At last weekend’s Julien’s auction in Beverly Hills, California, featuring memorabilia from the Beatles, Madonna and Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson reigns supreme.

The King of Pop’s red and black calfskin ‘Thriller’ jacket sold for $1.8 million. The late pop star wore the jacket in a scene with a troupe of zombies who rise from their graves and break into a dance routine in his 1983 zombie-ridden “Thriller” video. The 14-minute clip is considered one of the most influential music videos ever made.

The calfskin jacket worn by Michael Jackson in his Thriller video (Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Associated Press)

Michael Jackson in a scene from the music video "Thriller"

The winning price was exponentially above the pre-auction estimate of $200,000 to $400,000. A portion of the proceeds will go to actress Tippi Hedren's Roar Foundation. The pop star's Bengal tigers, Thriller and Sabu, have been living at the foundation's Shambala Preserve since Jackson left Neverland Ranch in 2006.

The jacket was designed by Deborah Landis, the wife of "Thriller" director John Landis. It was given by Jackson, who died on the 25th of June 2009, to his longtime costume designers Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush. The inside lining is inscribed "To Bush and Dennis, All My Love, Michael Jackson," and the sleeve is signed "Love Michael Jackson."

Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket sold for $1.8 million

Its sale came exactly two years after the then 50-year-old Jackson was killed by a surgical anesthetic called Propofol, which a Los Angeles coroner ruled killed the singer in combination with several sedatives found in his blood.

Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Callifornia, said the jacket was purchased by Milton Verret, a commodities trader and philanthropist from Austin, Texas.

Verret, who also owns the jacket Jackson wore during his Bad tour, revealed that the jacket will be put on display at Dell Children's Hospital in Austin, before sending it around the world to display as a fundraising tool for children's charities in the spirit of Jackson.

Verret has a history of making pop-culture purchases to benefit the less fortunate. He paid $120,000 at auction for a $20,000 2009 motorcycle signed by Jay Leno to benefit a New York children's charity. He spent another $120,000 on eight "Big Guitars" during the 2009 GuitarTown charitable auction in Austin, donating the pieces to the city afterward.

"It is one of the most important pieces of rock 'n' roll memorabilia in history," Verret said.

The jacket wasn't the only piece of memorabilia from the late King of Pop that was part of the auction. The signature fedora Jackson wore during his Bad Tour was sold for $16,250, his handwritten note to Elizabeth Taylor went for $5,625 and a signed pillowcase fetched $3,584. And a bidder paid out $330,000 -- more than 10 times what Julien's had expected to get -- for one of the famous, shiny, crystal-covered gloves that Jackson wore during the 1980s.

Other pieces of history, from other members of music royalty, were also featured at the auction. While gold records and instruments were common items, others were more practical -- like Frank Sinatra's boots (selling for $2,500) and his 1986 Jaguar car ($19,000) as well as the U.S. Army-issued sewing kit of Elvis Presley's that went for $1,536.

The King of Pop's closest competition at the auction was the Beatles, which had a number of items for sale. A signed postcard from Liverpool's finest sold for $5,504 and Paul McCartney's bass guitar fetched $14,080. But oft-diminished drummer Ringo may have gotten the last laugh, with the cape he wore in the movie "Help!" selling for $37,500 -- about five times the estimate.

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Michael Jackson isn’t dead, he just moved to Brazil to be a cabbie!

Taxi driver Jean Carlos Ribeiro Machado has become an internet sensation with his pitch-perfect version of Michael Jackson’s hit Billie Jean.

Jean Carlos Ribeiro Machado

A passenger who had been tipped off about his amazing vocals filmed Jean performing the song and then uploaded the footage online. The footage shows Jean beat-boxing and singing as he drives his passenger to a bus stop. To date, the YouTube clip has racked up more than 4 million views.

Jean said: "I got a call to pick up a fare, a guy named Diego.

"In the car he told me that the operator had said that I sang the same as Michael Jackson.

"So I sang Billie Jean to him and he recorded the video, I dropped him off at the bus stop and left. It was only afterwards that I saw the video on YouTube."

Jean, from Belo Horizonte, was quickly signed up and is now a megastar thanks to talent shows similar to the X Factor.

Under the name Jean Walker, the 32-year-old has since appeared on national TV with a team of dancers performing an extended version of Thriller.

