I do honestly believe that Michael Jackson was a sad and misunderstood man-child, doomed to isolation, who never knew a normal life. Maybe a certain amount of retconning is required to arrive at that conclusion: I’m soft.
La Toya Jackson‘s new memoir, Starting Over, is a real downer. Much of the book centers on her brother’s paranoia that people were out to kill him (she still shares his suspicions, not to mention his fake nose). And while La Toya Jackson isn’t my go-to for facts-based narratives, this is some pretty dark stuff.
She holds that Michael Jackson warned her, on multiple occasions, that he was going to get offed:
‘La Toya, I’m going to be murdered for my music publishing catalog and my estate,’ he had told me again and again. Michael believed there was a conspiracy.
La Toya still suspects her brother’s business adviser, the mysterious Dr. Tohme Tohme, of leading a cabal against MJ:
As soon as he began acting as Michael’s business adviser, he fired key people who had been close to Michael for years. … Once Tohme shut out the rest of the world, he would be able to steer Michael toward business ventures that were profitable for Tohme and his friends.
La Toya adds that her brother was deeply wary of all drugs and medication, including aspirin, which makes his addiction to painkillers all the more out-of-character.
She also quotes Paris, alleging these were his last words to his now 13-year-old daughter:
Prince and I were arguing, and Daddy said, ‘Stop fighting with your brother. I’m not always going to be here, and you’re going to have to be the lady and watch over them.’
Paris remembers Michael’s last days, his body ravaged by illness:
Daddy was always cold. … He would sit and fall asleep by the fireplace. He would always cry. And we would watch to make sure everything was fine. … And he needed a doctor. And then, they turned the lights out. We were in the dark … and they cut the phones off.
True crime or shameless cash-in? Whether treachery really were afoot—or more likely, Michael Jackson simply suffered an untimely end—Michael’s family sure knows how to paint a grim picture.