September 3rd, 2009
04:30 PM ET
Update #10: Michael Jackson's funeral is over and his family has departed in their fleet of Rolls. One can only imagine what they are thinking as they drive away from their loved one, after saying a final farewell to him.
At the service Gladys Knight performed; his father Joe Jackson made remarks and others came to the podium to speak spontaneously about him, according to the family's p.r. representatives.
Among the other stars in attendance: Mila Kunis, Corey Feldman, Jackson's former wife Lisa Marie Presley and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
The Jackson family hired a sophisticated video crew to record the event, triggering speculation that some footage may be included in the upcoming concert movie about Jackson. It's supposed to come out next month.
Update #9: The Jackson family has arrived (most of them in Rolls Royces). Michael's children have taken their seats. They look composed, but Janet Jackson seemed to be bearing her grief more heavily.
Michael's parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson, are seated next to each other.
Update #8: The service still hasn't started. There are empty chairs in front, reserved for Jackson's family members.
Macaulay Culkin is here. Johnny Mathis is NOT. I confused him with actor, singer and ordained minister Clifton Davis (they look a lot alike, at least to me). Apologies.
Update #7: The burial service is delayed. It was supposed to start 20 minutes ago. We haven't seen any family members arrive.
Elizabeth Taylor was brought in by wheelchair. Her hair is dyed black.
Update #6: More stars arriving now: Johnny Mathis, Chris Tucker(who imitated Michael in the "Rush Hour" movies). Also here: Attorney Tom Mesereau, who defended Jackson during his molestation trial a few years ago, and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Update #5: Per Larry King, Elizabeth Taylor has arrived at Forest Lawn for the burial service.
The sun will be setting soon and it's down to 89.4 degrees outside.
Update #4: T-minus 44 minutes until the service starts. Limos are arriving, although we haven't seen who's inside.
Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Rev. Al Sharpton and Gladys Knight will be here, along with other friends and of course family.
The invitation sent to guests was nine pages long and includes these lines from Jackson:
"In our darkest hour/In my deepest despair/Will you still care?/Will you be there?"
His family and friends will be there.
Update #3: It's down to 99.5 degrees. Thank heavens for small mercies. T-minus three hours and six minutes.
Update #2: T-minus three hours and 22 minutes. It's 100 degrees outside.
No family or friends have arrived yet.
It's T-minus four hours and 30 minutes until Michael Jackson's burial service begins.
Jackson's body has been lying in a refrigerated mortuary awaiting this day. Outside Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., it's 99 degrees, according to a website I just checked.
A platoon of police officers is on hand to keep order, some of them skimming along the boulevard outside Forest Lawn on Segway-like scooters (they're called "T3 Motion" vehicles, one of the officers told me). At least they're feeling a breeze.
Just inside the grounds a fountain shoots a beam of water into the air that diffuses into mist on its downward arc. I suspect I'm not the only one who wishes he was standing underneath it.
The guest list for the burial service is being kept secret, but we do know Gladys Knight will perform. There are reports Aretha Franklin will too.
We've seen the invitation that was sent to a select group of friends and family. It includes this quote from Jackson's 1992 book "Dancing the Dream":
"If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with."
Watch this space for updates! And watch a special live edition of Showbiz Tonight at 11pm eastern tonight for an inside look at the service.
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