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Michael Jackson's Death Is Examined Through His Friends

Aired June 29, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, why did Michael Jackson die?

His father's suspicious.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are your concerns?

JOE JACKSON: I can't get into that, but I don't like what happened.


KING: In the midst of family grief...

JANET JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful.


KING: ...and global mourning, more questions than answers.

We're going to talk exclusively with TVs incredible hulk, Lou Ferrigno, who was training Michael Jackson for his 50 stop tour.

Was the king of pop strong enough to make a comeback?

Marlon Brando's son, Miko, tells us what he witnessed in the final rehearsal.

And then top forensic scientists take us inside the world of celebrity autopsies.

Why would Michael Jackson's family want his body examined twice?

When mystery surrounds a star's death, can anything be kept private?

Plus, the director of "Thriller," John Landis...


KING: ...worked with Michael Jackson at his superstar prime.

Why does he call him a tragic figure?

All that and more, next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: First, we're going to check in -- good evening -- with three top journalists in three separate locations.

In Holmby Hills, California is Ted Rowlands; at the Jackson family compound in Encino, California is Susan Roesgen; and at the Neverland Ranch is Kara Finnstrom -- all top notch CNN correspondents.

We start with Ted Rowlands.

He is at the house.

Authorities were back at the house today.

What -- what were they looking for?

What can you tell us -- Ted?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, this is still classified as a death investigation. But clearly, it is a very active investigation. This afternoon, representatives from the coroner's office and from the L.A. County Detect -- the L.A. Police Department were here. And they took out two fairly substantial bags. We don't know exactly what was in them, but they said they were here because they had some questions -- some specific questions that they wanted answered about some medication. And they were also following up on information, they say, that they garnered from the L.A. Police investigation.

We don't know what was in those bags and we don't know what kind of medicine. They wouldn't tell us specifically what type of medicine they found inside of Jackson's home.

But, clearly, this investigation continues.

KING: Right back to you, Ted.

Let's go to the Jackson family compound. Joining us from there is Susan Roesgen -- Susan, the ultimate fate of Michael Jackson's three children remains in legal flux.

Their paternal grandfather, Joe, had this to say about them earlier today.



JOE JACKSON: This is where they belong. We're the parents and we've got other kids of their size. They love those kids and we love those kids, too. We're going to take care of them and give them the education they -- they're supposed to have. We can do that. And we have the area enough and the -- the (INAUDIBLE) large enough to be able to extend all kind of help that they might need.


KING: What's the latest, Susan, with the children?

We understand they got to see their father after he died.

SUSAN ROESGEN, GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We've heard that, Larry, that, in fact, they did ask to see their father at UCLA Med Center after he died. And what we think is happening now is that the three children may be in this home behind me with their grandparents Katherine and Joe.

But here's something else to think about, Larry. Those children come with a price tag. A $1 billion estate follows them. And whoever gets the children gets control of that estate.

And, in fact, behind me today, in this house, is Katherine Jackson, who has filed a petition to get not only custody of the children, but control of Michael Jackson's estate, with the expressed caveat that that money would be used for children, Larry.

So it could get really sticky here in the next few weeks.

KING: Kara Finnstrom is at the Neverland Ranch.

What is it -- what's the situation there -- Kara?

By the way, how does the ranch look?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, we took an aerial view earlier today. And what used to be amusement park rides here, a train that ran through here, a zoo, all of that is gone. It was -- a lot of it was taken away from here in 2008, when he came close to foreclosing on this ranch.

But the talk here today -- the buzz is whether this may someday become a shrine along the lines of Elvis Presley's Graceland. Locals here say they don't want to see that happen because they like their privacy.

This is in the middle of some rolling hills. There's lots of cattle out here. There are Hollywood types and big time ranchers and they want to keep their privacy.

We did speak with someone with the investment company that now owns half of this Neverland Ranch -- some 2,500 acres. And he says, at this point, it's premature to say what might happen here, but he said they are keeping these grounds up.

KING: Ted Rowlands, back at the house, is -- is this a crime investigation -- Ted?

ROWLANDS: No. They are very clear to say that this is still a death investigation and it is not a criminal investigation. That, of course, could change, especially after the toxicology results come back and when they go back and look at all of the prescriptions that were given to Michael Jackson and who wrote them. That will be the key looking down the line.

But at this point, it's still just a death investigation.

