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Pop icon laid to rest

Michael Jackson is buried at Forest Lawn Glendale as throngs gather outside the memorial park.

September 04, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

Michael Jackson’s funeral Thursday at Glendale Forest Lawn Memorial Park was, for all its anticipation, a relatively subdued affair — absent of the chaos that poured into streets for his Los Angeles memorial in July.

The crowd that amassed outside the cemetery’s South Glendale Avenue wrought-iron gates was largely made up of local and international media, who were confined to the perimeter.

The funeral service started an hour late, with the 26-vehicle Jackson motorcade arriving about 8:30 p.m.

Dozens of fans carried signs and cheered as the motorcade passed Los Feliz Road and Glendale Avenue as Jackson’s music played in the background.

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Las Vegas native Wan Ali devoted three days to creating a suit adorned with faux jewels and sequins for the funeral. Ali said he was once the Jackson family’s wardrobe designer.

He wasn’t able to enter the funeral, so he gathered with fellow admirers outside the gates.

“I am enjoying the fans because that’s one thing Michael enjoyed, the fans,” Ali said.

Police warned the public to stay away from the cemetery because they would be enforcing tight security, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The only real fan incident came when three people tried to climb a nearby building to gain access to the heavily guarded cemetery. Police quickly caught the trio.

The Jackson family earlier in the week canceled media access to the private funeral, choosing to use a private videographer and photographer to broadcast images from inside.

Footage of family and friends, including Elizabeth Taylor, Lisa Marie Presley and the Rev. Al Sharpton, was broadcast on major TV networks for a portion of the service, but was terminated as the service began.

In an homage to one of Jackson’s most famous fashion statements, ushers wore one white glove for the outdoor service.

Six bouquets of white lilies and white roses adorned a stage, where Gladys Knight sang a gospel hymn and songwriter Clifton Davis sang a Jackson 5 number, according to a family spokesperson.

Jackson’s five brothers served as pallbearers.

His children placed a crown on his casket, which signified “the final resting place of the King of Pop,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Outside the gates, hundreds of TV crews and reports sent live dispatches, many of which included Glendale officials who patrolled the media line throughout the afternoon to comment on the event.

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