SGL Contents: Issue 12
Editor’s Letter: Remembering The Icons on Page 2
Michael Jackson: This Is It on Page 5
Charlie’s True Angel Farrah Fawcett on Page 10
Entertainer was 'Tonight Show' sidekick on Page 13 Sex Talk: When Rolling Dice Makes You Wonder if Your Mate is Gay on Page 15
Remembering the Icons This week is a week I will never forget it seems like a bad dream that will not go away. Every time I turn on the television I break down in tears. I haven’t cried like this sense Luther Vandross and Princess Diana died. It all started on Tuesday morning with the passing of Ed McMahon who we all grew up with watching every night on the Tonight Show with the late great Johnny Carson. Then when we thought it was over Farrah Fawcett died on my way to work, which I didn’t find out until one of my friends at CNN told me that she just died. Then when a customer of mine told me he heard on TMZ that Michael Jackson suffered from Cardiac Arrest and was being taken to the hospital. I thought oh my god please let him be alright. Then another one of my customers came in and I was telling Karshan that he was being taking to the hospital (which I felt a warm spirit come over me and I knew he was gone). Then another customer came in and said he just heard on the radio that he just died. I was rooting for Michael’s Comeback this summer, because he so deserved it. Know we want know what could have been. All three will truly be missed. The time has come for them to take there rest finally. Goodbye Ed, Farrah, and King Michael. Cordially, Cleavester Brooks
Editor In Chief
Michael Jackson: This Is It By PAT SAPERSTEIN
Pop icon Michael Jackson, who was one of the world's most celebrated talents, died Thursday in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson's death was much like his life -- a circus of rabid fans, family, opportunists and media members, who were in a frenzy Thursday trying to confirm yet another rumor about one of the strangest and most high-flying celebrity lives on record. On Thursday afternoon, a crowd gathered at UCLA Medical Center soon after word spread that the selfdeclared "King of Pop," aged 50, had been rushed there from his Bel-Air home. The Los Angeles Fire Dept. responded to a call that he was not breathing. Website TMZ reported his death around 2:30 p.m. PT, igniting a media frenzy. The rise and fall of Jackson was one of those only-in-America stories of a hugely talented child who became one of the world's most recognized and respected talents -- followed by an adulthood of lofty plans, lawsuits, financial crises, plastic surgery, health scares and salacious gossip. Through all the hardships, a loyal core of fans remained faithful, while others fell away (or walked away in dismay). In the 1980s, he was the center of a little empire: He had hit records, concert appearances, a thriving publishing company and big, big plans. By the time he died, much of that empire had disappeared. After years of scandals, notably his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges, Jackson was attempting a comeback and had had been scheduled to perform 50 sell-out concerts at London's O2 Arena starting next week and running through March 2010. Kenny Ortega, who was choreographing his London gigs, said Thursday, "This was the most exciting collaboration of my life, with a man who has inspired me like no other." Five of Jackson's solo albums are some of the top-selling of all time: "Off the Wall," 1982's "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous" and "HIStory." Jackson was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won 13 Grammy Awards and had 13 No. 1 singles. With total earnings estimated at more than $500 million, he sold more than 750 million albums worldwide. "Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim," said Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. His musicvideos on MTV, such as "Beat It," "Billie Jean" and "Thriller," were some of the most influential early examples of the form, and his sound influenced numerous hip-hop and R&B artists. Jackson began his career as a boy with his older brothers in the Jackson 5.
Jackson's soulful falsetto, not to mention his nifty dance moves, would influence scores of entertainers, from Prince to Usher to Justin Timberlake. In fact, it would be hard to imagine the success of such '90s boy groups as Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync without Jackson's inspiration. On songs like "I'll Be There" and "I Want You Back," both No. 1 hits, Jackson's high-pitched vocals soared with the kind of sincere emotion that proved widely infectious. The pervasive influence of disco crept into his later recordings, beginning with "Off the Wall," revealing a performer more confident in his swagger and sexuality, opening up new avenues of vocal expression. Jackson's own early influences included fellow Motown stars Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, while Diana Ross, with whom Jackson starred in "The Wiz," became a sort of spiritual mentor. James Brown's liquid footwork on the stage also exerted a pull on the singer.
