rich Chaos Express.

It seemed appropriate that Michael Jackson—American royalty—would be staying at the Palace Hotel.  It also was not surprising that though he was ostensibly in New York by himself, he was occupying an entire, vast floor, purchased to ensure that his world would be hermetically sealed and that he would have no contact with anyone outside of his entourage.  We were met in the lobby by one of Michael’s attorneys, Samuel Gen (a con artist who was later disbarred for extortion—par for the course in this world), and exchanged pleasantries.  As we rode the elevator up I was a bit nervous.  Of course I admired Michael greatly for his prodigious gifts, but by 2003 you didn’t need to be a shrink to know that he was a mess.  The cliche about the risk of meeting famous people you admire for fear that they might disappoint you occurred to me as we stepped out of the elevator and were led down a long corridor; I noted a queasy feeling in my stomach (not generally a good portent), but I simply had no reference point to prepare me for what happened next.

My favorite picture of young Michael, by Henry Diltz

Mr. Gen knocked on a door and a faint voice said “come in,” and the door swung open revealing a huge club chair at the far end of a the suite where Michael was seated facing away from us.   As he stood up slowly to greet us I emitted what must have been an audible gasp, such was Michael’s condition: he was tall—taller than I would have imagined—and an emaciated, wraith-like figure.  He wore a baggy plaid shirt and nondescript trousers with loafers.  His wig, messily nested atop his head and off-center, was like a dome that capped what might fairly be described as the saddest face I’d ever seen.  Michael was pale and sickly looking.  There was tape over his heavily made-up “nose,” his lips a gash of hastily applied red lipstick, which bled into his ghost-white face.  Most upsetting of all were his big, glassy, brown eyes: sad pools that seemed to somehow project a lifetime of pain and an empty, unexpressive nothingness simultaneously.  I never forgot his eyes because his eyes were dead.   The whole introduction, which took less than 30 seconds, has lived on in my memory as a macabre moment worthy of a horror film whose impact could most accurately be compared to the unmasking scene in the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera.  And that was just our “hellos!”

Heartbreakingly, Michael’s greeting reminded me of this moment in the 1925 version of “The Phantom of the Opera”

Michael hugged Denise and shook my hand with his nursing-home grip and all four of us sat down around a coffee table.  I was seated next to Denise on a love seat and Michael was facing his crook lawyer, a surrogate handler in this context, there, I suppose, as a security blanket and to make sure Michael wanted for nothing.  Unfortunately, the crook lawyer was unable to provide the one thing we were all desperately in need of: the subject of the conversation that was about to begin.  I could tell Denise was extremely nervous (I don’t really blame her as we had no idea why were were there and Michael looked like he’d walked off the set of George Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead), which often had the effect of making her laugh more frequently and in the wrong places and say things that didn’t quite make sense.  It didn’t really matter because, the situation being what is was, Michael didn’t make much sense either.

A scene from David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man” (1979)
Michael became the Elephant Man. Note his white hands and brown nails: the only visual remnant of his former race

After the requisite “hello, it’s so good to see yous” there was an awkward pause, which Denise immediately began frantically stuffing with social anxiety landfill: her nervous laugh and the proclamation “this is so great,” which Denise nattered whenever she didn’t know what else to say.  After a few false starts where Michael would say something that made no sense, Denise responded by also saying something that also made no sense; I would then chime in in a vain attempt to make some sense of what had just been said, and the crook lawyer would say absolutely nothing.  This wasn’t working so I decided to be more assertive by changing the subject.  I had noticed that next to the club chair that Michael occupied like Vincent Price there was some sort of large, framed object.  “What do you have there Michael?  It looks beautiful,” I said.  “Oh this?” he whispered in his very strange, light voice.  “This is a present from Shirley Temple.  I love her so much.”  “May we see it?” I asked.

I think Michael idealized the idea of childhood. What better symbol of childhood idyll than Shirley Temple?

The autographed picture that he showed us was indeed quite lovely and it struck me in that moment that I was witnessing an authentic Michael Jackson cliche: his obsession with other child stars.  It was but the first of a series of Michael Jackson cliches that began to rain down on us: first a light sprinkling but, eventually, a full-blown hail storm of Michael Jackson show business tropes.

“It’s very beautiful, Michael,” I said, Denise cooing beside me.  “Thank you.  I’m so glad she sent it to me,” he added.  I noticed his speech was a bit slurred and that he seemed extremely exhausted from the simple fact of receiving us and turning the photo around.  I was suspicious and the long, uncomfortable pause gave me a chance to study his long, bony fingers and oddly blanched skin.  The only part of him that still retained any vestige of his African American race were his brown fingernails.  I looked up and studied his face, which was not awkward because Michael was now nodding—sleeping.  Oh dear.  Michael was high.  Really fucking high.  And he wasn’t black anymore.

“So, how are you Michael?” Denise asked chirpily.  His head snapped back and his eyes opened lazily, like Janice, the stoner muppet from The Electric Mayhem.  “Oh, I’m great,” he slurred.  I thought to myself that from the looks of it Denise and I should only feel that good.  “I really love children,” he added, a propos of nothing except, perhaps, his Shirley Temple reverie and its concomitant association to his own lost childhood.  “Yes, children are so important,” Denise said.  Pause: 1, 2, 3.  “There should be a Children’s Day, don’t you think so?” Michael added, returning briefly to the conversation in order deliver this proclamation, which, as I predicted, primarily served as a segue to the inevitable treatise on having been robbed of his own childhood.

