More than two months after Michael Jackson’s death, the singer will finally be buried on Thursday (September 3) at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. But unlike the star-studded public memorial held in July, the final goodbye to the 50-year-old pop icon will be a private affair for friends and family only.
Jackson will be interred in the Great Mausoleum on the grounds of Forest Lawn, the final resting place for a number of Hollywood legends, including George Burns, Clark Gable, Nat King Cole, John Wayne and Walt Disney. Police promise a heavy presence during the event” including canine units and air support” and have encouraged gawkers to stay away. CNN reported that Gladys Knight, a longtime friend of Jackson’s, will perform an undisclosed song at the service. No media will be allowed at the funeral and the family has not announced anything about the program.
In addition to replicas of Michelangelo’s “David” and “Moses” sculptures, the mausoleum where Jackson will be buried features an ornate stained glass rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” making it a fitting resting place for the singer, who once commissioned for his bedroom a “Last Supper” portrait in which he appeared as Jesus among disciples that include Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis and Walt Disney. The huge mausoleum is normally open to tourists but was closed on Wednesday in preparation for the funeral.
It is unclear where the golden casket that took center stage at the July celebration at the Staples Center in Los Angeles has been since that event, though it is rumored that it has been kept in the Forest Lawn crypt of Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Words by Gil Kaufman for MTV