- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 3, 2009

Crypt for a King

While the city of Los Angeles covered many of the costs of Michael Jackson‘s lavish memorial, the bill for his private funeral Thursday night may end up being footed by his estate.

“The expenses will be extraordinary, but Michael Jackson was extraordinary,” Jeryll Cohen, an attorney for the singer’s estate, said Wednesday.

Mr. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, had asked that the estate pay for the funeral. A judge authorized the request but left it up to the estate administrators to carry out the request, People.com reported Wednesday.

Mr. Jackson, who died June 25 at age 50, will finally be laid to rest during a private sunset service for family and friends at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif.

The King of Pop will be interred in Forest Lawn’s Grand Mausoleum — a building patterned on 13th-century Italian architecture, with the walls and floors of each crypt constructed of reinforced concrete. Inside the church-like halls of the mausoleum is a full-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s “The Pieta,” as well as a giant rendition in stained glass of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Mr. Jackson’s celebrity neighbors will include Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow and comedian Red Skelton. The building is closed to the general public.

Security will be tight, with streets surrounding Forest Lawn closed to the public 24 hours before the service. The Federal Aviation Administration has restricted airspace over the cemetery.

Michael Jackson’s brother Marlon reveals that Michael’s three children - Prince Michael, 12; Paris, 11, and Blanket, 7 - have each written letters to their father that will lie with him alongside one of his signature white gloves.

In addition, Marlon Jackson tells the British publication the Mirror that his brother will be given a special wig of long black locks to wear in his gold coffin and that a makeup artist was hired to render his features lifelike again.

Soul diva Aretha Franklin is set to sing at the service. Mr. Jackson’s friend, Diana Ross, also is expected to attend. Neither attended the July memorial at the Staples Center, People noted.

A wimpy Bond?

He showed off his muscles as he emerged from the water as James Bond in “Casino Royale.” But despite his macho image, Daniel Craig seems both shaken and stirred by New York as he prepares for his Broadway debut in “A Steady Rain.”

According to the New York Post, Mr. Craig, 41, has demanded personal security be available to shadow him at all times while his equally famous co-star, Hugh Jackman, hasn’t asked for any protection at all.

The Hollywood actors play Chicago police officers whose friendship is put to the test in the much-anticipated drama, which starts previews next week and opens Sept. 29.

“Everybody thinks it’s funny because the truth is, Daniel rarely gets approached by the public in the street and at restaurants - especially now that he has the huge handlebar moustache for this role,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed production source as saying.

This isn’t the first time that Mr. Craig — who has rented a lavish, $38,000-a-month apartment with top security as his safe haven in town — has been accused of being a wimp. In 2005, he made a splash in London when he was unveiled as the new James Bond on a Royal Marine commando boat - looking seasick and wearing a life jacket. Mr. Craig even admitted the ride had scared “the [bleep] out of me.”

His dad, Tim Wroughton-Craig, also was forced to jump to his defense after claims that the star was scared of guns, the New York Post said.

The actor’s publicist couldn’t be reached, the newspaper reported.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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