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Mourners begin arriving for Jackson burial service

September 3, 2009 |  7:33 pm

Under a tight cordon of security, a steady stream of luxury cars ferried guests to Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale this evening for the final leg of pop singer Michael Jackson’s odyssey from death to burial.

Longtime Jackson friend Elizabeth Taylor, who was whisked through the 25-foot-high cemetery gates in a Maybach, was among an expected 200 guests at Jackson’s sunset burial service on a hot night exactly 10 weeks after he was found dead.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, actor Macaulay Culkin, baseball player Barry Bonds, comic Chris Tucker and lawyer Thomas A. Mesereau, who successfully defended Jackson on charges of sexual molestation four years ago, arrived to take their places on white chairs lined up for the outdoor service in the tree-dappled, verdant park.

Glendale police blocked off streets around the 300-acre cemetery, and the sprinkling of fans who showed up were relegated to standing behind barricades blocks away.  A dozen fans held up a banner reading “King of Pop Michael Jackson Gone Too Soon.”

Jackson is to be interred in a crypt in Holly Terrace, one of 11 halls in the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn’s vast granite-and-marble-filled palazzo that serves as the star-studded resting place of Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and other screen legends.

The outdoor service will move into Holly Terrace for a cryptside finale. 

The Jackson estate is footing the bill for the service, which has been called by a lawyer for the estate “extraordinary” but worth paying.  At least $120,000 will go to cover the Glendale Police Department’s expenses — and that’s just a fraction of the costs.  The bulk of the expenses will go to Forest Lawn.

—Chris Lee and Carla Hall