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Michael Jackson fans file past mausoleum on anniversary of his death [Updated]

About 30 fans lined up early Friday morning outside Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale to visit Michael Jackson's grave site on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Some had been there since 3 a.m., even though the cemetery does not open until 8 a.m. So they waited patiently outside the gates on Glendale Avenue. Across the street, police officers and news media also waited.

[Updated at 11:05 a.m.: Jackson family members and friends were arriving at the cemetery for a memorial service to be held inside the mausoleum where Jackson is interred.]

[Updated at 9:13 a.m.: After the gates opened, fans were granted limited access at the mausoleum where Jackson is buried. Forest Lawn erected a series of iron gates through which the fans walked.

As they passed, they were permitted to hand flowers and cards to cemetery personnel. Once they passed that point, they were asked to move along. Some said they were disappointed at the level of access.

"This is it?" fan Kathe Sowisdral asked an attendant. "This is terrible."

Sowisdral said she has traveled to the cemetery six times from her home in Atlanta. As she walked through the line, she said Jackson was actually on the opposite side of the mausoleum.

"I was hoping we would get to go in and see Michael," she said.

Bay Area resident Irene Childs, another Jackson fan, said she was unhappy with the security personnel at the cemetery.

"They were too pushy," Childs said. "There should have been more viewing time."]

One fan, Eboni Butler of Los Angeles, arrived at 3:45 a.m. She said she wanted to be there to celebrate Jackson's life.

"Ever since I first saw him, I was obsessed," Butler said. "He let out energy that was only comparable to the sun."

Tallora Digirolami, 31, traveled from Adelaide, Australia, just to pay tribute to the pop singer. She brought an Australian flag signed by Jackson fans from her hometown.

"I couldn't be here last year, so I had to be here this year," Digirolami said.

Those waiting in line were greeted by a Jackson impersonator who bore an eerily striking resemblance to the musical icon.

"His makeup is flawless," said Kevin Alperte, one of the fans. "He did a great job with every detail," said Tameka Jack, another fan.

Others posed for pictures with the look-alike, Carlo Riley, a 27-year-old software developer from Denver.

Riley said he has his own website and has traveled all over the world for Jackson tribute events. A self-described "crazy Michael Jackson fan," Riley said his impersonating began when he dressed up as the pop singer several years ago for Halloween.

"I don't look anything like this without my makeup," Riley said. "No one would ever notice me."

Riley said people are normally happy to see him, but sometimes the demand to be exactly like the entertainer becomes a burden.

"I'm not Michael and I never will be," he said.

Jackson's death last year shocked the world and prompted a media frenzy. Thousands of fans swarmed his memorial service at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Weeks later, the 50-year-old entertainer was laid to rest at the Glendale cemetery.

He died while putting the finishing touches on his comeback tour. Those preparations became a documentary that was released in movie theaters shortly after his June 25, 2009, death.

Law enforcement officials spent months focusing on how Jackson died. They removed prescription drugs and medical evidence from the rented Holmby Hills home where he died. The entertainer had a history of drug addiction -- and an early focus was that drugs played a role in his death.

The L.A. County Coroner's office found that Jackson had high levels of a propofol, a strong anesthetic used during surgery, in his body when he died.

L.A. prosecutors charged his doctor, Conrad Murray, with giving him the drugs. Murray has denied any wrongdoing.

Jackson's children are now living with the pop star's mother, Katherine, at the family's Encino estate.

Earlier this month, officials said there had been a security breach of Jackson's medical records when he was rushed to Ronald Reagan-UCLA Medical Center.

-- Sam Allen in Glendale

Photo: Brie Smith of Oceanside cheers as she walks toward the front gate of Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale. She was among a group of fans who came to pay their respects to Michael Jackson at his resting place on the one-year anniversary his death. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


Michael Jackson dies at 50; pop singer left a complicated legacy

Photos: Fans mark anniversary of Jackson's death

Panorama: Inside the 2009 memorial service

Photos: 2009 | Remembering Michael Jackson

Comments () | Archives (34)

Do you remember where you were when you heard MJ died? I do! There is a CNN/HLN host, Jane Velez-- that has covered MJ from the beginning. She should have some fantastic guests on her show "Issues" tonight. Apparently Michael's father has finally filed a lawsuit--and I think he could win. So sad....

