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Death of A Legend

Aired July 7, 2009 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a daughter bares her soul.


PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON: Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.


KING: A brother shares his grief.


JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: Michael, when you left us, a part of me went with you.


KING: A friend reveals her pain.


BROOKE SHIELDS: Michael was one of a kind.


KING: A star-studded and somber salute to the king of pop brings the world to tears...



STEVIE WONDER, SINGER: As much as we may feel -- and we do -- that we need Michael here with us -- God must have needed him far more.



KING: legends pledge to keep his memory alive forever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world will never ever forget Michael Jackson.


KING: Dionne Warwick, Harry Belafonte, John Mayer, Patty Austin and others are here, smiling through their sorrow, next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: What a -- what a morning. We were honored to be invited by the Jackson family to sit right there in the third row and witness an incredible two hours -- a little over two hours. They put this program together. They had to do it in pretty quick fashion. It was brilliantly done.

We want to also compliment Chief Bratton and the Los Angeles police -- 3,000 of them on duty today. What a job. No incidents -- an incredible day.

We've got a lot of people to talk to. And one of the most incredible moments that took place in the Staples Center was taken by our first guest, the Reverend Al Sharpton, who tore it up.

We're going to show you a brief moment of it and then we want to talk to him about it.



REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: And I want his three children to know, there wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with. Michael beat it. Michael rose to the top. He out sang his cynics. He out danced his doubters. He outperformed the pessimists. Every time he got knocked down, he got back up. Every time you counted him out, he came back in. Michael never stopped, Michael never stopped. Michael never stopped.


KING: In all, honesty, Al, was that your finest moment?

SHARPTON: Well, I don't know. I hope it was a good moment for Michael.

KING: Did you feel it?

SHARPTON: You know, I...

KING: Did you feel it?

SHARPTON: I felt, you know...

KING: You were crying. SHARPTON: I -- I cried because I really loved Michael and I love what Michael did for the world. And I wanted to speak up for him because of him being the target of so much controversy. And I really wasn't thinking about my moment. I was really thinking that here I have an opportunity to speak for somebody that I felt did a lot more than he was given credit for.

KING: And you accredited him for paving the way in a lot of the civil rights movements. You weren't excluding Jackie Robinson or Martin Luther King.

SHARPTON: Oh, no. You're talking different generations. I'm more Michael's generation. So in my time -- I'm four years older than Michael. In my time, Michael kind of expanded where King and Jackie Robinson and others had -- had done, on a cultural level.

Dr. King was in the civil rights, Michael was in culture. And by creating that culture...

KING: Robinson was in sports, yes.

SHARPTON: Robinson was in sports. By creating a cultural comfort, I was saying that Michael made people comfortable with each other. They grew up to be able to be more comfortable making political and other moves that they may not have made without that cultural comfort.

KING: What's your critique of the event today?

SHARPTON: I thought it was a marvelous event. It was almost flawless. I think that there were no incidents. I thought the class and level that it was done, the family should be given a lot of credit. Ken Sunshine should be given a lot of credit.

And I think that Michael would have been pleased. I don't think people understand that Michael was very much a perfectionist. And he did not like things done in a way that was not up to par. And I think he would have been very happy with it today.

KING: How did you think -- did you meet with the family after?

SHARPTON: I went by and saw them at the repast. And, you know, like I said in the speech, people, you know, get all these crazy images. Joe Jackson and Katherine Jackson went against the odds and made a working class family work -- 11 of them in four rooms in Gary, Indiana; Joe Jackson working two jobs; their kids having a dream.

And the talent that came out of that family -- five boys that went to the top; then Janet and Latoya. They're probably the most talented family we've seen...

KING: Yes.

SHARPTON: ...with those two people sitting there making it work. I give a lot of credit to Joe Jackson and a lot of credit to Katherine Jackson. KING: We, of course, saw it earlier, such a powerful moment.

Here's Michael's daughter, Paris Katherine again talking through her tears about her dad.


PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.


PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON: And I just wanted to say I love him so much.


KING: What did you think of that?

SHARPTON: Well, that -- that touched everyone. And I think you couldn't script that. She's not reading a prompter. This is a young lady -- in fact, if you saw it, they had really said they wanted Janet Jackson to speak. And Janet kind of brought her forward. And she spoke from the heart about her father. I think she's worried the whole world understands how human Michael Jackson was.

