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tv   Nightline  ABC  July 7, 2009 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

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tonight on "nightline," i love him so much. michael jackson's daughter paris emerges into the public spotlight for the first time. and in an emotional farewell to her father. >> daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. plus, the latest entertainer -- the greatest entertainer who ever lived. the stars pay tribute to the king of pop. ♪ >> his legendary music and his unforgettable dance moves. and we are the world. the life and legacy of michael jackson, celebrated in an extraordinary memorial.
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a special edition of "nightline" starts right now. captions paid for by abc, inc. good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. reporting tonight from the staples center in los angeles. it was inside this arena earlier today where thousands of fans from around the world joined family members and superstar friends to remember michael jackson. a performer whose extraordinary talent made him one of the most famous men on the planet. today's ceremony paid tribute not just to his talent but to the man himself. let credited with breaking down racial barriers and changing popular cultural forever. but the most emotional
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outpouring came from someone who jackson kept from the public eye -- his own daughter. >> i just want to say -- >> speak up. >> ever since i was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. >> a tearful farewell from michael jackson's 11-year-old daughter paris. >> and i just want to say i love him. >> a girl hidden from view for her entire life. her first words uttered in public, a brief, moving far well to her father. the day started quietly. the jackson family motorcade making its way down an empty los angeles freeway, shut down by the highway patrol for the occasion. the family entered forest lawn cemetery and paris and brothers
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and michael jackson's siblings said an intimate good-bye. it was just as his mother katherine jackson wanted it, short, subdued and private. outside the staples center, the mood, reflective, quiet. inside the crowd was solemn, but warm and friendly. the ceremony started with smokey robinson reading a message from diana ross. one of jackson's closest friends. >> i want you know that even though i'm not at the staples center i'm there in heart. i've decided to pause and be silent. ♪ >> his brothers tito, jackie, randy and jermaine ushered in a golden casket. covered in red flowers. each brother wearing a single sequinned glove. ♪
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the children seemed composed. his 7-year-old son blanket holding a michael jackson doll. the child's own long black hair like the doll pulled back in a ponytail. ♪ ♪ you and i will make a pact we must bring salvation back ♪ ♪ where there is love >> the children listened soberly as a galaxy of stars stepped on stage to sing, read poetry and talk about their father. ♪ we miss you. >> we are missing michael jackson. but we do know we had him. and we are the world. ♪
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♪ love won't let you down and i know ♪ >> many of those closest wore yellow, lionel ritchie a single rose. >> they saved the greats and became greater. >> barry gordy t man who built motown paid a tremendous tribute. >> i think he's simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived. [ cheers and applause ] >> the family leapt to their -- leapt from their seats as the crowd went wild. >> i do know that god is good.
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and i do know that as much as we may feel and we do that we need michael here with us, god must have needed him far more. ♪ ♪ michael, why didn't you stay >> jennifer hudson brought down the house with "will you be there". jackson's song from his album -- ♪ ♪ carry me slowly ♪ >> al sharpton spoke to the children directly. >> i want his three children to know it was strange what your
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daddy had to deal with, but he's dealt with it. ♪ >> and a tribute went on. their uncle jermaine sang michael's favorite song, not one of his own, but an oldie called "smile". ♪ ♪ if you just smile >> he sang on behalf of his brothers who started down this road together with michael as the jackson 5, more than 40 years ago.
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the children of martin luther king, jr., spoke. >> for all of us, it is apparent that like our father and mother, martin and coretta king, michael's life and work was inspired by the love of god. ♪ >> then usher sang "gone too soon". ♪ like the sunsets ♪ gone too soon >> took off his sunglasses, looked at the casket. and fell into the arms of the children's grandmother, katherine. ♪ ♪ we are the world, we are the children ♪
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♪ we are the ones to make a brighter day ♪ ♪ so let's start giving >> the finale, the children, paris, prince michael and blanket with their family joined the performers on stage to sing "we are the world". the hit song michael jackson co-wrote with lionel ritchie to raise money for children dieing a world away in the ethiopian famine so many years ago. and now his children join in the anthem. ♪ ♪ it's true we make a brighter day just you and me ♪ >> on behalf of my family, myself, fans, friends, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, i would like to thank everyone for coming out. >> and yet, four words said it all. >> i just love him so much.
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>> and he loved them. in fact, many of those closest to jackson say part of what pushed him to get back on stage at 50 was to show his kids what he could do. and so while millions stopped to celebrate the king of pop today, the center of his world was hitting the front row. the three heartbroken children. and these children are now without their father, facing a new world, as yet unknown. we spoke with a family friend who say that the children are at their grandmother's katherine's home with 20 of the closest friends an family members and they're playing video games and hanging out and no tears. just pride. they loved him and made him
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while talent may belong to the talent, well, over 40 years michael jackson had a planet of fans from every culture and every country and today those fans, more than a billion around the world, shared in the emotional tribute. john donvan was in the midst of
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the crowd. john? >> cynthia, that drama you saw inside, there was a parallel won among the fans outside. the question being -- will i get into the arena or not? it was a drama that played out here on the streets right behind me. the fans at the gate this morning, and indeed it was a gate. the lapd crowd control had turned the streets into the many acres no-man's-land. so the century point was blocks away, ticket holders -- >> come on over here. >> alternating with city traffic, alternating with ticket holders. >> have your wrist bands visible. >> then you walked and these were the lucky. in fact, these two guys on the right were the very lucky. because when this day began they didn't have tickets. >> i'm going, baby. i'm going. >> so what, you came without a ticket? >> i came -- i came from north carolina. >> wow. with no ticket? >> no ticket. >> how did you get a ticket?
