Michael Jackson Laid To Rest
First Published: September 4, 2009 1:56 AM EDT Credit: Harrison Funk/The Jackson Family
GLENDALE, Calif. -- Michael Jackson’s friends and family bid farewell to the King of Pop at Forest Lawn Memorial Park & Mortuary in Glendale, Calif., on Thursday evening.
Dozens of stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Macaulay Culkin and his girlfriend, Mila Kunis, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Corey Feldman, Barry Bonds, Miko Brando, Michael’s ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley and Chris Tucker joined the pop star’s family at a service held in the outdoors as the superstar was laid to rest.
The ceremony was originally due to begin at 7 PM and was scheduled to last just one hour, however it started over an hour and a half late, around 8:30 PM.
Most of the Jackson family arrived around 8:15 PM in a 26-vehicle convoy, CNN footage showed.
A host of dancers believed to be from the star’s “This Is It” tour, dressed in military-style outfits, served as ushers at the event. They appeared to arrive at the same time as the Jacksons and were spotted walking the family members to their seats.
The singer’s children – Prince Michael I, 12, Paris, 11, and Blanket, 7 – were seated in the front row.
The children appeared composed at the start of the service; Blanket read his father’s memorial program and Paris sat with her arms folded across her lap. The boys both wore suits, red ties and black armbands, just like their uncles, who carried Michael’s coffin into the service area.
LaToya and Janet also sat in the front row; Janet sat next to her brothers while LaToya sat on the same side as Michael’s children.
According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the program, at least one of the many sentiments shared among the program’s pages was, “We loved him, we laughed with him, we sang with him, we danced with him.”
The Reverend Al Sharpton and Joe Jackson both spoke at the service. Sharpton, who updated fans via his Twitter account before the service began, posted a Tweet immediately after addressing the mourners at the service around 9:20 PM.
“I just spoke at the conclusion of tributes. Gladys knight sang her heart out,” Sharpton Tweeted. “Now we prepare to lay him [to] rest.”
Knight sang the gospel hymn “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” accompanied by Greg Phillinganes. Songwriter Clifton Davis also performed, singing a song he wrote for The Jackson 5, “Never Can Say Goodbye.”
According to CNN’s source inside the service, Presley, who sat in the last row, was very “emotional” during the event. The source noted that Taylor was seated in the eighth row.
The source told CNN that Presley hugged Michael’s grieving mother, Katherine Jackson, shortly before the service attendees moved to Holly Terrace in the memorial park’s Great Mausoleum, where Jackson was interred.
Gladys Knight sang “The Lord’s Prayer” to the mourners at Holly Terrace, an exclusive part of the memorial park, which is adorned with a stain glass version of Michelangelo’s “Last Supper” painting.
Sharpton Tweeted “MICHAEL JACKSON HAS BEEN LAID TO REST,” at 9:45 PM.
According to a rep for the family, Michael Jackson “reached his final resting place” at 9:43 PM.
Cars began leaving the service around 9:55 PM.
The mourners were invited to celebrate Michael Jackson’s life with his family at Villa Sorriso Ristorante in Pasadena, Calif., following the service.
Following the ceremony, the Jackson family released a statement with their thanks to the pop star’s fans.
“The Jackson Family wishes to once again thank all of Michael’s fans around the world for their generous outpouring of support during this terribly difficult time,” the statement read. “Their expressions of love for Michael and his music have sustained the Jackson Family.”
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Michael Jackson died on June 25 in Los Angeles at the age of 50.