Michael’s heavy-lidded nodding eyes reminded me of Janice from the Electric Mayhem

“Yes, we should try to make a Children’s Day, for all the children,” Denise added helpfully.  “Shit, don’t encourage him,” I thought.  Pause: 1, 2, 3.  “Well…um..well, maybe someone should call someone to make it happen, we should all work together, right Michael?”  Denise continued, trying to pull him back from the land of the horses and rescue the conversation from it’s alarmingly rhythmic fits and starts.  Pause: 1, 2, 3.  “Well,” Denise added in nonsensical desperation, “we definitely should do something Michael—you’re absolutely right, isn’t he David?—let’s do something for the children.  I know Kofi Annan, maybe he could help us,” referencing the former Secretary General of the United Nations, the way Dorothy offered to help the Scarecrow get some brains and equally as fantasy-based.  This moment struck me as deeply ironic, as Michael had played the Scarecrow in the 1978 film The Wiz and was presently giving us a shocking recreation of very late-period Judy Garland behavior—say 1968—with Esquire Samuel Gen cast in the Micky Deans predator/husband role.

After another conversation blackout, I attempted to steer the discourse back toward the planet Earth with a query I thought was so simple it couldn’t fail.  I was wrong, it could fail and it did.  “So how old are your kids now, Michael?” I innocently asked, waking him up for the fifth time.  His muppet Janice eyes opened magically again.  “Well,” he whispered, “Prince Michael is six, Paris is three, and Blanket is six months.”  Denise and I reacted identically—we froze and looked at each other and silently asked “did he just say the word Blanket?”  No one had ever heard of Blanket at that point—this was just before the media frenzy when Blanket’s doting father dangled the infant over the railing of a hotel like a rag doll—but at this point in the psychosis of this conversation anything was possible.  “Oh, that’s so wonderful….Blanket….yes, well, that’s so nice…a little Blanket” said Denise and nervously defaulted to her meaningless, all-purpose, space-filling laugh that meant absolutely nothing, breaking into a flop sweat as she repeated her mantra: “this is sooo great, this is just great!”

Michael dangles “Blanket” over a hotel balcony, shortly after our meeting with him. Not the sign of a well man.

“I never had a childhood,” Michael continued.  “Here we go,” I thought as the M.J. tropes kept-a-comin’.  What’s next, I thought,  how his father abused him?  “My father was very, very hard on us,” he continued.  “He would sometimes beat us if we crossed him,” Michael whispered, beginning to doze again.  “Oh, that’s terrible…that just isn’t right, no it’s not,” Denise rejoined, shaking her head back and forth and clucking like a disapproving aunt.  At this point, I was too stunned to do much damage control.  I sat there, slack-jawed and prayed silently for this hellish visit to somehow reach its conclusion, though—to be sure—it lacked a beginning and middle, so why should it ever end?

“I did like Christmas though,” Michael continued, “it was the one day of joy in our house.”  As Michael began a longwinded, gauzy account of Christmas morning in the Jackson home, I did a little daydreaming of my own.  I looked at this shell of man and my heart fairly broke.  I thought of why he wanted John Merrick’s bones and how, in a way, he had become a sort of “Elephant Man” too; disfigured and completely isolated and the terrible psychic pain he obviously needed to medicate.  I knew that this wasn’t a few oxycontin or a pain killer kind of high, this was more like there was a doctor in the next room who shot him up regularly kind of high (I was, sadly, prescient on that point).  I thought of Judy Garland and Elvis Presley, of the wasted potential.  I thought of the Grand Guignol horror of Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, as I observed that his wig was slipping off his head, his lip stick was bleeding into the skin around his lips, and his huge hands cupping the edge of the club chair as he nodded were white with weird brown nails.  The man was dying and this visit was haunting and, seemingly, unending.  40 minutes had passed and we as a group had failed to produce three consecutive cogent sentences, which I thought must be some sort of record.

There are a hand full of entertainers over time, you can count them on two hands, who by the time they’re in their teens years have a talent so fully expressed, so preternatural, that you suspect God’s handiwork:  Sammy Davis, Jr., Judy Garland, Whitney Houston and, of course, Michael.   How did the child who electrified the world in 1970 become the nodding junkie before us?  My instincts were right, I felt sorry for having come.

By the time Michael finished his slurred, rambling soliloquy about Christmas Day and was moving on (slowly) to the press’ mistreatment of him and his hatred of Sony Music, I felt an urgent need to get Denise and me out of there posthaste.  I looked at the crook lawyer/enabler and indicated with a nod of my head that it was time to let Michael do his own kind of nodding in peace.  “Well Denise, perhaps we should let Michael get back to his day, I’m sure he’s quite busy.”  Michael’s head snapped forward, Janice eyes opening.  “Are you leaving?” he whispered, the tone of his voice made me think that he wouldn’t have minded  if we stayed longer: anything but being alone, giving us a full-on “please don’t leave me here” Judy Garland moment.  “Oh, Michael, we’ll come again soon, I promise,” Denise said, disingenuously, before reverting back to her nervous, meaningless laugh and what felt like an endless series of “this is great, this is so greats.”  We stood up to leave.

Another visual reference point for my visit with Michael: Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

On the ride back home we didn’t speak for a while.  I was stunned and shocked and saddened.  Denise just seemed confused, having no clearer idea why she was sent for now than she did before we went.  The answer was there was no answer.  Michael was a lonely junkie and Denise was someone he knew in New York.  She is what passed for a friend in his world, a world clearly bereft of real friends.

For weeks and months after our 45-minute visit with Michael I would have weird daydreams about him and his haunting image even worked its way into my dreams at night.  At one point, I ran into his brother Randy who I had met once or twice, and I told him about our disturbing visit with Michael.  “Oh, is he at it again?” he asked.   “Apparently, it seems pretty bad,” I said, feeling more like Louella Parsons than Florence Nightingale.  It was obvious from his reaction that the family knew about Michael’s issues and that they’d been down this road before.   It also seemed obvious that they’d given up.  Truth is, when you’re as rich and powerful as Michael Jackson, there will always be another set of enablers just waiting to take over.  My initial instincts were right: I regretted the meeting and wish I could have kept Michael in my imagination forever as the young and hopeful kid with more talent than he knew what to do with.  For me the only surprise left was that he survived four more years, for if you’d told me he died the day after my visit with him it would have made more sense than the visit itself.  There but for the grace of God go I.