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>> you see -- they gave it to us. >> we had two extra ones. >> also lucky, nicole gitman. we had seen her and she won tickets overseas. how did you win tickets from a radio station? >> a friend in germany happened to log on to the radio station and won. >> and it was too late to pick them up, but she was among the lucky. >> she said, do you want a tick equity? >> this woman from wpoland had n extra ticket and gave it to her. >> she's my best friend! >> that word love got thrown away by jackson fans. about jackson. shirley servos, she travelled down from washington state and was heading in with her son brandon. >> there's something magical about michael jackson that it's -- you can't explain it. you know?
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i'm at a loss. >> you say -- >> and almost everybody here had a childhood memory. you saw the thriller video. >> in africa. yes. >> and you asked your dad to get you the outfit made for you? >> yes. >> what did he do? >> he got it made. >> lots of people dressed up. both those who got inside and those who did not. and as for those who did not, well, the anticipated 750,000 fans cramming downtown l.a. didn't happen. it exaggerated reality about 300 times over. that's still a couple thousand people lingering beyond the barriers and they had fun. their way. >> programs, programs. >> and with the vendors working sausages and sodas and posters and pins -- >> grab the love. get the glove. >> you're not complete without a glove. >> and the women who made their
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own glitter gloves for sale -- where did they come from? >> we made them. >> you made them? when did you do this? >> last night. >> you glued glitter all night? >> five bucks each for the gloves, by the way. and it felt like a festival, not funeral. at least out here. but through the windows of a neighborhood italian restaurant there was something else going on. the owner of la bella cucina had switched on the service, and the way it silenced the room, the waiters tiptoeing out, it felt different in here. the different from out there to in here, you could hear the music. and then, it was over. >> here's the -- he's the king of pop. he'll always be the king of pop. >> the ticket holders reemerging into daylight. >> how was it? >> it was one of the most tremendous, exciting things i
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have ever seen -- ever, ever been to in my whole life. >> so it went. a few hours in the life of the people without whom michael jackson would never have been a superstar -- his fans. oh, the fans and cynthia, i'll confess, i was personally not the biggest michael jackson fan. i say that of course with respect, but today, i became a fan of the fans for the way they behaved, the way they connected. they came in peace. cynthia? >> john, i say it was just the glove. when we come back, remembering michael jackson's dance moves and his legendary step that took fans around the world to the moon. ♪ (music plays)
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michael jackson was a true original from the music he wrote to the fashions he created. the king of pop had a style all his own that other artists emulated and fans idolized. of course, as so many of the stars recalled today, there was his dancing. and one magical move. chris connelly has our report. >> today, motown founder barry gordy remembered that moment. >> when he did his iconic moonwalk, i was shocked. it was magic. michael jackson went into orbit and never came down. ♪ >> he was already a super star, but the night of march 25, 1983, made michael jackson a legend as he capped off the motown 25 special by tossing his hat and to the strains of "billie jean" unveiling the moonwalk. ♪
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they were mere seconds that reflect so much of what would be associated with michael jackson the performer, sheer magic on stage, somehow entirely not of this earth. it would instantly become the most envied dance move of its time. because for just about everyone else it was completely impossible. >> he did try in vain one night to unsuccessfully teach me the moonwalk. >> it was of course hard. the product of years of training and hours of rehearsal. >> it takes that kind of repetition to make it smooth, you know, to build the character of put the style on it to make it look like michael did. >> but that didn't keep lots of wanna-bes from trying to moonwalk in the 26 years since. youtube is chockful of people's efforts. babies. soldiers, on their knees, with their fingers. even homer simpson did the
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moonwalk. all of them eker for that feeling of surpassing cool. he didn't invent the moonwalk. it turns up as far as 1955 with tap dancer bill bailey and has its roots in mime. but like much of michael jackson and performance, he took something and kicked it into another dimension of excitement. >> the way he moved and the way he carried himself and how committed he was to his music and to his artistry made that -- made that movement much more mind blowing than just seeing somebody doing the steps. >> it typified how michael jackson used the dance to rev up r&b, lessons learned from today's stars like justin timberlake, to usher who performed at today's service. and not long ago, he asserted to tmz that he could still do it. >> hey, michael, can you still moonwalk? can you still moonwalk, michael?
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so much of michael jackson's life would be fraught with difficulty. many of them self-inflicted. but michael made this most difficult move seem easy and electrifying. and for this perennial child-like star, perhaps gliding through life backward might have been his fondest dream. i'm chris connelly for "nightline" in los angeles. >> a million times imitated, but never quite the same as he did it. we'll be right back.
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