KING: All right. There were ups and downs at the end. He hadn't performed in a while, he was going to go to London.

What's his legacy, Al?

What are they going to say about Michael Jackson?

SHARPTON: I think Michael's legacy is he transformed pop culture. I think that he brought pop culture to a different level. I think that he brought people together. I don't know of any artist before him that had people of every continent imitating them and therefore, making, as I said, people culturally comfortable.

And I think that Michael pioneered mammoth efforts toward world hunger. "We Are The World" was the thing that, I think, inspired Live Aid and others -- or at least energized them.

So I think in many areas Michael has pioneered, as well as in business, what he's done with his -- behind the catalog. Look, I think that sometimes people have to go to the next level of existence before they get their credit. In my own life, that's happened to James Brown.

And I think that Michael will -- we're just beginning to see how significant Michael Jackson was.

KING: Too bad you have to die to get more credit, right?

SHARPTON: It is sad. But I think that -- but worse than that is that even when you die, you don't get the credit. That's why a lot of us wanted that today.

KING: There wasn't anyone there today who could not say you were not anything but brilliant.

SHARPTON: Thank you very much.

KING: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Michael Jackson called two women mom. One was his mother, Katherine. The other was Dionne Warwick. And she joins us next.




KING: That was the incredible Jennifer Hudson. That's a voice that would make some singers say I pass, I quit the business.


KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, this special edition tonight, Dionne Warwick. The brilliant Dionne Warwick had more hits than any -- in my memory, anyone else had, and a close friend of the Jackson family.

And Damon Eliot. He is Dionne's son. He's been a friend of Michael since childhood -- in fact, was writing a song with Michael just before his death.

What did you think of the event, Dionne?

DIONNE WARWICK: Well, it was probably one of the most emotional mornings and afternoons that I've spent in a very long time. It was done with a great deal of style and class.

KING: Yes.

WARWICK: It was -- it ran like a piece of glass.

KING: Befitting the man they honored?

WARWICK: No doubt.

KING: He would've liked it?

WARWICK: He would've loved it. He would've loved it.

KING: How did you and Michael hook up, Damon?

DAMON ELLIOT, WARWICK'S SON, JACKSON'S FRIEND: Oh, well, from mom. We shared -- we shared moms. When I was very little, I used to beg her probably at least once a week, mom, you have to take me out to the house, you have to take me out to the house. And she'd always say, I'm on tour right now, baby. But when we I get home, we'll go see Michael. And one day we did. And he showed up, I think, in my living room or somewhere. And there was a (INAUDIBLE).

KING: (INAUDIBLE) is history.

You were writing a song at his death?

ELLIOT: Yes. Actually, I was working on some music for the new record that -- that I was going to get over to Jermaine. And the night before he passed away, it's -- it's crazy we were writing a song.

KING: We saw it earlier, but it was such a powerful moment. Here again, Michael's daughter Paris Katherine, talking about her father.


PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.


PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON: And I just wanted to say I love him so much.


KING: Did she plan to talk, Dionne, do you know?

WARWICK: I don't have any idea. I think she spoke instead of Janet.

KING: Yes.

WARWICK: It was -- that -- it tore my heart out.

KING: How did...

WARWICK: I had...

KING: How did you think the other kids handled the service?

ELLIOT: I think everybody handled it very well, all the children. I mean being a -- a child of a celebrity, you're -- you're watched by the world. And I could only imagine somebody this large being -- being a child.

KING: What was it like for you being a child of a celebrity?

ELLIOT: Well, like I just said, you know, you're watched by the world. But it was actually quite normal being insulated from a lot of -- a lot of the craziness. Mom did a great job.

KING: There was a family gathering at Forest Lawn before the Center memorial.

Were you there?


KING: Do you know what that was about?

WARWICK: I think that was to actually have the service itself prior to his interment.

KING: Did you know that they would bring the casket out?

WARWICK: I had no clue. That was really a surprise.

KING: Did you know?

ELLIOT: I knew -- one of the family members had kind of let me know. And...

KING: It shocked the crowd.

ELLIOT: Yes, it did.


ELLIOT: It still shocked me, even though I kind of knew, yes.

KING: Michael's brothers, Jermaine and Marlon, also talked at the service.



JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: I'm lost for words. I was his voice and his backbone. I had his back. So did the family. But we thank you. That's all I can say. We thank you very much.

MARLON JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: We would never, never understand what he endured -- not being able to walk across the street without a crowd gathering around him; being judged, ridiculed.