It was tragic that Michael’s self-image was so damaged that he couldn’t see the beauty in him the rest of us did.  This is how I prefer to remember him, but it’s hard to do after our “meeting.”

 

More Michael Jackson:

An Exhaustingly Comprehensive Letter From a Reader About Michael Jackson’s Nose

Stargayzing Enola Gays Ola Ray’s Remember! The Girl From Michael Jackson’s Thriller Drops Bomb on Unsuspecting Public Leaving Diminished Fanbase Bewildered

DoctorKC’s Most Curious Version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”

And a Li’l LaToya Jackson:

Eating With The Stars: LaToya Jackson’s Quick and Easy Microwave Meatballs! The Recipe that Began the Collection!

The Worst Celebrity Exercise Video Ever? A Tribute to LaToya Jackson’s Step Up, Plus, (Paradoxically) Her Uber-Fattening Recipe For “Creamy Apple Dessert” in Eating With The Stars!

You may also enjoy:

On the One-Year Anniversary of Her Passing: Dim All The Lights for Donna Summer

What Really Killed Whitney Houston? On the Mainstream Media’s Coverup of the Star’s Sexuality: The Greatest Love of All

Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand): My Three Nights with Diana Ross, Including The Night She Was Snubbed by Beyonce

 

74 Comments

  1. Lisa Gurnsey
    September 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm
    Reply

    I simply want to say I am all new to blogging and site-building and honestly savored this page. Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You certainly have good well written articles. Kudos for sharing your web page.

  2. John H.
    September 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm
    Reply

    David, What great, albeit sad storytelling! Keep up the good work.

  3. Andrew
    September 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm
    Reply

    What a captivating tale, even if it’s ultimately tragic. Well done!

    • David Munk
      September 12, 2012 at 2:29 am

      Thanks Andy xx

  4. Kevin G.
    September 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm
    Reply

    David, you are a great writer, my friend. Thoroughly enjoyed this piece and all of your pieces…no shit.

  5. Ronnie
    September 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm
    Reply

    David – this is a story extremely well told. I just saw “Searching for Sugar Man” an equally sad tale (or maybe not), but with a happy ending (thank God) mainly due to Rodriguez’ lack of success in the USA. Anyway, it seems the music industry is littered with these stories. It is too bad. Separately, I hate to say it, but your writing from LA is pretty spectacular.

    • David Munk
      September 13, 2012 at 4:36 am

      Thank you so much for checking in and taking the time to read…xx

  6. lara
    October 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    Reply

    Interesting story, but quite frankly there was nothing more for Michael to prove. The latter years of his life, he was just living for his children and playing music for his close friends and family. He’d already been arguably the best child singer with the Jackson 5, he was the prince of pop music in the 70s with massive hits with both the Jackson 5 and with his own penned songs in the Jacksons, he had the most selling black album at the age of 21 (won his first grammy with his own song Don’t stop till you get enough), he broke that record with Thriller (the most successful album of all time) and he changed MTV forever, with his videos and his dancing. He was already crowned by the people, king of pop at the age of 23. He had 5 number one hit songs with the album Bad, who changed music and is still referenced in the music world, because of the work he put into it (the sonic sounds that he created) . He had the most successful tours with the BAD tour and Dangerous tour, he took dancing to a whole new level with the Dangerous album and explored more themes of music with Dangerous & History and his best lyrical work was made in the 90s. Not to forget he gave 300 million dollars to charity, so the question is – what more could he really do? He’d won everything he had possibly wanted to, he was deeply depressed and his only light were his children and creating music, but in reality there was nothing more for him to prove to the world. He’d done it all, or like Kurt Cobain once said, when a star has shown their best work it’s better to die than to give out shit.

    • David Munk
      October 15, 2012 at 1:22 am

      Hi,
      I’m not sure what your point is. I’m well aware of his accomplishments but I think there are many reasons to live beyond “proving things to the world”. The notion that “it’s better to die than to give out shit” is just bizarre. How about to see your kids grow up? Your comment seems vaguely defensive but I’m not sure why or about what exactly. I wasn’t commenting on Michael’s importance as an artist. I was just telling a story about a sad man that I met, who both seemed both bigger than life and painfully relatable.

      Thanks for checking in. David

  7. Sabine
    October 15, 2012 at 6:41 am
    Reply

    David, how different might Micheal’s day have went if you or Denise had bothered to ask him what was wrong, offer a kind word or at the very least, a sympathetic ear. You disclose at the end of your article, and “hint” through out, that you knew very well what was wrong. You knew he was suffering from “terrible psychic pain” but refer to his statement about child abuse/trauma as “tropes”? You knew he was looking for a friend in his “world bereft of friendship” and reaching out.

    As fate would have it, David, on that day, he reached out and found you (and Denise).
    Being charitable and empathetic is what makes us human, something alas on the road to riches and diamond rings, people seem to forget. So sad for Michael that he just kept on meeting people like that. Everyone pointing the finger at how strange he was, how horrible the sycophants and enablers were and no one stopping for a moment to look at the man in the mirror. That’s what happened to that electrifying child from the 70s; that’s what happened to many child stars.

    It’s all well and good when they are sacrificing their childhood to entertain us but God forbid they make us feel “uncomfortable”.

    This story is very well written, hats off, but how much more meaningful it would have been to read that you actually did. . . . you know. . . .something (other than criticize). David, to a lonely person in pain sometimes the smallest act of kindness can make all the difference in the world.

    This was truly a sad story, Michael the sad, broken and lonely artist; Denise, the sad, bewildered, flighty employee and David, the sadly condemning, fault-finding bystander.