KING: Susan, any word about funeral plans?

ROESGEN: No, not yet. Joe Jackson said today, Larry, that it was premature to talk about funeral plans because he wants the results of that second autopsy -- the autopsy that the family paid to have. That means, Larry, that this funeral and any kind of public memorial service that we're all expecting here -- that, in fact, Reverend Al Sharpton today said would be a celebration of Michael Jackson's life -- this memorial service, the funeral, who knows when it will be?

KING: Kara, we've been to Graceland. That's all as it was -- they've added a few things -- when Elvis died.

What would -- with Neverland, you said it doesn't look like it did look.

What would it look like if it became a visitors' shrine?

FINNSTROM: You know, that's a great question, Larry. From our aerial view, we could see one sign of life down there, which was there's a fountain that -- you know, that was bubbling. But, you know, just a lot of cement slabs where those amusement parks -- amusement park rides used to be that we're told -- you know, we could also see that the home itself is in good shape, pristine condition. They're taking good care of the lawns around it.

But the folks with the investment company that, you know, is now maintaining say that they've got a lot of maintenance to do. A lot of this kind of went downhill as he was in those potential foreclosure proceedings.

KING: We'll be checking back with the reporters later.

Lou Ferrigno is going to join us. We'll talk exclusively with Michael's friend, personal trainer. "The Incredible Hulk," Mr. Universe, Lou Ferrigno.

Stay with us.



KING: Lou Ferrigno -- he's got millions of fans all over the world. He's known as TV's Incredible Hulk. He's two time Mr. Universe, a close friend of Michael Jackson for many years. In fact, he was working with Michael as a personal trainer.

Did you see anything wrong with him?

LOU FERRIGNO, JACKSON'S LONG TIME FRIEND & TRAINER, STAR, "THE INCREDIBLE HULK": He was great. You know, Larry, I don't know where to begin, because I was devastated. When I was with Michael -- I trained him on and off for 15 years. But when I saw him a few months ago, he looked fantastic. The way he moved -- I worked with him different exercises. And I've never seen him look better.

KING: So are you shocked then?

FERRIGNO: Devastated. I'm extremely devastated. I just wish this was like a dream, because we were close friends. We were together, it was Lou and Michael. It wasn't Michael Jackson. It wasn't Lou Ferrigno. We were friends because he trusted me. And we had the camaraderie, because both of us came from difficult childhoods. We have the same kind of fathers. So we were very connected.

KING: Was he a good subject?

Did he train well?

FERRIGNO: Yes, he did a lot of core training, stretching, nothing with heavy resistance -- walking on the treadmill. I would use the exercise ball, like band and weight training, because when you're a dancer, it has a lot to do with flexibility, stamina and you want to be as conditioned as you can be, especially being 51 now.

KING: Did he ever show any chest pains?


KING: Ever complain about any health problem?

FERRIGNO: Never. With him, never. As a matter of fact, sometimes he would be dancing, showing the moves between a set and exercising. And he convinced me. I said this guy is going to pull it off.

KING: How about frail?

Wasn't he -- he was frail, wasn't he?

FERRIGNO: When I saw him, he was not frail.

KING: The last time you saw him was when?

FERRIGNO: At the end of May. Then I was on tour doing a convention. I was planning to train with him a few more sessions before he left for England. But I don't know what happened the last month.

KING: Did he do strenuous exercise?

FERRIGNO: No. It was all about dancing and flexibility. And, you know, Michael was so close, that it makes me chuckle, because we had so much fun together. It wasn't just about just training, it was motivation. And when I trained him 15 years ago compared to now, he hired me back because of the fact that he felt safe with me. He trusted me. Because it's important, because he could not afford to have kind of injuries.

KING: Did you see any sign of drug use?


KING: But it's pretty clear now that there were drug problems.

FERRIGNO: Well, I don't know what happened. I don't know anything about his real personal life. But the last month, I don't know what happened. But the time I was with him, he seemed fine, alert, no pain at all. As a matter of fact, he's done a lot of those stretching exercises, because when you have a lot of pain, you can't stretch that much. So he was very eager to do what I told him.

KING: So this is a total mystery to you?


KING: Yes.

Did he ever talk to you about medications he took?