How much pain can one take?

Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone.


KING: Do you think they will, Dionne?


KING: Do you think that that will go away?

WARWICK: The media today?


WARWICK: No. It won't go away.

KING: That's -- they're still going to talk about him?

WARWICK: Of course. I mean the -- what else do they have to do, you know, as far as I'm concerned, you know, they're...

KING: How did he handle all of that, Damon?

ELLIOT: The media?

KING: Yes.

ELLIOT: Well, you know, like -- like every celebrity, I think certain things probably definitely affected him. But I think...

KING: Did he talk about it much?

ELLIOT: No, no. We -- we never talked about any of that.

KING: He would never bring up a tabloid or something?


KING: Still to come, by the way, John Mayer, Harry Belafonte, Patty Austin.

Back with them in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back on a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

There were many great moments during today's memorial. Each one stands on its own as a lasting tribute to the musician and the man.



STEVIE WONDER, SINGER: This is a moment that I wished I didn't live to see come. But as much as I can say that you mean it, I do know that God is good.


WONDER: And I do -- 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. We can't help but love you forever, Michael.

QUEEN LATIFAH, ACTRESS: You believed in Michael and he believed in you. He made you believe in yourself. I loved him all my life.

(MUSIC) MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I truly believe that Michael made me a better point guard and basketball player, as I watched him be so great and be the greatest entertainer ever.


SMOKEY ROBINSON, SINGER: And you just don't think that you -- you're going to see or you'll live to see him gone. But he will never really be gone. He is going to live forever and ever and ever and ever.




KING: Stevie Wonder ain't bad.


KING: Read my blog comments about the Michael Jackson memorial. Go to

We're back with Dionne and Damon right after this.



KING: Lionel Richie in top form today. Dionne Warwick and her son, Damon Elliot, with us.

By the way, we spoke of Michael's childhood. Brooke Shields was Michael's very close friend -- a child star like him.

Very emotional when she paid tribute.



BROOKE SHIELDS: We had a bond. And maybe it was because we both understood what it was like being in the spotlight from a very, very young age. Yes, it may have seemed very odd to be outside. But we made it fun and we made it real.

When he started wearing the glove, I was like, what's up with the glove?


SHIELDS: Both of us needed to be adults very early. But when we were together, we were two little kids having fun. Although our hearts are aching, we need to look up, where he is undoubtedly perched in a crescent moon and we need to smile. (APPLAUSE)


KING: Perched in a crescent moon.


KING: I never heard it put like that.

WARWICK: Well, that's from her heart, everything that was done today.

KING: Dionne, everyone knows what a great singer you are.

We know -- how great a singer was Michael Jackson?

WARWICK: Michael was...

KING: A singer -- a pure singer?

WARWICK: And he could sing. Yes. Yes. It was more than the magic of everything else that he did. He was a brilliant singer.

KING: So, in other words, taken on that alone -- because you can be dazzled by dazzle, right?

WARWICK: Exactly. But no, he -- I mean you have to listen to the ballads they sang, you know?

KING: What was he like to work with, if you were working on a song together?

What was that experience like?

ELLIOT: Well, from a distance, I got to work with Michael. I usually -- I mostly worked through Jermaine, who was another amazing talent. But just all the brothers, you know, they have so much conviction and so much feeling in their -- in their delivery.

And Michael was like the greatest teacher to all of us -- producers, dancers, singers, songwriters. He just had it all. He would come in and beat box a melody and -- and you'd try to emulate it on a drum machine and it just was impossible. So you'd just keep what he did, you know?

KING: Speaking of Jermaine...


KING: He took a Charlie Chaplin tune that has gone through a rebirth.

WARWICK: "Smile."

KING: My wife sings it. Everybody sings it now. WARWICK: Yes.

KING: It's like -- people record it instrumentally. It was Michael's favorite song -- Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," sung by Jermaine.


J. JACKSON: I love you, Michael.


KING: What an appropriate song.

WARWICK: Oh. It's what Michael was about -- smiling.

KING: I forgot how good a singer Jermaine is.

WARWICK: Oh, yes.

KING: He -- that -- he did an amazing job.

WARWICK: Yes, he did. Yes, he did.

KING: All right, Dionne, what's his legacy?

WARWICK: What's his legacy?

KING: What's Michael Jackson's legacy?

WARWICK: Well, we all know his music, of course. But all the (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Fifty years from today.