    • David Munk
      October 16, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Dear Sabine,

      While I’m so glad you took the time to read my piece I’m perplexed by your comments. I felt tremendously compassion both while I was going through the experience and then again when I relived it to write the story. Along with horror, sadness and yes, even a bit of gallows humor.

      Sabine, this guy was a stranger to me and the notion that I, you know, somehow failed him that day is bizarre. The only person who could help Michael Jackson was Michael Jackson, not me, not his family, and not you. This is a universal truth of addiction irrespective of class, gender or race. I tried to write the story of that day with honesty and truth. For me to have expressed condemnation would be a terrific act of hypocrisy on my part. Not sure where you got “fault finding” —I just wrote what happened.

      The last sentence, “there but for the grace of God go I,” might suggest a great deal of empathy to the careful reader.

    • Tamas
      April 22, 2016 at 7:48 am

      I couldn’t say it better

  8. Sabine
    October 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm
    Reply

    David, seriously I get it. What else could you do but get the hell out of dodge and write a mocking, sardonic account of your superior perception of both Denise and Michael several years after the fact equipped with disparaging pictures?

    All of us who encounter souls who have hit rock bottom and are struggling with their pain should be so lucky as to encounter “compassionate” people such as yourself.

    Summing up with a perfunctory “there but for the grace of God go I” is enough, truly, and so very helpful – not only to Michael, who is dead and gone, but to the many addicts in the world. Actions do NOT speak louder than words, we SHOULD use our talents to belittle the struggles of others, and the last sentence really and truly showed so much empathy. Thanks for responding. It was an interesting read.

    • dabney
      June 16, 2013 at 3:27 am

      Sabine, you are the most insufferably self-righteous, sanctimonious, judgmental nit I’ve ever met on the internet. Clearly this very well-written article is a compassionate lament about a man whose once-glorious life was now, tragically, in tatters. Hardly mocking, sardonic, or superior! Reading comprehension, Sabine. It’s more than just knowing what the words mean.

      Do you really think that a “hey, Michael, what’s wrong?” was appropriate given the circumstances? Do you really think anybody in that room had the power to change anything that day? Do you really believe that had YOU been there, you would have succeeded where all his friends and family failed? Are you that special? Are your ideas of kindness so radical that you are so convinced nobody had ever thought of trying that route before?

      Ugh, every comment I’ve ever read from you is a blanket condemnation of humanity. Everyone is bad except you and Michael Jackson. Nobody else on Earth has the capacity for empathy and compassion. Ugh. Go on and keep policing the thoughts of anybody and everybody who writes any sort of truth about their encounter with Michael. And keep writing that vile fan-fiction about MJ. Now there’s something that elevates his memory. Bleh.

    • cyn
      October 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Sabine was right. Michael was battling the world at this point (press, failed marriage and failed reunion with Lisa Marie, Sony constructing his demise, financial decline, so called friends who were not at all) and would go on shortly to being crucified in court over false charges of child molestation. David’s piece was well written but incredibly mean spirited and mocking (making it dangerously seductive and entertaining while adding to the pain and meanness of man), and I feel sad that our society tortured this gifted humanitarian until he died. Dabney and David, you can suck it because you are exactly the kind of self righteous smug and critical people that did that to him. It disgusts me.

    • David Munk
      October 23, 2015 at 1:57 am

      Dear reader,

      You would appear to have tremendous insight into the private life of Michael Jackson. Naturally everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you state yours as facts, which is not possible unless, for example, you lived in Jackson’s bedroom. Neither you nor I knows for sure whether he was a pedophile; we have opinions. The only the I stated as facts were the things I observed with my own eyes and I stand by the piece.

      I don’t know who Dabney is, but I appreciate that you feel my piece was well-written. I am glad that you had a strong reaction to the piece and place no premium on people agreeing. It’s enough to know you had a strong reaction. As for “sucking it,” I assure you that I do with regularity.

      Warmly,

      David

    • cyn
      December 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      actually it IS a fact that the man was acquitted of all charges. He was innocent. If you have cared to read about the trial, it is clear it was a vendetta by a DA and a shake down by some parents.And in 1994 two grand juries could not find any credible evidence. If you actually had read up on MJ’s life and the many children he helped, and the testimonies of hundreds of children who knew him and were helped by him, you would know this. If you had bothered to read about the antagonism between Sneddon and Jackson in the 90s you would know this. Apparently you couldn’t be bothered to do your homework. Instead you go on repeating a bunch of innuendo. How would YOU feel if you had made it your mission to do good in the world towards children, and yet were continuously accused of pedophilia? Would kinda ruin your life wouldn’t it?

  9. Miss A. Nonny
    November 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    Reply

    David, I have to tell you something about Michael Jackson that I know for an absolute fact, and I will tell also you how I know this.

    The story about Michael’s nose falling off is merely another urban legend, something akin to the story about Jayne Mansfield being decapitated in the car accident that ended her life so tragically.

    I know this about Michael because I had nasal surgery by the same doctor that Michael Jackson went to for many years. This is the same surgeon who created Michael’s famous “butt-chin” dimple; Dr. Steven Hoefflin of Santa Monica, CA.

    Dr. Hoefflin sometimes performs his surgeries at St. Mary’s Hospital in Santa Monica, while some of the more minor procedures are performed in his office, which contains something called the “Michael Jackson Suite”, which Michael donated to him so that he could have his own multiple surgeries performed in that suite in private, thus avoiding having to check into the hospital and risk being exposed to germs and people.

