Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pop singer Michael Jackson's rumoured final resting place revealed as his death generates £50m in new deals

This unmarked grave is believed to be the final resting place of Michael Jackson.

The star has been buried at the sprawling Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, beneath a mature pine tree and close to his grandmother, Martha Bridges, who died in 1990.

Staff at the Los Angeles cemetery have been told several possible locations to ensure the grave does not become a shrine for grieving fans, so the grave-digging may be a decoy.

And there was still doubt last night over whether Jackson had actually been buried. His death certificate says his remains are at the cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, but describes the location as 'temporary'.

And Jackson's father Joe insisted the family were still undecided over where he should lie.
Joe, 80, wants to build a memorial to the singer in Las Vegas in the style of the star's Neverland ranch. He said: 'I think Vegas would be great. The fans would come.'

Meanwhile Jackson's death has generated almost £50 million in marketing, merchandising and film deals.

The administrators of his estate say interest in the singer's career has soared above expectation.

The biggest deal so far has been the $60 million agreement with sony Pictures to produce a film based on the footage for what was supposed to be the 50-show run of his "This is it" concert at London's 02 arena. The administrators - lawyer John Branca and music executive John McClain - have also signed a $15 million merchandise agreement with Bravado International Group, a division of Universal Music Group.

They have a further $5 million deal with various companies to produce calendars, coins and school supplies and have recouped a similar sum being held by a financial adviser and other parties before Jackson's death on 25 June.

Two planned book deals could earn millions more. The estate is trying to rush out the merchandise to head off a flood of counterfeit memorabilia that is already entering the marketplace, including a shipment of Michael Jackson keyrings from Turkey.

The estate is valued at hundreds of millions of dollars but the singer left debts of about $435 million. Mr Branca said some of the funds raised so far will help clear those obligations.

A poll to mark the 40th anniversary of Woodstock has named Michael Jackson as the most popular performer for Americans in their teens and twenties.

But the overall winners were the Beatles, ahead of acts including Elvis Presley and the Rolling stones. They were in the top four of every age group, and most popular in the 50 to 64 range.

The stones and Coldplay made the top 20, but Led Zeppelin and the Who missed out.