WARWICK: The wonderful things that he did for this entire world. I think he brought a new insight as to the things that we really should be paying attention to. And he did it brilliantly. And I think that's his legacy.

KING: We're going to miss him.

WARWICK: Oh, no doubt.

ELLIOT: Oh, no doubt.

KING: Thank you both.

WARWICK: Thank you.

KING: Dionne Warwick and her son, Damon Elliot.

John Mayer is here. Boy, was he something today. His thoughts about performing today, next.


KING: We now welcome a brilliant musician, a seven time Grammy winner, John Mayer. He performed "Human Nature" at today's memorial at the request of the Jackson family. He played brilliant guitar. He didn't sing today.

And didn't -- what an honor it must have been, you didn't know Michael and the family invites you to...

JOHN MAYER, PERFORMED AT JACKSON MEMORIAL: It's a why me sort of a situation, yes.

KING: What did you say?

MAYER: Well, the first -- the first thing I said was a question, was does this really come from the family?

I think that was essential to me sort of processing the honor, you know.

And when I found out that, in fact, it had, it took me about 48 hours to sort of strike the balance in how I was going to approach being -- you know, being invited to this unbelievable event without actually having the proximity to Michael Jackson, personally. I'd never met him.

KING: And that's what added to it, though.

What did he mean to you then, performer to performer?

MAYER: Oh, wow! you know, I -- I come from a generation that sort of gets told one way or another that we were born at the wrong time. You know, people say you should had it -- 20 years ago, you could have done this and this and that. And to know that, you know, in my early years and my generation's earlier years, you know, we were handed sort of down through MTV and the radio -- something like "Thriller." Imagine your first record, because you don't pick music the first five years that, you know, you're running around as a little kid.


MAYER: You know, the TV and the radio picks music for you. And what a blessing to have the music that just streams through in your house be a master work. That's sort of -- that was my connection to it, I think. That's what allowed me to walk up to the stage and feel --

KING: And did you? John performed an instrumental version of Michael's human nature. Here's some of it.


KING: Do you like playing guitar as much as singing?

MAYER: I like it more.

KING: More?

MAYER: Yes, I don't have a great vocal range. In fact, it's actually helped me out in song writing. I don't know -- I have to write my own songs to be able to appreciate or get anything out of my pretty limited vocal range. But on the guitar I'm able to sort of -- it's limitless for me. It's as long as the neck is. I can go anywhere I want.

The decision to not sing is just out of knowing what's best for me. I think it's quite a mine field to go into trying to in any way replicate vocally what Michael Jackson has done. And in a way, it was sort of respectfully leaving an absence, you know, sort of the presence of his absence.

KING: What do you think of Usher's voice?

MAYER: Unbelievable.

KING: He was unbelievable.

MAYER: Unbelievable.

KING: Usher gave a moving performance. He sang "Gone Too Soon," walked down to the casket. Watch.


KING: What did you think when he walked down to the casket?

MAYER: Very moving, you know. Everybody had a different relationship. He sings as if there was a real personal bond there, but I don't know. But that's the magic of music. That's all you need to know.

KING: What did you think of the whole thing today?

MAYER: All I could keep thinking other than, you know -- just sharing the why me with my fans and representing them -- was how humanizing it was. You know, Michael Jackson wasn't super human. He was extra human. But nobody's super human.

And I think everybody who watched the service, I think by the end of it -- the best service of all was the service done to Michael Jackson to sort of render him finally as being a human being. Did you feel that when you were there?

KING: Well said. Did you Twitter about it yet?

MAYER: I didn't. Again --

KING: John!

MAYER: I didn't do any -- just trying to be -- again, respecting the proximity or lack thereof to Michael Jackson. And we are connected through our music.

KING: Sure are.

MAYER: When my grandmother died several years ago -- she was a nurse in her younger years and she was lucky enough to be the last in her world to go, which meant it was a pretty empty funeral. And right in the middle there were two registered nurses, way too young to have ever worked with her. But the hospital had sent two nurses because they were connected as nurses.

And that's sort of what I referenced in allowing myself to enjoy being there without saying why are you here?

KING: Smartest thing they did, inviting you.

MAYER: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, John. John Mayer. The great Harry Belafonte -- there's only -- one of the musical powers behind "We Are The World" speaks for the first time publicly about the death of his friend Michael Jackson next.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've known him since I was little. I loved his music.