He has also sung in front of MJ’s dad Joe, who visited Brazil on a recent book tour, and now hopes to make it big in America.

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Legendary Hollywood actress, businesswoman and fearless activist Elizabeth Taylor, famed for her striking blue eyes, her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors, a glittering film career and eight marriages passed away peacefully yesterday in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 79.

A recent photo of Elizabeth Tayllor

Taylor was hospitalized in Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai hospital six weeks ago in early February with congestive heart failure, a condition with which she had struggled for some years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be.

At the time of her death, she was surrounded by her children: Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton. Taylor was survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love,” Michael Wilding said.

“Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world.”

Taylor was hailed, in her prime, as the world’s most beautiful and desirable woman. sHE was an effective and arresting actress. Her harrowing performances in “Butterfield 8″ (1960)  ”Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), won her Oscars. She also gave sharp performances in “Giant” (1956), “Raintree County” (1957), “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958) — three films that helped build her reputation as a worldwide sex symbol — “The Sandpiper” (1965) and “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1967).

Elizabeth Taylor was hailed as one of the most beautiful women in the world during her prime years

Taylor was a champion for a number of charitable causes, notably the fight against AIDS. She founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation after the death of her friend Rock Hudson, and plowed both her time and money into its work, especially as her acting career waned in the 1980s. The BBC once noted that her charity work had grossed as much as her film career.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born February 27, 1932, in London, the daughter of two wealthy American art dealers, Francis and Sara Taylor. Her mother was a former actress who had given up the career when she married, but encouraged her daughter in the pursuit. Indeed, Elizabeth Taylor and her mother were to remain extremely close until the latter’s death in 1994, at age 99.

Just after World War II began, her parents moved back to the United States and settled in Los Angeles, where Francis Taylor catered to a high-level clientele. Young Elizabeth was noted early on for her looks: According to one perhaps apocryphal story, she was spotted by a talent scout who suggested her for Bonnie Blue Butler in “Gone With the Wind,” but the idea was reportedly shot down by her father.

She eventually made her debut in 1942 in Universal’s “There’s One Born Every Minute.” Taylor was then signed by MGM, which was to be her home for almost two decades, and made “Lassie Come Home.”

Taylor became a child star in her next film, 1944′s “National Velvet,” the story of a girl who rides her horse to victory at the Grand National disguised as a boy.

Elizabeth Taylor in NATIONAL VELVET

For the rest of the 1940s, she was an MGM regular, some of her films winners — the 1949 version of “Little Women” — and others, quickly forgotten, such as “Julia Misbehaves.”

In 1950, Taylor turned 18 and had her first hit as an adult, the classic “Father of the Bride,” in which she played Spencer Tracy’s soon-to-be-married daughter.

She married for the first time in 1950, aged 18, to playboy hotel chain heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr. The marriage lasted 203 days, collapsing amid verbal and physical abuse after a lavish Hollywood wedding and a three-month European honeymoon.

Taylor moved on, and by 1952 she had tied the knot with British matinee idol Michael Wilding, 19 years her senior. The marriage lasted 5 years and produced two children, Michael Jr. and Christopher. Taylor filed for divorce in 1956, and within days of her divorce from Wilding, Taylor married Hollywood producer Mike Todd.

Critical acclaim arrived with Taylor’s next film, “A Place in the Sun,” based on the Theodore Dreiser novel “An American Tragedy.” Taylor played the beautiful woman pursued by Montgomery Clift, who kills his pregnant girlfriend (Shelley Winters) while boating. The film received nine Academy Award nominations, but Taylor was shut out.

And after some sluggish work in the early ’50s, she was appearing in some renowned films, notably 1956′s “Giant” opposite James Dean and Rock Hudson. Taylor received her first Oscar nomination in 1958 for 1957′s “Raintree County.” Todd suggested her for the role of Maggie the Cat in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958), and Taylor steamed up the screen, spending a good part of the movie slinking around in a slip.

Tough and domineering, Todd was Taylor’s first great love. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Frances, in August 1957, but seven months later tragedy struck: Todd was killed in a plane crash in New Mexico in March 1958.

Devastated, Taylor was comforted by Todd’s best friend, actor and singer Eddie Fisher who accompanied her at Todd’s funeral. Fisher’s wife, American’s sweetheart actress Debbie Reynolds,  stayed home in California to take care of Taylor’s children.