    Hoefflin likes to give his patients a very sculpted nose, with an extremely refined tip. This is his trademark nose, especially for African-American persons (most of the Jackson Family), and other people with thicker skin types and wider noses. The way that Hoefflin accomplishes this nose is by removing as much cartilage from the tip as possible. He would then send the patient home with a roll of something called surgical tape, which is just a type of white sticky tape that is hypo-allergenic so that it won’t irritate the skin after many days or weeks of contact with the skin. The theory is that by having the patient tightly wrap the tape around the tip of the nose, this will help the newly sculpted nasal tip to heal into a thinner shape. The tape is meant to be used for up to a month at the longest, during which time the nose heals from the surgery. After about a month, the tape is not meant to be used anymore.

    I think that in Michael’s case, he liked the look of his nose with the tape in place. It kept the tip looking thinner and smaller, which is obviously the look that he was going for.
    I’ve seen many photos of Michael with this tape on his nose, and I can recognise the wrapping method that was taught to me by Dr. Hoefflin.

    I know all of this because I had my nose altered by Dr. Hoefflin in 1987, and he sent me home with a couple rolls of the surgical tape. I used it for about a month, then stopped using it. My nose never healed into an extremely thin shape at the tip, which is what I believe also happened with Michael. But whereas I simply stopped using the tape, Michael continued using it daily for the rest of his life, because he really wanted a teeny-tiny little button of a nose, and this was the only way he could get it.

    In Michael’s case, the tape was also used in conjunction with his trademark pale makeup, which gave him a very strange look. When the tape started peeling off, the makeup also started coming off, and to anyone present, it really must have looked like Michael’s nose was coming off, but I can assure you, it wasn’t. But combine the peeling tape with the odd behaviour that you described in your article, and add all the other crazy rumors to the mix, and it’s easy for anyone to believe that Michael’s nose was actually falling off and that he had to tape it on his face. And now that your article is published on the internet, you have also fed the fantasy about Michael Jackson having a taped-on nose.

    If someone really did have a prosthetic nose, they would most likely affix it with surgical adhesive, not with adhesive tape. A taped-on nose is bound to fall off eventually, as it isn’t really possible to tape it on securely unless you were to wrap the tape entirely around the head, which Michael Jackson obviously didn’t do.

    You could probably contact Dr. Hoefflin’s office and inquire about the technique of taping the nasal tip post-rhinoplasty. I’m sure that if you inquired about this, they would probably be willing to send you a handout describing the technique. They send this information packet home with prospective rhinoplasty patients. It night even be published on the internet if you wanted to research it.

    I obviously didn’t use my real name on this submission, as I don’t want to have my name added to the list of people who have to tape their noses on their face. LOL!

    I enjoyed your article about Michael Jackson despite the inaccuracy of the taped-on nose story.

    I also enjoyed your interview with Jason Gould about his singing career. I had the pleasure of hearing him sing at his mother’s concert in Chicago on October 26th. I hope to submit some comments to Jason for you to forward on to him.

    Keep up the good writing, it is very enjoyable.

    Miss A. Nonny

    • David Munk
      November 15, 2012 at 1:50 am

      Dear “Miss A. Nonny,”

      Thank you for your fascinating and thorough analysis of Michael Jackson’s nose. I feel as though your ability to parse the subject in such an exhaustive, satisfying way suggests that, although we have different theories about the nose, we are actually kindred spirits.

      In fact, I am so motivated by your feedback that I am going to use it as the content for a follow-up story on Michael’s nose. Judging from the number of hits the piece got, we are not the only folks out there intrigued by the subject!

      Please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter on the homepage of stargayzing so I can keep you up to date!

      Warmly,

      David

  10. Miss A. Nonny
    November 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm
    Reply

    Correction: In my posting about Michael Jackson’s nose, I mistakenly referred to the hospital as being “St. Mary’s”; it is actually “St. John’s Hospital” located in Santa Monica, CA, while St. Mary’s Hospital is in Rochester, MN, and is part of the famed Mayo Clinic compound. I’ve had different types of surgeries performed in each of these hospitals, hence my confusing their names.

    • David Munk
      November 15, 2012 at 1:51 am

      With subjects as sensitive as noses, you can never be too specific!

  11. Mark Gottlieb
    January 27, 2013 at 5:20 am
    Reply

    David – What a thoughtful, well-written, and tragic piece. I loved your Lon Chaney reference (one of my favorite movies). As a child, I literally dreamed of sharing the stage with the J5 often (and sported a ‘fro in solidarity with Michael for many years which you may remember from EB). This piece confirms the nightmare reality that became of my and so many other fans’ dreams that arose out of his incredible talent.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. Do you still talk with your now Austrian former boss?

    -Mark

    • David Munk
      January 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Mark. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It means a lot to me. As for Denise, I find I’ve run out of things to say to her and denouncing her citizenship was, for me, just the most cynical thing I’ve ever heard. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll sign up for my monthly newsletter and like the Facebook stargayzing page! I appreciate your support.

  12. Louis Gonzales
    February 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm
    Reply

    This was a fantastic article, Mr. Munk! Personally, I believe what Michael really needed was a family. I wish his parents had let him stay at Havenhurst rather then kick him out because of his age. I mean, the creation of Neverland truly separated Michael from the World. It also increased his loneliness, since he was pretty much the only person occupying this newly created world of his. Michael would often treat guests at Neverland quite well. He once told a guest that it brought him a lot of joy to have them since he would often be alone and eat alone at Neverland. I know Michael tried to find surrogate families to keep him company, yet this backfired on him when molestation charges came about. These charges are what killed him. They were like a cancer onto his spirit. I guess, the only thing that could remedy that hurt would be drugs. (It also didn’t help that he needed to take painkillers for Vitiligo treatments, and he needed to take prescription drugs for his severe Lupus.) Once again, thank you! This article was very telling about Michael. This account is also very similar to accounts given by Michael’s friend, Frank Cascio, as well.