KING: And now welcome an old friend, one of the great entertainers ever, Harry Belafonte from New York, friend of Michael Jackson. They worked together on "We Are the World." Did you watch that today, Harry.

HARRY BELAFONTE, ENTERTAINER: Yes, I watched most of it, Larry. And it was quite a moving experience to see so many people turn out. And they turned out in a gracious way. There was no pushing, shoving. Everybody came very reverential. Everybody understood the moment. And I thought it went very well.

KING: How did you and Michael come together on "We Are the World?"

BELAFONTE: Well, for a long time I'd been watching the continent of Africa wither under the devastation of the famine and the drought, and literally hundreds of thousands of people were dying. And the world at large watched in a great indifference. The feeling that we had to awaken human spirit, become engaged in this -- in this great holocaust, so to speak. I turned to artists, and said we have a job to do. And when Michael decided to step to the table, he brought the greatest gift of all. He and Lionel Richie wrote the song. Without that truly remarkable song, there would have been nothing for us to say. And without his power to call upon all of the superstars of the world, to say, I've written a song; come on board; let's sing it together and focus on our fellow beings. I don't think that campaign would have been as successful as it was.

He did a remarkable job.

KING: The performers that Michael wished to go on tour with sang "We Are the World" at the memorial today. Let's watch a little.


KING: Harry, we don't have much time today. We hope to have you back soon to go over a lot more of this. But one other quick thing. Why was his appeal so strong everywhere in the world?

BELAFONTE: I think that he came along at a time when he struck a chord where the world needed a sense of coming together. And that's one thing that was very representative in Michael's life. He had the capacity to bring people together. They felt an urgency to find one another.

And I think that gift was displayed everywhere. He brought people together, and that's what people need to feel.

KING: You're an amazing person. Keep on keeping on, we'll be back together soon. Thanks, Harry.

BELAFONTE: Love you, Larry.

KING: Harry Belafonte, no one like him. Down the way where the night's are gay. If you'd like to say something to the Jackson family, go to our website, click on blog and start typing. Might see your comments on the bottom of the screen. Back in 60.


KING: Everybody who knew Michael Jackson speaks of the impact he had on the planet. The end of today's memorial was marked by a moving performance of "Heal the World," a theme he returned to again and again in his music. He said he was most proud of this song. Listen.


KING: What a morning. Patti Austin performed with Michael and knew him for decades. She's going to share her personal memories next when we come back.


(NEWS BREAK) KING: Patti Austin joins us, a 30 year friendship with Michael, toured, performed with him. She was in the family section today, as were we. Gotham Chopra, Michael's long time friend, and Miko Brando, who has been our co-host through all of this, long time friend. Michael was best man at his wedding, godfather to his daughter. Miko is the son of the late, great Marlon Brando.

Patti, you knew him for 30 years.


KING: Tell me about him.

AUSTIN: Good heavens, the first time I worked with Michael was on "The Wiz." He was incredibly shy. He was walking around with a little notebook, and if anybody said anything clever or that he didn't quite understand, it went in the notebook. And the research began. And that was my first -- any kind of meeting I had with Michael was about that.

KING: And that perfection remained throughout?

AUSTIN: All the way through, all the way through. And then, we never spoke during all of this. He have would kind of look at me from across the studio. He was kind of, hmm. If I'd say something funny, he'd write it down. If anybody would say something clever, he'd write it down.

We never started to converse until we worked together on "Off The Wall." And we were at Quincy's one day. And we were in the den, and Quincy got a phone call and he left the room. And I went into a state of terror because I sat alone in a room with Michael, the person who never spoke. And I'm trying to figure out what do I do?

KING: What happened?

AUSTIN: I picked up a magazine and started reading it. And there was a very pregnant pause and Michael looked at me and said, I heard you liked to shop.

KING: Great line. Can't top that. Gotham, what did you think of today?

GOTHAM CHOPRA, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: It was actually very elegant and dignified. And I have to tell you, none of us, I don't think, were sure what to expect. But it was beautiful and I think it was emotional. And it was a nice way to say goodbye. But it was difficult, especially towards the end there.

KING: Were you surprised, Miko, today?

MIKO BRANDO, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: No. I was very happy for the event. I think AEG did a good job. It was nice that it was done at the place where he last performed on stage. I think that's meaningful in a way. Everyone did a great job. They talked about how much love and what kind of person he was. And I'm glad now the world knows that we are going to miss a good man.