FERRIGNO: Never. Never. And he was more concerned about his diet, about his health, because he knew that fitness is important, because, especially when you get older, you want to maintain what you have. Because, after the age of 35, the muscle begins to atrophy. And that's everyone is on the bandwagon. They want to start exercising.

KING: Have you worked with others 50 years old, 51?

FERRIGNO: Everyone, all walks of life. I worked with Mickey Rourke, Chuck Norris. And people like 70 or 80 years old, it really doesn't matter, as long as you train properly.

KING: All right.

Did he -- was he -- did he belie his years?

Was he like younger than 51?

FERRIGNO: Oh, yes. He was the same as like 20 years ago.

KING: He really was?

FERRIGNO: Yes. And it's funny, when we were together, he heard that -- on "Jay Leno" that I wanted -- I had a good chance to be on "Dancing With The Stars." So he said to me, I want to teach you how to do the moonwalk, because he -- we made a tradeoff. Like he wanted me to get himself in the best physical shape and he wanted me -- to teach me about dancing. But the beauty about him, when he moved in all the movement, the guy -- I would say he convinced me that you can make the bigger comeback in history.

KING: Really?


KING: All right. How about his behavior?

He was, obviously, eccentric; a little bizarre. He looked a little funny.

How did you react to that?

FERRIGNO: Well, he wasn't like that with me, because when he was with me, the masks came off, the gloves came off. It was just me and Michael. We were alone together. And he was just a real genuine guy. It was -- it was no B.S. no centric. He was brilliant. But we just had fun. He was like just a regular guy, like you and I talking.

KING: Did you work out with him at his house?

FERRIGNO: Yes, the last time. He could not come to my facility because of the fact that people followed him. So I would go to his house.

KING: Did he work with weights?

FERRIGNO: No, mostly the ball; bands like rubber bands; you know, core training -- a lot of core training and walking on the treadmill. He had a treadmill in his house on the...

KING: Was he disciplined?

FERRIGNO: Yes. Yes. The time he came down, the time I met with him, extremely disciplined.

KING: We'll be back with more, Lou Ferrigno.

Lots to talk about about Michael Jackson.

Members of the family were at the BET -- the BET Awards last night. We'll hear from Janet Jackson next.


KING: Mr. Ferrigno, I apologize.

FERRIGNO: Thank you.

KING: He was a good quarterback.

We'll be back with Lou Ferrigno in a minute.

Ferrigno -- look, I'll get -- no. You've got a weird name. Welcome back.

Last night, an emotional Janet Jackson gave her first published statements since her brother's death.



JANET JACKSON: My -- my entire family wanted to be here tonight. But it was just too painful. So they elected me to speak with all of you. And I'm going to keep it very short. But I'd just like to say that to you, Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts. On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all of your love, thank you for all of your support.

We miss him so much.

Thank you so much.



KING: Our thoughts are with the entire Jackson family, especially his children.

How are the kids doing?

One of Michael Jackson's closest friends, Miko Brando, will tell us next.



KING: Now, that was a familiar figure.

Lou Ferrigno remains with us, the former Mr. Universe, the former Incredible Hulk.

And we're joined now with a return visit with Miko Brando, a close friend, a longtime employee. He was with Michael the night before he passed away. He's the son of the late Marlon Brando.

What's the latest you can tell us about the kids?

MIKO BRANDO, MARLON BRANDO'S SON, JACKSON FRIEND: The kids, as far as I know, are doing fine. They're at their grandparent's house playing along with their cousins and friends and playing with the animals and just running -- running around the backyard.

KING: How do you think Michael would feel about Katherine getting temporary guardianship? BRANDO: I think that's all right. And I think he would have wanted his mother to do it. She was -- you know, I think that's a -- that was a good move. You know, the kids know -- obviously know her, feel comfortable. They're at the family house where Michael grew up. So it's a comfort environment.

KING: Lou, did the kids watch him train?

FERRIGNO: Yes. As a matter of fact, he brought the kid downstairs. He said, oh, look who's here, look who's here, the Incredible Hulk. So he had me flexing my arm. And the kids were so excited. He explained to the kids, this is the original Hulk.

KING: You had a tough father, too, right, as he did?


KING: So you shared a lot of that in common?

FERRIGNO: Yes. Because Michael's escape was music. My escape was body building to become a world champion. We shared that together. And it's funny how we both became extremists.

KING: How?

How were you an extremist?

FERRIGNO: I became a body building champion, obsessed with fitness.