Born in Gary, Ind., he had eight siblings: Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet. His father, Joseph, was a steel mill employee who performed in an R&B band, while his mother was a devout Jehovah's Witness. Jackson and his siblings have described his father's abuse with whippings and forcing constant rehearsals, which affected Michael's stability the rest of his life. In 1964 Michael and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers, a band formed by Jackie, Tito and Jermaine. When he was 8, Michael and Jermaine became lead singers for the group, whose name was changed to the Jackson 5. The group signed with Motown Records in 1968. Despite his high, childish voice, he quickly emerged as the main draw. Their first four singles, "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There" hit No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100. Starting in 1972, Jackson released four solo albums with Motown, including "Got to Be There" and "Ben," the soundtrack for the film about a boy and his rats. The Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975, signing with CBS records, later Epic Records, continuing to perform under the name the Jacksons. One of his few film roles was as the Scarecrow in "The Wiz," with a score by Quincy Jones, who produced his next album, "Off the Wall." After breaking his nose in 1979 during a dance routine, he began undergoing a series of surgeries that affected the rest of his career, and he continued to complain of breathing difficulties. Jones, who produced several of his hit albums, said in a statement, "Divinity brought our souls together on 'The Wiz' and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the '80s. To this day, the music we created
together on 'Off the Wall,' 'Thriller' and 'Bad' is played in every corner of the world, and the reason for that is because he had it all ... talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. "He was the consummate entertainer, and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him." "Off the Wall" was the first album to spawn four top 10 hits, including "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," eventually selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. Jackson had been somewhat disappointed with the success of "Off the Wall," but he couldn't have been disappointed with his next album, "Thriller," often cited as the bestselling album of all time, with sales of more than 47 million copies. The record was in the top 10 for 80 weeks, with seven top 10 singles, including "Billie Jean" and "Beat It." By then he was getting the highest royalty rate in the business, about $2 for every album sold. The record is also credited with helping revitalize a moribund music industry and gave the world the image of "the Gloved One" wearing a custom red leather jacket. Jackson debuted his signature dance move, the Moonwalk, on the live 1983 TV special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever," which drew record ratings. He suffered another accident while filming a Pepsi ad in 1984, when his hair caught fire, leading him to become self-conscious about his appearance. His continued plastic surgeries led to an increasingly odd appearance thereafter, and he had a cleft put in his chin in to look more masculine. He co-wrote the charity single "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie, with millions of dollars donated to famine relief in Africa and the U.S. After working with Paul McCartney on two singles, he began acquiring publishing rights to music including much of the Beatles back catalog in a $47.5 million deal. One of his few other film appearances was in Francis Ford Coppola's 3-D short "Captain EO," which played in Disney theme parks for years afterward. His behavior became increasingly bizarre, leading him to be called "Wacko Jacko," when he adopted a pet chimp named Bubbles. His skin became increasingly lighter due to vitiligo; there was more surgery, weight loss, makeup and reports that he slept in an oxygen chamber and had bought the bones of the Elephant Man. His next album, "Bad," was less successful than "Thriller" but still sold well, with seven hit singles, including "Bad." Jackson then purchased land near Santa Ynez to build the Neverland Ranch with Ferris wheels and a zoo. He renewed his contract with Sony for a record-breaking $65 million in 1991, releasing "Dangerous" with the hit single "Black and White." He formed the Heal the World foundation in 1992, bringing underprivileged children to his ranch and donating millions of dollars to children's causes.
