Michael Jackson's death: Hollywood Boulevard pays tribute
Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue was already closed off for the premiere of “Bruno,” but that didn’t stop Robb Saxx and his brother Gary for paying tribute to the pop star who died Thursday afternoon of a cardiac arrest.
“He was one of the geniuses. Words can’t describe our loss. He’s leaving with a legacy,” said Saxx, who turned up the volume of his iPod to blast “Rock With You” before joining his brother on the saxophone.
“He made a great contribution to music. We can rejoice and be thankful,” Saxx said.
Some fans went to another Michael Jackson star, this one belonging to the former KABC radio personality of the same name. That didn’t matter to the crowd of about 75 people that gathered, as purple flowers and candles covered the star.
“We love Michael” rang out above the crowd. There were tears, prayers and singing as cars whizzed by playing the 50-year-old's music. “Michael was the greatest of all time!” Marshall Bell shouted at the top of his lungs, holding back tears. “We’re gonna miss our pop star. He is greater than the Beatles. He is the king of all time. I love my Michael.”
For Christina Williams, hearing the news of his death was surreal. “I’m shocked,” she said before telling fans nearby of her first California memory: her mother taking her to see the Jackson 5 in concert.
Jackson’s death was also a blow for Roger Smith of Hollywood. The 39-year-old said he credits the pop star for helping him kick an addiction to alcohol. Smith said that when he returned to Los Angeles after Operation Desert Storm he hit rock bottom and found himself homeless on skid row. He said that while he was staying at the Los Angeles Mission the organization received a visit from Jackson.
“He shook our hands and let us know we were OK. What I liked was that he came at night, this wasn’t about cameras. He was there for us,” Smith said. “I don’t care what anybody has to say about him. No one has a right to judge him.”
--Gerrick Kennedy in Hollywood
Piper James,38, from Los Angeles, holds up his copy of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album, as he makes his way down Hollywood Boulevard, soon after hearing of the pop-star's death, June 25, 2009. James said it wasn't his favorite album by Jackson, but knew it was his most recognizable.
Use it to travel to Neverland Ranch, his boyhood home in Gary, Indiana and more.