Taylor stole Fisher from Reynolds in an affair that scandalized puritanical America. Taylor was now “the other woman,” scorned as a homewrecker — and, based on box office returns, more popular than ever.

Fisher and Taylor married in 1959 amidst much public outrage and appeared opposite each other in the 1980 “BUtterfield 8,” with Taylor cast as a high-class call girl. Though she hated the film, her performance — and a sudden case of pneumonia that threatened her life — invited the sympathy of the Motion Picture Academy, and she finally won an Oscar. “I lost to a tracheotomy,” fellow nominee Shirley MacLaine quipped.

In 1960, now perhaps the most famous actress in the world, Taylor was offered the lead in 20th Century Fox’s production of “Cleopatra.” Taylor demanded and was paid a record $1 million. “Cleopatra” was the most bizarre piece of entertainment ever perpetrated at that time.

Elizabeth Taylor In Cleaopatra

The movie flopped, but the Roman set was the backdrop for a sizzling love affair that made headlines around the world: Taylor and her leading man, Burton, who was married. Her affair with Burton fueled a paparazzi rush unrivaled in its time.

The two were inseparable — and very publicly so. Pictures of the couple finally prompted Burton’s long-suffering wife, Sybil — who had attempted suicide — to file for divorce. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, both friend and foe to Taylor over the years, called her “sick.” The Vatican released a message directed at her, saying she was guilty of “erotic vagrancy.” A U.S. congresswoman even introduced a bill banning Taylor and Burton — or “Liz ‘n’ Dick,” as they were becoming known — from the United States. In response, Taylor asserted, “I will never go back to America.”

“Elizabeth looks at you with those eyes, and your blood churns,” said Burton, a Shakesperean actor hailed as the next Lawrence Olivier and known as much for his philandering ways as his Shakespearean expertise.

Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor

They married in March 1964 in Montreal. Burton bought Taylor jewels, furs, baubles. The two caused near-riots when they appeared in public. Burton’s tour of “Hamlet” sold out and their movies together — “The V.I.P.s,” “The Sandpiper,” even the grim, groundbreaking “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” — were hits, the latter also nominated for 10 Oscars. Taylor received a best actress trophy for her performance as the tempestuous Martha; Burton was nominated for his performance as the emasculated George.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a harrowing portrayal of a marriage torn by booze, bitterness and failure and it mirrored the marriage of Taylor and Burton.

They divorced in June, 1974 and remarried in October of the following year in Botswana, only to divorce again in August, 1976. Before he died, Burton commented: “We never really split up – and we never will.”

The marriage left Taylor an alcoholic, and her career continued to languish as she entered her 40s. A seventh marriage to Virginia Senator John Warner, from 1976 to 1982, failed to cure the blues.

Indeed, Taylor was starting to become a figure of mockery. During a fund-raising dinner for her sixth husband, U.S. Senator John Warner, R-Virginia, Taylor choked on a chicken bone. The incident, including a bulked-up Taylor, was viciously parodied on “Saturday Night Live,” with John Belushi playing Taylor.

In and out of California’s Betty Ford Clinic in the 1980s, she overcame her alcoholism and a dependence on painkillers and emerged as a champion in the cause of AIDS victims. In 1985, she organized a benefit dinner to raise money for her friend Rock Hudson, who was dying of AIDS. The project eventually led to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR); in 1991, she began the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation.

In 1991, she stunned the world by marrying husband No. 8: Larry Fortensky, a 40-year-old construction worker she met in rehab at Betty Ford Clinic. They parted amicably three years later.

In later years as her health failed she retired from the public gaze, although she notably attended the 2009 funeral of her long-time friend Michael Jackson, while she remained active in raising funds to battle AIDS/HIV.

Taylor’s health continued to deteriorate. In 1997, she underwent surgery to have a brain tumor removed and in 2006 she appeared on US television to deny rumors she had Alzheimer’s disease.

In July 2008, she was hospitalized but her spokesman denied reports that she was close to death, while in 2009, she underwent heart surgery to repair a “leaky valve,” tweeting afterwards: “It’s like having a brand new ticker.”

Rest in peace, Elizabeth Taylor!

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Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, has finally released the much anticipated music video for her debut infectious hit single “Whip My Hair.”