    • David Munk
      February 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Louis. Thank you so much for taking the time to read Stargayzing. It means a lot to me and I’m glad you enjoyed the piece about Michael. I have mixed feelings about having had the opportunity to meet him, but at least I have been able to share the experience. Please take a moment to sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the home page) so we can stay in touch! David

    • dabney
      June 16, 2013 at 3:50 am

      Michael’s parents didn’t kick him out of the house! They couldn’t – he owned it. Michael left on his own accord once the deal went through and he purchased the ranch. But I do agree that he seemed to be trying to find a substitute family. Heartbreaking, really.

  13. invisible
    March 26, 2013 at 8:38 am
    Reply

    How nice of you was it to take every jab possible at MJ to appease your readers and yourself for the sake of “humor,” as you stated? How nice and compassionate was it of you to make obnoxious references to different movies and characters who were viewed as odd, weird and/or bizarre to fit your perception of how your “nightmare” of an experience of meeting MJ was? You did it not only once, but throughout your whole little piece. Were you trying to be funny again? He wasn’t black anymore. You do know that he suffered from an autoimmune disease called Vitiligo, right? The only symblance of his African-American race was his weird, dark nails. LOL! Wrong answer. You do know that his dark nail beds was an effect of another autoimmune disease called Lupus, right? Oh, but you just wanted add some humor to a supposed sad, nightmare-ish story. How ’bout the reasons behind wearing that crooked wig? Know that one? Or just why he was drugged? You know, the actual reasons why he was prescribed certain medicines, and not because he was a junkie looking for a fix for recreational reasons, like you seem to believe. Please don’t get me started on the tape to hold up his “prosthetic nose,” which autopsy reports showed wasn’t actually true.

    You resorted to so much media innuendo that Michael Jackson was this weird, bizarre freak that’s not capable of having anything remotely positive said about them, as evident in your well written article (words used loosely). By now, I nor any other fan is surprised.

    Let me ask you this. Have you ever heard anyone else tell you of an encounter they’ve had with MJ over the years? Was it good or bad? There may have very well been some bad ones, but I bet you the good outweigh the bad. I’ve read of and heard some good ones. Surprised by that? These stories and encounters would put your ‘out-to-please-the-media-and-my-readers-because-MJ-was-a-drug-addicted-freak’ tale to shame. I’m so glad you’ve never had the opportunity to meet him again, but you might have thought it was going to be yet another nightmare for you anyway. Oh bummer.

    Instead of Randy Jackson, whose had more problems of his own than Michael Jackson, what other Jackson have you met? Did they express concern for Mj’s well-being or did they just simply say “oh, he’s at it again?”

    I get very well that he was and/or may have been under the influence during your meeting, but to make a mockery of it is so wrong on so many levels. I agree with Sabine. If MJ looked so terrifying, sickly rail thin, and whatever else you had fun taking an unneccessary jab at, why not try and offer a helping hand? Since you knew his lawyer was a crook? Since you knew that he was surrounded by enablers. Oh, but Mj could only help MJ. True, but a simple act of maybe some concern just may have helped.

    This may have been a well written article to everyone else, but to me it just showed how obnoxious of a person you really are. And no, I didn’t forget the Denise Rich insults either. You are no better than the rest of the media pundits who’ve done this same exact thing to MJ for most of his life, yet you felt sorry for him and longed for the person he once was…err, the former black man, oops! Read your piece again. It’s no wonder he turned to meds to ease his emotional pain (although not most of the time, given he had actual, legitimate reasons for taking prescription drugs)–because of people like you. I’m not saying you should’ve praised obvious behavior, but you didn’t have to stoop so low either.

    Your article sucks. Continue conforming to the media agenda.

    Gee, I sure did ask a lot of questions.

    • David Munk
      March 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Hi there. It seems like my piece irritated you. My intention was to tell my first hand story as honestly as possible, using the references that occurred to me regarding the experience. These observations are very personal and say as much about me as they do about the subject I am writing about. This is always true with memoir pieces. I am not a journalist, just a writer. I am okay with people having their own individual responses to what I write. Stargayzing isn’t for everyone. That said, you sure seem invested in Michael being a victim. I can understand that too, it’s painful to think of our idols being flawed. Let me just say that my story was extremely consistent with other people’s experiences who actually knew him. I did my best to write with compassion. Of course there is humor—remember that humor and tragedy are connected.

    • dabney
      June 16, 2013 at 4:16 am

      Invisible, you do realize that by insisting that Michael was on drugs for legitimate medical reasons, you are just continuing in the long tradition of enabling (if he were alive, that is)? Turning a blind eye to the truth wouldn’t have helped him. Telling yourself that he only used a deadly surgical anesthetic to help him sleep might allow you to deny his serious drug problem so that you can keep his wholesome image intact, but that’s more about your twisted needs than his. What he needed was a dose of truth, not a bunch of sycophants who just couldn’t (and still can’t) handle thinking of their idol as merely fully human.

    • David Munk
      June 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Hi there! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for weighing in. I appreciate your supportive words and, obviously, agree with them. I think it’s important to remember (in general, not only in terms of Michael) that to a great extent, especially to superfans, these icons exist as symbols and their primacy in some folks’ lives says far more about the fans psychological needs than anything about the star. Although I don’t ever appreciate invective, especially when it’s levelled at me, I try to always approach these situations with compassion. Stars are symbols for us to project whatever we want. There is much written about this subject by folks much smarter than myself. I’m just trying to be a storyteller and bring a little levity to the grim proceedings of life!

      Thanks for reading and, if you haven’t already, consider signing up for my monthly newsletter on the home page so we can stay in touch. Best, David

    • dabney
      June 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      You are a nicer person than I am. There is no compassion left in my heart for the “Warrior Fans” and their discussion-stifling, thought-policing hypocrisy. Write one or two more articles about Michael Jackson and watch your own heart calcify! ;-D.

