Stars align for Michael Jackson memorial (Roundup)
Jul 6, 2009, 23:20 GMT
Fans sign a public memorial near the Staples Center for pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles, California USA 06 July 2009. Over one and a half million people registered online for a chance to win a pair of the 17,500 tickets allotted for the memorial to be held at the Staples Center on 07 July 2009. US pop star Michael Jackson died of a heart attack at the age of 50. EPA/SEAN MASTERSON
Los Angeles - Some of the biggest stars in the music world were set to appear Tuesday at a public memorial for Michael Jackson, hours after the late king of pop is to be buried in a private funeral at a cemetery in the Hollywood hills.
People.com said that Mariah Carey, the surviving Jackson brothers and Jennifer Hudson would perform at the memorial. Among the celebrities expected to attend are entertainers Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Lionel Richie, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Usher and John Mayer and basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
Jackson's funeral is expected to take place at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. Known as the Cemetery of the Stars, it is the resting place of icons including Bette Davis, Lucille Ball and Liberace.
Television crews have been gathering outside the cemetery, and thousands of fans - despite the pleas of the family for privacy - are expected to flock there to pay their respects.
Los Angeles is bracing for huge crowds around the memorial service at the Staples Centre. About 1.6 million people entered the online lottery for the 17,500 tickets made available for the tribute. The memorial is to be broadcast live on TV stations and websites around the world, and broadcasting trucks were parked three deep outside the arena.
Authorities were cordoning off a wide area around the venue and have pleaded for fans without tickets to stay away. However, as many as 700,000 fans are predicted to flood the area and attempt to reach the arena.
'The police department appears to be more than ready,' said Los Angeles acting mayor Jan Perry. 'Those who do not have tickets will not be able to pass the perimeter. They won't be able to get close to the arena, and there will be no outdoor screenings, so the best thing to do is celebrate in the comfort of your home.'
The winners of the ticket lottery were announced Sunday evening and started lining up early Monday to collect their tickets.
'I feel very lucky,' said Bob Lewis from Palm Springs, California. 'I grew up on Michael Jackson, and I learned to dance watching Michael Jackson. I feel like I won the lottery.'
Organizers said their distribution system was designed to thwart ticket scalping. But in the hours after the results of the ticket lottery were announced, several went up for sale on eBay, with some sellers asking for more than 5,000 dollars for a pair of tickets.
Preparations for the events took place as a judge on Monday gave temporary control of Michael Jackson's estate to the two executors named in the pop star's 2002 will, overriding the request of Jackson's mother, Katherine, who was handed temporary control of his fortune last week.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff left longtime Jackson attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain in charge of Jackson's estimated 500-million-dollar fortune until a further hearing on August 3.
'Mr Branca and Mr McClain for the next month are at the helm of the ship,' the judge said.
Beckloff had placed Katherine Jackson in temporary charge last week, just a day before the 2002 will surfaced. Attorneys for the Jackson family matriarch argued unsuccessfully that a new will might emerge and expressed concern about the financial acumen of the named executors.