KING: Difficult for you at times.

BRANDO: Ridiculous.

KING: Motown founder Berry Gordy -- we sat right behind him -- paid this tribute to Michael today, watch.


BERRY GORDY, FOUNDER MOTOWN RECORDS: The more I think and talk about Michael Jackson, I feel the King of Pop is not big enough for him. I think he is simply -- I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.


KING: What a day. Would you agree with that statement, Patti?

AUSTIN: Yes, but I have to add to that, because this is something Michael and I used to talk about all the time. Michael was an amalgamation of some really tremendous talent. Michael studied the greats that came before him. The thing that I think separated him from those people --

KING: You're talking about Sammy Davis?

AUSTIN: Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson -- these are people he used to talk about all the time, and the things they did that were brilliant. He could take a piece of each of those people and blend it into this magnificent quilt that he turned out to be.

Plus, he was in two tremendously powerful petri dishes of creativity, Motown and Quincy Jones' world.

KING: Well put. Thanks for all of our blog traffic tonight. Keep your comments coming to We love hearing from you, especially on a day like this. Some more after this.


KING: Everyone involved today is going to feel an emptiness. I guess Miko, you feel the most?

BRANDO: I feel like I lost my friend. I lost my whole world. He was the man for me. He -- I couldn't stand it.

KING: Why are you sitting with two hands under the table?

BRANDO: First of all --

KING: I have been looking at this.

BRANDO: I'm going to read this. While I read this, I want you to wear this while I read this. KING: You want me to wear this while you read this.

AUSTIN: Look out, Larry.

KING: This is your statement in the program.

AUSTIN: Yes, my statement.

I have lost my best friend, lost my best man at my wedding. My daughter lost her godfather. The Brandos have lost a special family member, and our hearts are number and broken. I will never be the same. But, no, in my heart and for the world his legacy will live forever.

With all my love, Miko and the Brando family.

KING: I ain't going to top that. Patti, what did the hat mean to him? It was a prop?

AUSTIN: It was his Astaire. It was Gene Kelly.

KING: It was his Astaire, his Gene Kelly.

AUSTIN: Absolutely. Again, there's this taking that element that you see somebody that is brilliant do and go, ah, but wait, get a load of this.

KING: It worked for him, right Gotham? This worked.

CHOPRA: There are so many things that are iconic about Michael. We were reminded of all of those things today. I think also what you're hearing is -- I know I lost a friend. I lost a mentor. I'm so -- Michael wrote my college -- wrote a letter of recommendation for me. Probably the only reason I got into Columbia University.

KING: He wrote a letter of recommendation for you to go to Columbia.

CHOPRA: Yes, he did.

KING: Do you think it had any clout?

CHOPRA: I would think so. It's probably got a lot of value. I need to get it back.

KING: Are we going to see imitators coming along, Patti?

AUSTIN: They are already here. They're already here. Usher will be the first one to tell you, Justin Timberlake. Everybody sings like Michael.

KING: They are all doing Michael and --

AUSTIN: They're all doing Michael or Stevie or James Brown. You know, yes, absolutely. But the younger generation particularly is doing Michael, male and female vocalists, because that sound was very distinct.

KING: I didn't ask you what you made of today.

AUSTIN: Boy, heartbreaking. I really struggled with whether or not I wanted to attend this event for many reasons.

KING: Some people couldn't attend or wouldn't attend, didn't want to break down.

AUSTIN: I didn't want to break down. I didn't want to look cheesy. I didn't -- you know. The minute I walked in -- I got there I'd say about ten, 15 minutes before the event started. I had no idea that everybody was in there. The reason I had no idea is because it was stone silent. I have never felt that in my life.

KING: It was. It was stone silent.

AUSTIN: It wasn't a sad silence. It was a silence of reverence. as I walked in, I saw many people I knew, and none of us said a word to each other, so that we would never break that silence. There was a nod. There was a hug. There was a kiss, but no dialogue. Brilliant.

KING: Thank you all. We will be calling on all of you again. Patti Austin, thanks. Miko, what can we say. I'll give you the hat back.

BRANDO: Keep it on.

KING: I will.

BRANDO: You look good in it.

KING: Gotham, thank you. Regards to your dad. That's been it. This program will be repeated at midnight in case you joined us late for any part of it. We leave you tonight with an incredible moment from a day filled with them. Here is Jennifer Hudson singing "Will You Be There."