KING: Obsessed?

FERRIGNO: Obsessed with fitness, building his body and being successful in life. And Michael was the same way with his music, because it was his escape.

KING: Miko, you were there at Michael's last rehearsal. That's last Wednesday night.

Tell us about it.

How did it go?

BRANDO: It went fine. I mean we -- we started, you know, when he was -- I think he had a few meetings before. He had his makeup on, his wardrobe on. He went up on stage, danced with the dancers. He did some -- some songs. He just did his routine. He gave the crew some technical advice here and there. He -- he went through the routines. Kenny Ortega was there, you know, by him, helping him. He was just another ordinary...

KING: No sign of any physical problem?

BRANDO: No sign. No sign. He never said, you know, let's stop, I don't feel well, I need something to drink, (INAUDIBLE). He never complained. He never said, you know what, can we take a five minute break and let's chill?

No, it was just...

KING: What was your role?

BRANDO: My role just, for him, he -- the way he -- just to be there for him, keep an eye out for him, be there if he needed anything and to help...

KING: You were like his guy?

BRANDO: His guy. He -- he said you're keeping an eye out for me.

KING: Do you know Dr. Murray?

BRANDO: I heard of him. I've never met him. He was never at the forum when we had rehearsals for, what, a few weeks. Nor was he at the Staples Center.

KING: Did you know him, Lou?


KING: Did he ever talk about his doctor?

FERRIGNO: No. The thing -- thing about Michael was that he was a personal guy. And all he cared about was just being a close friend, just enjoying life. I mean, I don't care what the media said, because everybody wants to focus on, sometimes, the negativity. I judge people for who they are. If there's some people I don't like, I just disassociated with them. But Michael was just very genuine. He loved all people.

KING: Are you angry, Miko, that they look at bad parts of Michael?

BRANDO: I'm angry, especially now, because he's not here to defend himself. And he was such a good person, a loving person. Every time -- anyone who knew him or had any kind of relationship or whatever, you knew -- he always ended your conversation or meeting with, I love you, see you. It was always love. It was always he (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Did you ever think he -- he did wrongful things with young boys?

BRANDO: Absolutely not.

KING: Absolutely not.

Lou, did you ever think it?

BRANDO: First of all, my -- I mean he -- my daughter's godfather. I mean, I'm -- was close to the kids. We had -- he'd spend the night at my house. I had spent tons of nights at Neverland with my kids and my friends.

Absolutely not.

KING: Did you ever suspect anything at all, Lou?

FERRIGNO: No, because we was just talking, Miko and I. When I went and see him at the Neverland Ranch, he said, jump in the car. So he's driving me around. He was just a regular guy.


FERRIGNO: The same -- it was...

BRANDO: Absolutely.

FERRIGNO: It was Michael.

BRANDO: It was Michael.

FERRIGNO: But you and I see a side of him that most people don't see.

BRANDO: No. And never will.


BRANDO: And never will.

KING: Never will now.

FERRIGNO: (INAUDIBLE) and he never forgot...

BRANDO: Never will.

FERRIGNO: He never forgot friendship. And especially if he liked you...

BRANDO: It was very important to him.

FERRIGNO: ...he always would support you.

KING: Thanks, Lou.

FERRIGNO: Thank you.

KING: Thanks for coming.

FERRIGNO: Thank you for having me on your show.

KING: Miko will remain. And Miko, by the way, has written an exclusive commentary for our blog. I read it this afternoon. It's terrific. Read it by going to

The last man, presumably, to see Michael alive was his personal doctor. We will talk to the doctor's attorney, next.


KING: We go now to Houston, Texas.

We're joined by Ed Chernoff. He is the attorney for Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.

When -- when, Ed, did Dr. Murray start as Michael's private physician?

ED CHERNOFF, ATTORNEY FOR JACKSON'S DOCTOR: He started as his personal physician in May of 2009, Larry. He had known him, but he wasn't -- he didn't know him in a -- in the capacity as a doctor/patient.

KING: Did Michael drop his previous physician?

CHERNOFF: You know, that's -- that's something we don't know. That's a good question. We don't know who his physician was prior to Dr. Murray or if he dropped him at all.

KING: Yes.

CHERNOFF: And that's -- that's, I think, something that the police are investigating.

KING: Is Dr. Murray being investigated?