      Btw, thank you for this article. I’m a lifelong fan of MJ and your description of what you saw that day made me sadder than almost any other story I’d read about his final years. I kept waiting to find out the reason for this meeting with Denise Rich, and when I finally realized that it was a social call with no other agenda – that was the biggest heartbreak. You’re a very good writer. I will check out some of your other stuff!

  14. KayJax
    March 26, 2013 at 9:07 am
    Reply

    A lot of this sounds fictionalized for a nice gossipy effect.

    MJ didn’t actually have a prosthetic nose – it’s been proven already conclusively by his autopsy report, where the coroner confirmed he had his nose attached. The coroner even confirmed it again after more reports came out about it based on a book (which it looks like your story was written about the time that was published and his story was making the gossip circuit), and he stated that people who seemed to be claiming these things just wanted to sell books as MJ’s nose was nothing like the way people were describing it, and yes, his nose was attached and he did not use a prosthetic. The tape was for something else.

    Jackson also had vitiligo.

    Jackson was also a Jehova Witness from the age of 5, they were not allowed to experience Christmas, it was something that was sad for him as a kid and was one of the things he said he wanted for his own children, so it’s pretty hard to believe he’d be telling anyone ever about his supposed happy childhood Christmases, as he normally told people the opposite.

    • David Munk
      March 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      What can I say? I shared what he said and did not embellish the truth. I didn’t have to. Thank you for taking the time to read.

  15. melly
    March 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm
    Reply

    iwish you didn’t share.
    i wish you had keept his name out of your mouth.
    you embelisshed your story with the ‘anecdotes’ of others because you knew that people wouldn’t be interested in you or your story without it.
    good job in hack journalism – i hear that the daily mail has an opening for a phone-hacking-text-emssage-deleting-staff-journo – just right for you.

    • David Munk
      March 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      So I take it you didn’t like my piece?

  16. Heidrun Anwander
    May 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm
    Reply

    Michael Jackson was a trauma-based mind control slave.
    When I read your story of meeting him, it makes perfect sense.

    BTW the same goes for Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Bette Midler,
    Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and many others.

    The whole mind contril subject is extremely sad and the children have suffered immense cruelty from
    a very early age on.

    The truth of that can easily be researched on the net, if one has the capacity to believe, that
    this is going on for real.

    • David Munk
      May 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Hi there.

      I’m not sure what mind control is exactly. Is that like when I can’t get Shirley Bassey’s version of “Every Breath You Take” out of my head for 12 hours??

  17. francesca
    May 26, 2013 at 3:29 am
    Reply

    there was never any thing wrong with Micheal Jackson appearance ,once upon a time in
    the beginning he was a very handsome man-natural before chemical and the makeup.
    why couldn’t he stay the way he were. he fall for that hype like the majority of people of
    color falls for change the skin tone,look how many Caucasian faces he in,beside two of his
    wives were white women,and his children,it quite obvious he wanted to be white,like black
    is so wrong,be real black for me Micheal, Micheal don’t you realize,that the black man is the
    blue print of all civilization. that makes us leaders.

  18. francesca
    May 26, 2013 at 4:39 am
    Reply

    i used to have such enormous crush on him, he had the most beautiful eyes
    and dazzling smile all he have to do is smile at me ,and i melt like butter on
    a muffin.i miss him so much ,that big gorgeous afro he used to have .my favorite
    video of his was blame it on the boogie.that when i became bedazzle by that smile
    of his since then. i used to feel bad for him going through low self-esteem,how his
    own father ridicule him,Micheal was beautiful ,i think it was jealousy from his own
    father,wanting to be him. there will never be a beautiful smile like Micheal ever again.

    • David Munk
      May 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Francesca. Thank you for taking the time to read and share you feelings, which I agree with 100%. There was something quite beautiful about Michael. I hope you’ll keep stargayzing! (You can sign up for the monthly newsletter on the home page!)

  19. Miss A. Nonny
    August 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm
    Reply

    Dear David,
    I wrote to you about the your taped-on nose theory and provided info to the contrary back on 11/11/12. (I can’t believe it was that long ago!) In your reply, you stated your intention to do a follow-up piece about the Jackson nose. I was just wondering if you have done this yet? I would signup for your newsletter with my real name if you are serious about this, so that I could provide you with more inside info on the taped nose, if you’d like.
    Hoping to hear from you!

    Cheers,
    Miss A. Nonny (aka: A. Nonny, Miss)

    • David Munk
      August 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Hello Miss A Nonny,

      What a lovely surprise to hear from you. While the subject of Mr. Jackson’s nose continues to interest me and, judging from the analytics of Stargayzing, continues to capture the imagination of my readers, I have hesitated to return to the subject for the simple reason that I there has been a dearth of new information. While I have, pardon the pun, sniffed around for additional news and confess to an occasional google search using keywords like “Michael Jackson nose,” little else of consequence has emerged. I was hoping that the ongoing Jackson family trial might blow the lid off the nose issue but that outcome has inexplicably not come to pass.

      Miss Nonny if you are in possesion of specific information that can add to the dialogue, I encourage you to come forth. I would most certainly consider asking you to write a guest column for the blog, with the caveat that you reveal your true identity. Well, maybe even if you decline to reveal your true identity, though that would certainly compromise readers’ ability to trust the veracity of your story.

      Please let me know your thoughts and feel free to email me privately at david@stargayzing.com

      Sincerely,

      David

  20. Anne shields
    February 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm
    Reply

    Such a moving Interviwe Micheal is such a tragic figure and he was an adorable little boy you just wanted to hug I don’t beleive he ever was happy around the billy Jean time after his first surgery to his nose he looked fantastic and his skin was still dark he should have just left it at that but no he wasent happy with himself he was so damn talented too and still young sometimes thinking back makes me want to cry such a sad wast of a talented man I just hope he’s found peace now and he still lives through his music it’s all so heartbreaking I’ll never forget him

  21. Jason
    February 13, 2015 at 12:14 am
    Reply

    In the article, you say that Blanket was 6 months. Inaddition to you saying “By 2003”, this is set in 2002 at the earliest. You say that MJ died 4 years later. He passed in 2009, so it’s roughly 7 years later from this night that he passed.

