This is a heartwrenching read from Michael’s friend Miko Brando, published back in September 2009 and obviously shared by Miko just after Michael left us. I was not aware that Michael was so much Miko’s ‘father figure‘ after Marlon died, but I’m not surprised because he seems to have mentored, cared for and inspired so many people.
That Michael took so much care with Marlon during his last days is so utterly sweet, it breaks my heart. That Michael and Miko would go to Disney’s ‘Main Street‘ when Michael felt down is also very sweet. Michael of course loved Disneyland – his child’s heart just seems to always be overjoyed and carefree in the videos I’ve seen of him there (except the one where he later went with his children, not expecting the crowds, which was allegedly due to a scheduling snafu).
It’s always comforting to know that Michael had such friends in life – private relationships with people whom he considered family and who considered him family. I think that was very important to him and no doubt sustained him, along with his faith and his fans. Speaking of his fans, don’t miss Miko’s comment below about Michael and his fans.
Like others such as Liz Taylor, Miko must miss Michael terribly – more than the rest of us could ever know.
Michael was my idol. He’s been my father figure since my father died. It’s strange living without him. I will never be the same, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this loss. It’s like losing your companion, someone you always thought would be there. It’s just not right. He meant a lot to me. I feel like a different person than I was before Thursday. I feel numb – lost. He was a good friend for so many years.
I treasure the time I spent with Michael. We’d go shopping together, go to Disneyland, take trips, spend time at Dad’s house. He’d just come over and set up camp at my dad’s house for a while. I enjoyed talking about music, eating together and having fun with Michael. We were just good friends, that’s the best way I can put it. He was always there for me when I needed him, and I’d like to think I was always there for him.
I don’t really have a single memory of Michael that sticks out. It’s hard to do when you’ve been friends as long as we have. My best memories are of the time we spent talking, him hugging me, having good conversations, and making him laugh – I really enjoyed making him laugh. I could say some things – just a few words in his ear, and I could get a laugh out of him. And boy, did he have an infectious laugh.
Above all, Michael was a very caring person. He had a lot of love in his heart. He cared about everybody, especially the people on the street. He wasn’t stuck up – he had no ego, and he tried to make time for everybody because he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If he thought he did something wrong, it would really bother him. He had more love than anyone I know.
The Michael I saw everyday was one that loved his kids. They were his main focus. He was a very busy man, but he always made sure the kids were being looked after.
I’ve thought about whether there were any similarities between Michael and my dad, and I cannot think of a single one. You’ve heard opposites attract? I think that explains their friendship. They had absolutely nothing in common, but when you got them together, you couldn’t tear them apart. He loved my dad, and they spent many days together at Dad’s house and at Neverland. They were very close.
Michael was instrumental helping my father through the last few years of his life. For that I will always be indebted to him. Dad had a hard time breathing in his final days, and he was on oxygen much of the time. He loved the outdoors, so Michael would invite him over to Neverland. Dad could name all the trees there, and the flowers, but being on oxygen it was hard for him to get around and see them all, it’s such a big place. So Michael got Dad a golf cart with a portable oxygen tank so he could go around and enjoy Neverland. They’d just drive around – Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, with an oxygen tank in a golf cart.
Some of the best times I spent with Michael were just sitting on a bench at Disneyland’s “Main Street.” We would just sit there and people watch. Sometimes Michael would be in a getup so people wouldn’t recognize him – but they always did. When he was in a bad mood or a little down, I’d just say “Michael, the bench,” and that would bring him out of it. If I knew he wanted to have fun, or just get away, I’d say “let’s go to the bench,” and we were gone.
Of course, Michael Jackson in a public place like Disneyland was bound to draw crowds, and sometimes we would have park security with us. But they weren’t there to protect Michael, they were there to protect the crowds. He was never really concerned about himself, but that someone would get hurt in the crush of people that wanted to see him. People would just go crazy when they saw Michael Jackson.
Michael rarely cried, but I think he’d be in tears over the reaction to his death. He’d be overwhelmed and happy that so much of the love he gave was returned by the people he loved. I think he’d take a deep breath and just say thank you.
He loved his fans. I’ve been around plenty of big movie stars, but Michael’s fans are beyond fans. He knew the fans were what made him, and he wouldn’t want to leave anyone out. Everywhere he went, fans would be there. He’d tell me the fans always knew what he was doing. I don’t think anyone has ever had fans like that. So Michael would want a funeral that included his fans and made them happy. He would want it to say: “I’m still with you and we’ll always be together.” He was happy, and he wanted to make everybody around him happy. Finally, he would want love.
Above all, Michael was about love.
Below, around 2:17, John Landis relates a story about he and Michael visiting Disneyland after Thriller, where they were very suddenly overtaken by huge crowds, frightening Landis quite a bit. It also frightened Mickey Mouse, who apparently exclaimed “Holy ****!” from beneath his costume when he saw the sea of people approaching. Meanwhile, Michael just took it all in stride. The two of them, along with Mickey Mouse, were quickly whisked into a limo for safety by security. Very funny story.