CHERNOFF: He is not a suspect. Now, I think everybody's being investigated, if you put it that way. But he's not a suspect. We've been told he's not a suspect by the police. Many times they reported that and they continue to report that. And I take them at -- at their -- at their word.

KING: So to your knowledge, he was not prescribing drugs that shouldn't be described to Michael?

CHERNOFF: No. He was prescribing -- what Dr. Murray was prescribing was appropriate for his medical conditions and medical complaints. They were appropriate prescriptions. They were -- there -- and the doctor took the necessary precautions when he -- when he prescribed them. So no. There was nothing illegal or improper about the prescriptions that the doctor gave Michael Jackson.

KING: If you can, walk us through last Thursday. And obviously you weren't there.

So what did your -- your client say to you?

How did he come to discover that Michael collapsed and wasn't breathing?

What was the situation, as he related it to you?

CHERNOFF: OK. All right. First of all, he was staying the night, Larry. He had been asked to stay the night there. So he was there, just fortunately. And at some time before noon on Thursday morning, late Thursday morning, Dr. Murray went into Michael Jackson's room -- bedroom -- and saw him there and he wasn't breathing.

And then he -- he ran over to him and checked that he was not breathing, felt for a pulse, found a pulse, very weak, felt that his body was still warm and started administering CPR.

KING: Did he do that on the floor?

You don't do CPR on the bed, right?

CHERNOFF: Well, I mean there's...

KING: No, I heard that you don't do it on the bed.

CHERNOFF: Yes. There is a difference of opinion about -- about that. You know, Dr. Murray is a cardiologist. He knows how to perform CPR.

KING: Yes.

CHERNOFF: He knows the importance of getting Michael Jackson's heart going. And he did just that. He kept him in a -- with a pulse for 25, 30 minutes before the emergency personnel got there.

KING: Who called 911?

CHERNOFF: It was security personnel that called 911. And they were in the room. I think if you've heard the 911 tape, it was security. Dr. Murray was in the room when they called.

KING: What did Dr. Murray tell you was the time lapse between discovering Michael and the emergency crew getting there?

CHERNOFF: Well, we can't -- we can't be sure exactly, but we've estimated that it's around 25 to 30 minutes before the emergency personnel got there, the ambulance got there.

KING: Did Dr. Murray know that he had lost his patient?

CHERNOFF: I don't think that sunk in for some time. He worked -- he worked for 25, 30 minutes trying to revive him, doing everything he possibly could to revive Mr. Jackson. He rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital, continuously speaking with the doctors at UCLA, advising them on his condition. He worked and worked and worked to try to revive him.

I don't think he really gave up on Michael Jackson until the UCLA doctors said we're just going to have to pronounce him dead.

KING: So he was with him when he died?

CHERNOFF: He was with him the entire time. Then afterwards, after he was pronounced dead, the doctor went and consoled the family. He was at the hospital for several hours after that as well. KING: Did the daughters know what was going on while this -- the daughter and the son know what was going on while all this was happening?

CHERNOFF: I don't know. They probably did, Larry. They were at the hospital, and it was --

KING: I mean at the house.

CHERNOFF: No. I've heard some reports. I don't think so. They weren't allowed in Michael Jackson's room. And the doctor does not recall them being around while this was going on. So I don't think so. They did make it to the hospital after the fact.

KING: What does Dr. Murray say about reports Michael Jackson was using Demerol and Oxycontin?

CHERNOFF: Well, he didn't know it. You know, he -- he's heard the reports now. And he's been his doctor for, at the time, a month and 25 days, less than two months. He has never seen him use Demerol. He's never seen him use Oxycontin. So that would be -- that would be a surprise to him.

KING: I have a cardiologist. I've never asked him to stay overnight. Why was he asked to stay overnight?

CHERNOFF: He asked him on occasion to stay overnight. Let me clear up something to make sure we understand. Dr. Murray was not a doctor first. He was a friend first. They were a close, personal friends. They had been for several -- for a couple of years --

KING: That's different.

CHERNOFF: --- before he ever became his doctor. Michael Jackson really treated him as family and, on occasion, he would ask him to stay over. It got more and more frequent.

KING: I see.

CHERNOFF: It wasn't surprising that he would ask him to. In this case, it was tragic. But it was -- if he was ever going to be staying, it would be lucky that he was staying over.