It’s amazing how the African-American culture suddenly re-connected with fallen soldier, Michael Jackson, right after his death. Prior to this major event, it appeared as though there was a significant disconnect between Michael and his African-American fans. The new experience of depression and continued bereavement are both shocking and a surprise to me as a mental health professional. Check out some questions that I think have gone unanswered on my blog and let me know what you really think about the King of Pop! askdro.com

Dear Prince, paris and blanket
We’re With You

When you miss mj,
we’re with you in spirit,
wondering how you feel,
hoping you’re coping,
and getting a little better each day.
We understand. We care.
When you’re grieving,
we’re beside you,
in our hearts, in our thoughts,
we’re sending you sympathy,
encouragement, affection,
and strength to carry on with life.
mj would want it that way.
we all love you
mansi arora

It would be better if all who care could go inside and really pay their respects. But for those who can't here are some pictures from the inside: http://bit.ly/9iFCWt These are very clear, awesome photos.

I want to know why this clown gets media attention and Farrah Fawcett, who also died a year ago today is getting no remembrance. Michael Jackson was a legend in his own mind. This just shows how far into the gutter society has fallen when a guy who is accused of molesting children can go on national TV and say that it is perfectly natural for a grown man to share a bed with children that aren't even his gets people lined up for blocks to walk passed a concrete box where he's interred and someone like Farrah who had far more talent in her little finger barely gets a mention in the "Oh, by the way" column. I couldn't care less about "Mikey". R.I.P. Farrah!

I had just heard the news about Farrah Fawcett when there was breaking news about Michael Jackson.
I could not believe it at first.
Even to this day, its so hard to believe.
He had so many years left to give us such beautiful and meaningful music.
Shame on all those that pointed fingers at him,(for false accusations) just remember as you pointed your finger at him there were three more pointed right back at you.

keep the younsters at arms length
it is Michael we are talking about here

good to see forest lawn keeping the freak show under control.

Yay!! Go Michael!! We are celebrating all day. I wish I could there, bu no car!! So sad!!

I was an MJ and Jackson 5 music fan from his first album (no, not Off the Wall) up to Bad. While I like and appreciate the music still, I simply do not understand the need some folks have to be physically near his grave. What exactly do you want? 30 minutes to stare at some stone? I really just do not get it. I was dissapointed in many things about MJ the person, and as such, I think it would be much more fitting to just load up your iPod and listen to the music.

Hey everyone! Free Michael Jackson relics are going to be given away FREE at Angel's flight entrance on Hill St. at 4 PM! First come , first served.


I said a little prayer for Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson and the families of both. They both inspired and left their marks in the history of entertainment. Thank You Farrah for the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, to help people with cancer and to find a cure. God Bless You Both.

forest lawn glendale hates it when people go there to look for celebrities! they are extremely stuck up!

Much Love to all of the Jackson Family

Much Love to all of th Jackson family

gee... friday morning at 8 AM... shouldn't all those people be at work? -- oh wait, never mind they're -- damn! i can't say that here either?

To all The MJ Fans out there, please join us in honoring Michael and keep his humanity alive through charity.
JGM a group here on Long Island have spearheaded a project to collect tribute messages from Michael Jackson fans from all over the world. The tribute message will then be put into a beautiful book to be gifted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Monies are being collected to make a contribution to one of Michaels favorite charities STARLIGHT CHILDRENS FOUNDATION. JGM is working in affilation with The Starlight Childrens Foundation of NY.,NJ.,CT. who service over 275,000 families of children suffering with life threatening illnesses. You can read more on this at www.kingofpoptributebook.com or go to the Facebook page: Michael Jackson Tribute Book By JGM

I know people are upset with the level of security at the cemetery, but they must realize that there is going to be thousands of people who want to pay tribute. If every one is to get access, then security has to scoot them along. But they don't have to be rude about it. No one is there to cause trouble.

Would most of these idiots happen to be the ones that lined up for hours to get their new Apple phones? Some people need to get a life.

I'd bet you if the cemetary were to charge admission for this, these idiots would pay for it. Who in their right mind would waste their time camping out by a cemetary at 4AM? These people need psychological counseling. They should move on with their lives, enough of this circus already.

Who cares. MJ was a very talented Pop singer...but his is one of the most non functional families on the block...and Michael Jackson basically died of weirdness, so get over it or will we have to put up with this crap every year.

I Miss Michael

all I want to know is wheres all the other fans . I guess they where in front of the Apple store waiting on the new iphone, thats ok as long as they go out and buy a MJ record today for it ..

We Miss You Michael

Michael Jackson so many are missing you as you still live on in so many hearts and often when I play my guitar I smile and think of you and just think I might get kind of good be on stage one day "oops" and I hope you'll smile for the love you had to share. I'm sure we all smile more then twice when thinking of you and the love for so many and that to say you are love.
Geri Baldwin, Alexandria

i love n miss u michael

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