.

Michael Jackson 'Frightened Me,' Says Director of His Comeback Shows

Kenny Ortega describes pop star as unhealthy and improperly cared for in the days before his death

July 11, 2013 9:55 AM ET
Kenny Ortega
Kenny Ortega
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Kenny Ortega, the director of Michael Jackson's planned comeback shows, broke down in tears while describing the pop star's faltering condition during the singer's ongoing wrongful death trial, the BBC reports. Just days before Jackson's death in June 2009, Ortega recalled that his appearance was "very, very troubling," adding, "I saw a Michael that frightened me."

Ortega's comments came during his third day of evidence in the current case against AEG Live, the promoter for This Is It, who are being sued by Jackson's mother for up to $40 billion. Katherine Jackson has accused the company of missing the warning signs of her son's failing health during rehearsals and not properly investigating Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after giving the singer a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol.

100 Greatest Singers: Michael Jackson

While AEG Live has denied any such charges, Ortega's testimony painted a picture of a Jackson who was clearly ill and improperly cared for. The director said during at least four rehearsals, Jackson appeared to be under the influence of some substance, and that his strange behavior often followed visits to the doctor.

During one rehearsal, six days before his death, Ortega remembered Jackson was cold, shivering and uncertain of his surroundings; when the rehearsal ended, Ortega emailed AEG Live's CEO, Randy Phillips, about his condition, urging them to find him proper care and describing the singer as a "lost boy."

Ortega said he had a tense meeting the the following day with Murray and Phillips, during which the doctor insisted Jackson was capable of rehearsing.

The wrongful death trial against AEG has been ongoing since April 30th and is expected to wrap up at the end of July.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com