KING: We're going to call on you, again, Ed. This is -- you're providing a lot of good information. One other thing for now, was Dr. Murray ever investigated or brought up on charges of any improper medical concepts prior to this?

CHERNOFF: Never. Never. In 20 years, he's never even been sued for malpractice. I think it would be hard put to find any doctor that could say that after 20 years.

KING: Thanks, Ed. We're going to call on you again.

CHERNOFF: Thank you, Larry. KING: Ed Chernoff, the attorney for Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. Why would Michael Jackson's family want his body examined twice? Top forensic scientists will take us inside the world of celebrity autopsies next.



KING: We're joined now by two of the most prominent forensic pathologists in America. In Pittsburgh, Dr. Cyril Wecht, former coroner, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, author of "A Question of Murder." IN Manchester, New Hampshire, Dr. Henry Lee, chief emeritus division of scientific services of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, and the author of the book "Blood Crimes."

Doctor Wecht, from what sketchily you know now, off the top, what would you be that was a guess, cause of death, or do you need information?

DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I believe this is going to be a case of acute combined drug toxicity. I believe there will three or more drugs involved. Demerol being the principle drug that led to central nervous system depression, and then cardio-respiratory depression and arrest. That's what I predict will be the cause of death.

KING: Dr. Lee, what are your thoughts?

DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I have to wait for the full toxicology report and a look at the crime scene. Try to see what kind of prescription medicine -- what's cause of the event. And we know around noon-time, his physician walked in the room. Was he in bed, on the floor, or in the bathroom? Any prescriptions? What he ate for lunch? Those are evidence we have to look for.

KING: Why -- Dr. Wecht, why a second autopsy?

WECHT: A second autopsy is done for several reasons, Larry. One, family wants to have somebody they can talk to immediately, spend time with them, explain things, and tell them what's going on, what to expect and so on. The medical examiner is constrained at this point. he is part of an on-going criminal investigation. He's just not free to talk about these things.

Also, you want to make sure that everything that has been done that covers the full spectrum, that nothing has been missed. Then you want to have somebody, possibly for an on-going consultant, to play a role as you proceed in other matters, whether they be civil or criminal. All of those things come together and provide a basis for --

KING: Dr. Lee, if it is a group of drugs -- if it is -- the crime would be what? Against the doctor prescribing it?

LEE: Well, of course, who prescribed it, what's the dosage, and what's the effect on the human body. Those are very important factors to determine.

KING: Why does it take so long, Dr. Wecht, to get final results?

WECHT: The toxicology results, Larry, will be known to them tomorrow or Wednesday. They'll know which drugs and the quantitation of those drugs. They have to look at all the medical records. They have to look at all the interviews being conducted by the homicide and drug abuse detectives. They have to get the pharmacist records. They have to correlate that.

They also have to do other examinations which take longer than toxicological analysis. They've got to examine the brain. That has to be fixed for 10 to 14 days, and then go back and do studies on the brain. I would be surprised if they're not doing that. They may have special studies of the heart. And all those things are going to take longer.

The correlation of all that information gleamed from their office and from other investigations, with the autopsy findings, the microscopic findings and the toxicological analysis, will lead them ultimately to not only determining the cause of death, but then, very importantly, the manner of death: suicide, accident, or homicide.

KING: Dr. Lee --

LEE: Or undetermined.

KING: May be undetermined, right. Dr. Lee, from what you know now and based on your vast experience, do you think there was something hanky-panky anywhere along the line here?

LEE: Any type of death you treat as a suspicious. Then you have to investigate. Of course, Michael Jackson is an icon in the country and the world. Everybody was looking at it. That's why the coroner's office very cautiously right this moment, still undetermined, still under investigation.

And homicide and robbery squad -- today, the coroner's office went back to the scene. That's very important, to look at the scene, look at the medicine cabinet, look at the prescription, and any vial, any information at the scene can give them some clue.

KING: We're going call on both of you again. Thank you for your expertise, Dr. Cyril Wecht, Dr. Henry Lee. We'll go back to Michael Jackson's report for a live report. Miko Brando is coming back too. And John Landis will be here when we return.


KING: Before we get an update from Ted Rowlands on the scene, Michael's Father, Joe, spoke of his late son's legacy earlier today. Watch.


JOE JACKSON: I wish that Michael could be here to see all of this. He had to wait until something happened like this before -- before it could be realized.