Jackson was accused of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy and reportedly became addicted to tranquilizers to deal with the stress of the allegations. He settled with the boy's family in 1994. Later that year, he married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley; they divorced less than two years later. His health, which had been delicate for some years, became worse when he was rushed to the hospital in 1995 after collapsing during rehearsals for a TV special. But a few months later he was able to perform 82 concerts on the HIStory World Tour -- his most successful tour in terms of audience figures. On the Australian leg of the tour, Jackson married nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe, with whom he fathered a son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., also known as Prince, and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. His third child, Prince Michael Jackson II, also known as Blanket, was born in 2002, but the mother's identity was never released. Jackson had to apologize for a well-publicized incident in which he dangled Blanket over the railing of a Berlin hotel that year. He was again accused of sexual abuse by another boy, and after a trial that approached circus-like proportions, he was acquitted in 2005. He lived at Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara from 1988 to 2005, when he relocated to Bahrain for several years. To celebrate his 50th birthday, Sony BMG released a compilation album, "King of Pop," in various countries, but it was not released in the U.S.
(Steve Chagollan contributed to this report.)
Charlieâ€™s True Angel Farrah Fawcett By PAT SAPERSTEIN
Farrah Fawcett, the Texas-born actress and sex symbol who shot to fame as one of "Charlie's Angels" and later earned acclaim in serious roles, including in telepic "The Burning Bed," died Thursday of cancer at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica. She was 62. Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006 and traveled to Germany in 2007 for alternative treatments. An NBC documentary about her cancer battle that aired in May, "Farrah's Story," caused controversy over the final editing of the piece. As she underwent treatment, Fawcett enlisted the help of actor Ryan O'Neal, the father of her son, Redmond, born in 1985. Redmond O'Neal is serving time in jail on a drug-related charge and will be allowed to attend his mother's funeral, according to the Los Angeles Times. This month, Ryan O'Neal said he asked Fawcett to marry him and she agreed. They would wed "as soon as she can say yes," he said, but arrangements apparently couldn't be made before she died. The tanned, blonde actress was one of the biggest celebrities of the 1970s, parlaying commercials and guest TV spots into a starring role in the popular detective drama "Charlie's Angels," in which she co-starred with Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson. The series premiered in 1976. Around the same time, a swimsuit poster featuring the beauty's tousled mane, flirtatious smile and enviable figure -- graphically outlined in a tight red swimsuit -- sold a still-unrivaled 12 million copies. "Farrah had courage, she had strength and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels," Smith said. The sexy, police-trained trio of martial-arts experts took their assignments from a rich, mysterious boss named Charlie (John Forsythe, who was never seen on camera but whose distinctive voice was heard on speaker phone). Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett -- then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to "The Six Million Dollar Man" star Lee Majors -- quickly became the most popular Angel of all. "She was an angel on Earth and now an angel forever," Majors said Thursday. The public and the show's producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series' first season that she was leaving television's No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Cheryl Ladd became the new Angel.) She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of "Charlie's Angels" a season, an experience she called "painful."
Fawcett's film career never matched her TV popularity. Her first movie was the 1978 "Somebody Killed Her Husband," which Hollywood wags dubbed "Somebody Killed Her Career." She sought to downplay her sex-symbol status with meatier roles in the 1980s. In 1984, Fawcett earned the first of three Emmy Award nominations for her role as a battered wife in television movie "The Burning Bed." She also gained acclaim for more serious fare including the stage and movie versions of "Extremities," in which she played a rape victim who turns the table on her attacker, and for a predatory role in the miniseries "Small Sacrifices." Other notable TV movie roles included "Nazi Hunter: The Beate Larsfeld Story," "Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story" and "Margaret Bourke-White." Born in Corpus Christi, Fawcett attended the U. of Texas at Austin, where she was featured in a photo of "The Ten Most Beautiful Coeds." After a Hollywood agent saw the photo, she dropped out and moved to Hollywood. She soon met Majors and began making guest appearances on series including "The Flying Nun," "I Dream of Jeannie," "Marcus Welby, M.D." and Majors' "The Six Million Dollar Man." She also appeared with Raquel Welch in the 1970 film "Myra Breckinridge." But it was a hair- care campaign for Wella Balsam that ignited interest before the launch of "Charlie's Angels" and her poster release. Among her other film credits were roles in "Logan's Run," "Saturn 3," "Sunburn," "The Cannonball Run," "The Apostle," Robert Altman's "Dr. T and the Women" and her final film, 2004's "The Cookout." Her third Emmy nom was for a recurring guest appearance on law drama "The Guardian" in 2003. Fawcett was back in the spotlight in 1995, posing nude for Playboy magazine at age 48. The December 1995 issue in which she appeared sold more than 4 million copies, making it the bestselling issue of the 1990s. In June 1997, Fawcett made headlines for an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman." Some had speculated that her rambling, incoherent manner was the result of drug abuse, but she insisted she was just joking around with the late night host. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2006, she struggled to maintain her privacy, but a UCLA Medical Center employee pleaded guilty in late 2008 to violating federal medical privacy law for commercial purposes by selling records of Fawcett and other celebrities to the National Enquirer. Fawcett was married to Majors from 1973 to 1982. In addition to her son, she is survived by her father. Donations may be made to cancer research through the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, P.O. Box 6478, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Ed McMahon dies at 86
Entertainer was 'Tonight Show' sidekick By Richard Natale Ed McMahon, the baritone-voiced announcer and commercial pitchman who served as Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" sidekick for more than three decades, died early Tuesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 86. McMahon had been hospitalized for weeks with bone cancer and other illnesses, the Associated Press reported. McMahon broke his neck in a fall in March 2007 and battled a series of financial problems as his injuries prevented him from working. While he had a side acting career in movies, television and local theater, McMahon will be best remembered as the man who intro'd Carson with the indelible catchphrase "Heeeere's Johnny" on NBC's "The Tonight Show" from the early '60s until Carson signed off in May 1992. Throughout he maintained his own personality, which made him a popular figure in his own right as well as an occasional object of derision for his obvious obeisance to Carson. McMahon capitalized on his nightly TV appearances to make a killing as a commercial spokesman (Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes for many years), occasional actor (such films as "The Incident" and "Love Affair") and host of his own shows, like the popular syndicated talent competition "Star Search." He was also a fixture alongside Jerry Lewis as the anchor of the annual Labor Day telethon in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. McMahon made 41 appearances on the program through last year, second only to Lewis. The work of the pitchman was in McMahon's blood, as the son of a carnival barker who was born in Detroit. The family moved around frequently, and he spent his high school years at his grandparents' home in Lowell, Mass. His summers were spent on the carnival circuit performing chores like calling bingo games. During those years he took elocution lessons to improve his already commanding deep voice. After starting at Boston College, he enrolled in the Navy's V-5 fighter pilot program, which led to a commission and a transfer to the Marines. At night he worked at radio station WLLH in Lowell. Afterward he enrolled at Catholic U. and used his selling skills to help pay for his education. His first job was at WCAU radio and television station in Philadelphia, where he was co-host and co-producer of three-hour program "The Take Ten Show." He worked on 13 programs for the local station during television's infancy, including "Strictly for the Girls," "Aunt Molly and Ed," "The Silent Service" and a circus show, "The Big Top," in which he performed as a clown. McMahon's career was interrupted by the Korean War, during which he flew combat missions and earned the rank of colonel. He returned to his TV job after his service, working on "The Big Top" and "Five Minutes More," which evolved into his own latenight talkshow, "McMahon and Company."