    The tape theory is the most intellegent theory, and totally makes the most sense, especially since MJ was photo’d quite a bit with it. It’s no secret that he packed on tons of make-up to even out his skin color, If it got too hot, and the tape started to unpeel, the color differences in the actual skin, mixed with the make-up-colored tape coming off, would definitely give the apperance of his “nose falling off”. Also, as posted above, the autopsy is proof that he did not yave a false tip.

    It’d be nice and respectable if you could eventually repost an updated version of this with a few corrections. Thanks for sharing this as a whole though. This, in addition to his 1997 song “Morphine” are haunting foreshadows to what happened in 2009.

  22. Nicole
    March 10, 2015 at 3:29 am
    Reply

    I came across an article you wrote for Huffington Post in regards to “The Ricky Martin Effect” via an aggregation link on yahoo and thought it was the worst, most obviously ass kissing drivel I’ve read in a while. That article lead me to this website and this article. I was sickened by the one about Ricky Martin (surely asking him out would’ve been easier than writing that butt kissing crap, which was a re-write of someone else’s butt kidding crap, if I’m not mistaken). This piece on Michael Jackson is nothing short of offensive and heartbreaking. Not to mention, for a story you claim to be true it sure is filled with some wildly inaccurate myths about Mr. Jackson (his nose has been mentioned by other posters already, so I’ll spare you the repetition).

    I wanted to be a journalist, specifically covering entertainment news. I couldn’t live with myself if my work consisted of anything remotely similar to this.

    You should really be ashamed of yourself.

    • Nicole
      March 10, 2015 at 3:42 am

      Correction: you are the originator of that horrible butt-kissing article about Ricky Martin. I stand corrected. This, as well as some minor typos/grammar mistakes above (typing both comments on an iPhone, plus this MJ “article” really upset me) are the only things that I wish I could change about my comments. I stand by everything else.

      This story of yours was just flat out wrong and uncalled for. I hope his kids never see it or anything else like it.

    • David Munk
      March 18, 2015 at 12:28 am

      Hi Nicole,

      The Ricky Martin piece is very tongue in cheek, which I guess you didn’t pick up on. The Michael Jackson piece was Grand Guignol first person reportage. Heartbreaking? Yes. Completely true with no exaggaration? Yes.

      I hope you keep reading and hating my stuff. I need the encouragement.

      Best,

      David

  23. Joel
    May 15, 2015 at 5:01 am
    Reply

    Wow. That was horrible to read but just a confirmation of the suspected. Thank you for sharing your visit 🙂
    RIP Michael

  24. Kay Jay
    August 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm
    Reply

    Wtf? Black people don’t have brown nails, and he was not “formerly” black.

  25. Kay Jay
    August 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm
    Reply

    He will always be black.

    • David Munk
      August 17, 2015 at 2:38 am

      Yes, of course, though his skin certainly wasn’t.

  26. Riley
    August 18, 2015 at 5:13 am
    Reply

    He is a king of pop

  27. Riley
    August 18, 2015 at 5:14 am
    Reply

    He loved his fans

  28. Mae
    April 18, 2016 at 4:51 pm
    Reply

    Due to me loving Michael Jackson so ardently and having been a fan for my whole life, some parts of this were very hard to read, inevitably. And while I don’t doubt that Michael was in quite a terrible state at this time in his life, I do feel as if certain parts of this were dramatised to suit the ‘lost soul’ Michael Jackson agenda that everybody likes to push. I only think this because, and I know this is only a minor detail, you got the ages of the children wrong (there is only a year between Prince and Paris and 4 years between Paris and Blanket) and Michael Jackson grew up as a Jehovah’s witness and only celebrated his first ever Christmas in his thirties. I highly doubt Michael would have spoken about a childhood of christmases that he didn’t celebrate and his devotion to his children was undeniable, it’s unlikely he’d recall their ages incorrectly.

    • David Munk
      April 21, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Hi there. Nothing was exagarated – I wrote precisely what happened, with the caveat that I might have gotten the ages of the kids wrong. It was a first-hand account. The stuff about Christmas was practically verbatim, he seemed to feel cheated about the Christmas stuff. Perhaps he wished he’d had Christmas like other children.

  29. Yanie
    May 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm
    Reply

    Thank you for writing this, although it was devastating to read.

    • David Munk
      May 7, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      It was pretty hard to write, too, Yanie. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. David

  30. John doe
    May 11, 2016 at 6:23 am
    Reply

    You are clearly a person with no compassion. I find you disgusting. The man allegedly had a skin disease. How could you know what that would feel like psychologically. Or how much of it was done by those managing him…to market him? You should have just not gone there. The man had his head burned and had to wear wigs…combine that with years of hair straightening…also done by the marketing managers. The world was horrible to him. People wouldn’t even allow him any space. Rather than stand back respectfully and wave, they mobbed him. He couldn’t go anywhere. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t ask the surgeon to ruin his nose. You are disingenuous. And how many sick children have you paid the medical bills for? Randy? He’s a fat, no talent slob who still lives off Michael’s money.

    • David Munk
      May 11, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Dear Mr. Doe,
      I welcome all feedback, even when it is negative and vituperative, like yours. You are certainly not the first person who has been upset by this piece and said so. Even though I don’t agree with you I am sharing your thoughts. I’m curious, though, why you feel the necessity of hiding behind a pseudonym.

      Perhaps you might consider backing up your opinion by revealing your identity. Or could it be that in life we are not always who we appear to be?

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