Michael is -- was a superstar. He's a superstar all over the world. He was loved in every country in the United States, and every country all over the world. He was loved.

One thing Michael didn't know is -- he didn't know how strong this would be, because he tried hard to please everybody. The sick, he donated so much money to the sick. He helped the blind. He helped everybody that needed help. And he was glad to do it.

I've seen Michael help so many people. Sometimes he would go and cry about it, because he felt sorry for the people he was helping. So, you know, I was very proud of my son and the legacy of Michael will still go on. I promise you that.


KING: Shortly after he spoke, investigators were turned to Michael's rented home. Ted, why were they back when they cleared the scene Friday? Because Dr. Lee just said that's a sign of possible foul play.

ROWLANDS: Yes, and more information. You know, keep in mind, over the weekend is when they talked to Dr. Conrad Murray. He may have given them information about specifics inside the house and where certain things might be.

And another thing is after they came out, today, they had the two bags of evidence. They also came over and made a very brief statement. They said there's medication in the house. They wouldn't say what they took out of the house. But they make a note to say that the family has been cooperative. Possibly family members that they have now been interviewing over the last few days have told them X, Y, and Z, may be important. That's why they've come back today to collect potential evidence.

KING: Ted, are people still coming by the house? Tourists peering in?

ROWLANDS: Yes, absolutely. There's people right behind me here. There is an ever growing memorial here of flowers. We've seen a lot of flowers come out. Of course, the media is here as well. Absolutely, people are coming here. You talk to them; a lot of people say they just wanted to be with like-minded people, people like themselves, that feel as though they love Michael Jackson so much that they want to do something. They're coming out here and paying their respects to Michael Jackson.

Really this and the parent's home in Encino Hills are the only spots to go at this point, as they wait for information on a potential public memorial, which we're still, of course, awaiting information on, as the family figures out exactly what they're going to do.

KING: Quickly, did something happen at the courthouse today?

ROWLANDS: Yes, absolutely, a flurry of things happened at the courthouse. Basically, what's going on is the parents, Katherine, specifically, she is on a petition to take control of the kids, at least have custody granted temporarily. She was able to gain custody of the children.

She's asking to control the estate, at least temporarily, and she was given that, too, as well, to help pay for the children's care while this is all sorted out. There have been hearings set for both of those things. They're coming out. You can bet there are going to be more players at those hearings, looking to get in on the action, possibly, at least on the estate side.

KING: Thanks, as always, Ted Rowlands at the Jackson home. The man who created music video history with Michael Jackson's famed "Thriller"; director John Landis plus Miko Brando next.


KING: Miko Brando returns. He'll be with us frequently throughout this tragic after-period, close friend, who appears, by the way, in the album "Thriller." Speaking of "Thriller," John Landis in London preparing for another film he will direct. He directed Michael's ground breaking 1983 musical video, maybe the most purchased, most-watched video in history. Here's an excerpt from "Thriller."


KING: John, how did you come to direct that?

JOHN LANDIS, DIRECTOR OF "THRILLER": I was living in London, actually, at the time when I got a call from Michael. He had just seen "An American Werewolf in London." He basically called me and said he wanted to turn into a monster. That eventually became "Thriller." By the way, hi, Miko, how are you?

BRANDO: Hey, John, how are you? Nice to see you.

KING: Hold it, John, what was your role in "Thriller?"

BRANDO: I was in the scene when Michael's in the theater with all the rain. I'm sitting right in front of him eating popcorn, watching the movie. And that was it.

KING: John, did you have any idea -- I know how unpredictable movies are.

LANDIS: Miko made the piece, by the way, just so you know.

KING: John, did you have any idea -- I know how unpredictable movies are. Did you have any idea this would be the hit it became?

LANDIS: Oh, of course not. First of all, something to remember about "Thriller" that people forget is the album "Thriller," Quincy and Michael's album, had already been the most successful album of all time. It had been out a little over a year and was now like number six or something. It was huge. And they had done "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," two very successful videos.

So when Michael came to me, I thought, well, I'd like to -- I didn't want to make a rock video. They're basically commercials for records. So I said, you know, can we do a theatrical short. And I proposed this thing. I'll never forget Michael calling Walter Yetnechof (ph), who basically told us, in different language, to go away. So, "Thriller" was just what you call a vanity video. We raised the money independently. We did not expect that. Once it came out, the album, which was already the most successful album of all time, quadrupled in sales.