After several unsuccessful attempts to break into broadcasting on the national level in New York, he was noticed by Dick Clark's producer, Chuck Reeves, who made an introduction to ABC producer Al Stark, who was looking for an announcer for the gameshow "Who Do You Trust?," hosted by a rising young comedian named Johnny Carson. "I let my mind linger on how nice it would be to tie up with a rising young star like Carson," McMahon later recalled. "We could grow together." And indeed they did. Starting in 1958 McMahon introduced Carson, read commercials and performed other assorted regular duties on the show. The rapport between the two came in handy when NBC balked at Carson taking McMahon with him when Carson replaced Jack Paar as host of "The Tonight Show" in 1962. Though the rewards of being Carson's straight man may not have seemed apparent, it was impossible to think of one without the other, so in synch was their routine. After Carson retired in 1992, they remained friends until Carson's death in 2005. McMahon's "Tonight Show" fame led to paydays in commercials for everything from Cheer laundry detergent to Sara Lee packaged foods and Budweiser. Another benefit was numerous hosting gigs on such gameshows as "Missing Links" and "Snap Judgment," as well as weekend spots on NBC radio. His biggest success outside "The Tonight Show" was "Star Search," which bowed in 1984. McMahon was also in demand as a thesp in film, TV and legit productions. After filling in for Alan King in "The Impossible Years" on Broadway in 1966, McMahon regularly appeared in summer stock musical productions like "Wildcat," "Guys and Dolls," "Annie Get Your Gun" and his favorite, "The Music Man." On film, he gained attention for a dramatic turn in gritty 1967 New York drama "The Incident," though his movie debut came in 1955 as narrator of the horror pic "Daughter of Horror." His other film roles included 1973's "Slaughter's Big Ripoff," 1977's "The Last Remake of Beau Geste" and "Fun With Dick and Jane," 1981's "Full Moon High," 1982's "Butterfly" and 1994's "Love Affair," in which he played himself. On the smallscreen he appeared in a number of telepics in the 1970s and '80s, and he logged guest shots (both as himself and in character) on a wide range of series, from "Here's Lucy" to "Newhart" to "Baywatch." He was a semi-regular on WB Network sitcom "The Tom Show" in the 1997-98 season. McMahon's celebrity status also led to solo nightclub gigs at such locations as the Maisonette and regular stints in Last Vegas. He made numerous appearances on the college circuit and released two albums, as well as books including his 1976 autobiography "Here's Ed" and "Slimming Down." McMahon's first marriage to Alyce Ferrell ended in divorce in 1976. In addition to his wife, Pam, McMahon is survived by five children and six grandchildren. Another son died of cancer in 1995. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Sex Talk: When Rolling Dice Makes You Wonder if Your Mate is Gay Dear Zane, I have been following your books since I was nineteen. Now I am twenty-five and I am even more infatuated with your work. I am engaged to be married in December of this year. My fiancé and I have been living together for three months. I have always heard that you do not know a person fully until you live with them. One night, we were playing with some sex dice. It was his roll and the dice landed on “lick my ass.” He did the unthinkable. He laid on his back and wanted me to lick his asshole. I did not know if I should do it or run the other way. Do not get me wrong; I am a freak, but I think he has gay tendencies. I asked him about it; he told me that he had been molested as a child. My question is: am I tripping because my future husband is freakier than I can handle? Or is this something I should keep an eye on? Signed, Not So Sure Dear Not So Sure, I am not sure that you are so much concerned about your future husband being freaky as you are about him possibly being gay. Wanting to have your asshole licked, particularly during a game that calls for that very thing, is not all that suspicious. Let’s face it, it was not like he was the one that was going to have to do the licking, the dice had spoken, and he was simply complying. I remember when we used to play Truth or Dare when I was younger and the bottom line was this; either you did the dare or you lost. The prostate being played with is a great turn on for men, both straight and gay. That is not a defining act. However, what worries me is his response that he was molested as a child. Not only might he be bisexual and eventually cheat on you with another man, he also might get caught up in a vicious cycle and become a sexual predator himself. If he was abused by a male family member, somewhere in the recesses of his mind, he might equate those actions with love. Since you are getting married, I assume that you plan on having children. You need to think about long-term repercussions. Between now and December, I would get some serious pre-marital counseling and possibly even have him seek therapy on his own. Before you react though, ask him more details about his molestation and try to gauge how much it has affected him. I see this as a much more serious matter than who is the freakier one. I am not trying to scare you but I assume that you emailed me wanting my candid opinion. Too many people avoid and ignore warning signs early on in a relationship. In less than three months of living together, I am sure that you have learned a lot. While many people object to living together before marriage, I believe it is essential. Until you cohabitate and settle into a degree of “normalcy,” you never know what you are truly getting yourself into. Do not brush this off lightly. Everything happens for a reason, and so did those dice landing on “lick my ass.” Blessings, Zane
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