Willow Smith 's "Whip My Hair"

“Whip My Hair” will be listed in Willow’s upcoming first studio album as a lead single. The music video, filmed in Sylmar California, is directed by Ray Kay who has also helmed clips for Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Justin Bieber. It features some costume changes which show off Willow’s killer outfits

In the video, the pint-sized singer walks into a plain room full of people dressing in the same white outfit. The music is played, she gets playful with her wardrobe and some paint and joins guest stars ranging in age from 1 to 85 who, you guessed it, whip their hair back and forth for the cameras, spraying paint all over the place in the process.

The 9 year-old pint-sized  singer has so much talent and potential that she has already been compared to a young Michael Jackson. That is probably the biggest compliment for this young star who has already been hailed as a trendsetter.

Ms. Smith has starred in a number of movie roles, such as “I Am Legend,” “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” and “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.”

Willow said she wants Lady GaGa for a duet. “Somebody I would really want to work with on a song would be Lady GaGa,” she gushed. “She is amazing! She’s just so amazing, she’s a free person. She’s a free girl, baby.”

She whips it – and whips it good!

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Two days ago a good friend of mine passed me a few tickets for last night’s Michael Jackson Impersonator Show at the Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club’s Music Corridor. The show is part of Miri May Fest in celebration of Miri’s fifth anniversary as a city. I went for the show last night with my wife and Edward Chieng, a nephew of ours.

There was a massive crowd at the hotel and there were a lot of security personnel stationed everywhere.  I guessed there must be some VIP coming and my guess was later proven to be correct.

I am not too impressed with the performances of the Michael Jackson impersonators. None of the performances came  anywhere close to what the late MJ was capable of doing. I guess I have too high expectation with all the publicity surrounding the show.

Stage backdrop for the show

One of the impersonators

A group of three impersonators

Another impersonator showing his MJ moves

Ohhhh...don't touch that!

Another MJ move

The gloved one

I guess groping the crotch seems to be a popular MJ dance routine

The champion impersonator

The champion receiving the champion trophy

After the performances, the MC announced the arrival of the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud. No wonder there were so many security personnel everywhere! The CM arrived with lots of VIPS in tow, including the Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri Dr George Chan, the Malaysian Minister of  Energy, Green Technology & Water, Dato Sri Peter Chin and lots of local dignitaries.

The speeches started. It was hot and humid and I was sweating a lot. Reizo Zen was scheduled to perform after all the speeches by various VIPs. I would have loved to watch Reizo Zen perform but we did not want to sit through all the speeches by the VIPs so we left.

Reizo Zen.....the official Malaysia Michael Jackson impersonator

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By now, all of you would have watched the MJ Memorial or caught glimpses of it from the tv. I stayed up to watch it live early this morning. My time zone is GMT +8 so it was early Wednesday morning here when the memorial started.

090629_michael_jackson

What a memorial it was! There were great performances from Mariah Carey, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Shaheen Jafargholi (“Britain’s Got Talent” star). I find Usher’s performance particularly touching when he sang “Gone Too Soon”.

MJ’s brother Marion also tugged at my heartstrings with his speech. He alluded to the controversies that surround MJ in death. “How much pain can one man take?” Marion asked. “Maybe now, they will leave you alone.”  How poignant!

To me, the most memorable part of the memorial was at the very end when MJ’s daughter Paris Katherine Jackson took to the microphone and said, “Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say that I love him so much.”  She broke down in tears after that and buried herself in the arms of her aunt Janet Jackson. I don’t mind admitting that tears just welled up in my eyes after that.  She touched the hearts of millions worldwide with that short tearful tribute. RIP, MJ!

Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say that I love him so much.
Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say that I love him so much.

Paris Katherine consoled by her uncle Marion
Paris Katherine consoled by her uncle Marion

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July 7 2009……will Michael Jackson stop the world?

The MJ public memorial scheduled for today at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will indeed bring the world to a stop! It is likely to become one of the most-viewed events of all time.

michael_jackson_memorium_956f

The world has lost one of its most famous entertainers. There will never be another MJ.  The frenzy over his death is almost unparalleled in history.  And who will ever forget his Moonwalk moves?

michael_jackson

And what a catchy tune ……Billy Jean!

billie-jean-jackson_l

I will be staying up tonight to watch the memorial on tv.  Farewell, King of Pop!

michael-jackson

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