KING: Video likewise. What was -- what was -- John, what was he like to work? We keep hearing from everyone what a perfectionist he was. True?

LANDIS: Oh, yes. Michael was a very hard-working and very disciplined guy. In "Thriller," especially, he was in his prime, very cooperative and fun, extremely professional. I mean, I have to tell you that being with Michael at that time -- Miko can tell you -- it was so surreal because he was such a monster star, and he used to get telephone calls and set visits.

When I worked with him he was visited by Lillian Disney, people like Fred Astair and Miko's dad and Jackie Kennedy. And it was so, holy cow. It was just remarkable.

KING: Miko, AP reports that Michael had completed an elaborate video production just two weeks before his death. The sets included a cemetery recalling the "Thriller" video. True?


KING: When will we see that?

BRANDO: Good question. I'm sure people would love to see that. I would hope soon, hopefully.

KING: And you were teamed on a video after that, right, Michael, "Black or White?"

LANDIS: Yes. I'm John. But, yes.

KING: Did you notice any -- hey, this is all getting to all of us. John, did you notice any different in Michael again?

LANDIS: Truthfully, yes. It was quite a few years later. How many years later, Miko? I don't -- five, six years later?

BRANDO: Five, six, seven, eight, yes, at least.

LANDIS: And Michael had had quite a bit more surgery, so he looked very different. And he was -- it was different. "Thriller", Michael came to me and let me write it and produce it and direct it. And he was totally cooperative. It was great.

"Black and White" was more me working for Michael. He hired me to fulfill his vision, which could get pretty wacky at times. It was different, but it was very fun.

KING: Let me get a break. John and Miko remain with us.




KING: John, you said that despite his gifts, Michael Jackson was a tragic figure. Explain.

LANDIS: Well, I always found Michael -- he was -- first of all, let me say one thing way up front, which is that I have nothing but love and admiration for Mike, in terms of as a person and as a truly international and great star. I was aware of that from the beginning. But he often was sad and he was eccentric. You know.

Once we are at Universal at my office, and I said, let's go up to the Back to the Future ride. It's very cool. And he said, OK, but I have to put on a disguise. And I said, Mike, no one will bother. He said no, I have to put on a disguise. So he went to the car and he came back with a red satin surgical mask, this big impresario hat, and a cape. And I just said, OK, Mike, no one will notice you now.

He was really outrageous and very sweet. He was a very sweet guy.

KING: Why tragic?

LANDIS: Seriously? Look at what's going on right now. It's tragic. There's no reason for this person to be dead, and there's no reason for him to be break, and there's no reason for this bizarre thing that's going to go on now. He's a tragic guy. He was -- I mean -- you can tell that -- I mean, everyone who worked with Michael is very fond of him. He was a lovely person. But I find him --

KING: That's sad. Do you agree, Miko?

BRANDO: I agree with John, yes. But Michael lived big. Everything -- John was saying eccentric. He did everything big, the best.

KING: How well did he pay you?

BRANDO: He paid me very well.

KING: Who is paying you now?

BRANDO: The estate.

KING: You're not going to get shut out of this?

BRANDO: As far as I know now?

KING: What is your role now? BRANDO: Taking care of his elements, his stuff, his personal stuff.

KING: Do you think he's going to be bigger in death now, going to sell more?

BRANDO: Absolutely.

KING: The videos and albums are going to go through the roof? They already --

BRANDO: I wish he was here to see it, yes. Absolutely, yes.

KING: John, quickly, what film are you starting?

LANDIS: I'm doing a film for Ailing (ph) studios that hasn't been announced yet called "Birk And Hare." I'm very happy with it. It's a very dark romantic comedy. But --

KING: If it's dark, you'll be happy with it.

LANDIS: It's funny. It's very funny.

KING: What did you want to say, quick?

LANDIS: I was going to say that you asked about Michael's -- how will his legacy -- Michael was already firmly established. And, yes, I mean, this bizarre thing, now that he's dead, he'll be like a bigger star. Elvis sells more records every year passed away than he did alive.

KING: We're out of time. Thanks, John, see you again. Good luck.

LANDIS: Good night. Thank you.

BRANDO: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Miko will return tomorrow. Miko will be our regular co- host through the week. Thanks for joining us. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?