Was Michael Jackson addicted to morphine? No one knows for sure, but Jackson -- who admittedly spent time in rehab around 1994 -- wrote all about the drug in a song that appeared on one of his albums.
In the song "Morphine," which Jackson composed on his own, the King of Pop sang: "Trust in me/Just in me/Put all your trust in me/You're doin' morphine."
Not exactly "We Are the World," now is it?
Jackson continued "Go on babe/Relax/This won't hurt you/Before I put it in/Close your eyes and count to ten/Don't cry/I won't convert you/There's no need to dismay/Close your eyes and drift away."
A source very close to Jackson for more than 20 years told me that the singer indeed had his addictions, but they were cleaned up a long time ago. In the same song, though, Jackson also sings about the highly-addictive prescription drug Demerol.
Why did this escape the public's attention? Well, "Morphine" is a song from the low-selling "Blood on the Dance Floor" remix album that Jackson put out in 1996. It was not a hit, and made little impact on the charts.
Meantime, the whole "Jesus Juice" business (see below) is very funny, but I am told by his friends that when Jackson started drinking wine a few years ago -- certainly no big deal for any adult -- he didn't want kids to see him do it in public. Hence the transfer to soda cans, especially on planes and in public places.
Interestingly, Jackson's detox in 1994, which was followed by the release of the song "Morphine," is only glossed over by Maureen Orth in her latest Vanity Fair missive on the subject. I guess she didn't take the song as a clue, or didn't know about it. But most of her story -- even with a passing credit to this column (thanks, Mo!) -- is a rehash of stuff that's been published here and other places.
Little of Orth's material is new, and lot of it is credited to original sources, as if Orth authoritatively is telling us this stuff for the first time. Her revelation of Jackson calling wine "Jesus Juice" appeared in the National Enquirer in mid-December. Many other "scoops" appeared first here, including tidbits from the lawsuit by former Jackson financial adviser Myung-Ho Lee, interviews with all too eager comedy club owner Jamie Masada, and the recounting of how the family of the alleged victim was moved out of their home and into Neverland.
You read all of that here first.
Orth relies heavily on unreliable sources like Ray Chandler, the uncle of the kid from the case 10 years ago, whom the Jackson team failed to gag when they paid his nephew a reported $20 million, and on Victor Gutierrez, author of a book about that case and Jackson that is so disgusting it can't be published in the U.S. Jackson sued and got the book banned, which means these are not exactly objective witnesses.
The rest of Orth's story is largely based on her conversations with Lee, who settled his $12 million suit against Jackson last year out of court and presumably signed a confidentiality agreement when he got the settlement. Lee's side will no doubt argue that the interviews conveniently took place before the settlement, thus freeing him to rat out on record the man he said he was trying to protect, defend and represent last year. You go for it, girl!
I am amused, too, by the new willingness of Masada and lawyer William Dickerman to talk, talk, talk to anyone who'll listen. When I first interviewed them back on Nov. 19, they were very concerned about the family's privacy and their own anonymity. But that 15 minutes of fame has eaten away at them, since each is in the article and appeared last night on ABC. Dickerman, in particular, who told me he knew little of the family once he introduced them to Larry Feldman, the Chandlers' lawyer, now seems to be an expert.
And you thought Kato Kaelin was a sellout!
Sometimes the stories have unhappy, but proper, endings.
This column followed the lawsuit brought by magazine publisher Gruner & Jahr against Rosie O'Donnell and the consequent trial.
Two days ago, G&J president and CEO Dan Brewster was finally fired as payback for the embarrassment he caused his company. Let's say that company head Axel Ganz gave him the ax.
On the stand and in court Brewster was smug and unrepentant. In the witness box, he looked like a deer caught in headlights when it was time to answer questions about cooking the circulation numbers for his magazine. In the gallery, he carried on with colleague Cindy Spengler in a most inappropriate way.
When the trial was stopped by Judge Ira Gammerman, the buzz in the room about Brewster was, "How long before he's fired?" Now that's been done, the next questions are, "How long before Spengler and two other colleagues, Dan Rubin and Susan Toepfer, are also tossed out over this debacle?"
O'Donnell has been vindicated, and the publisher has been embarrassed.
On another front, "The Sharon Osbourne Show" has been cancelled. I've reported for months on the backstage chaos over there, the way Osbourne has treated guests and staff, and how the show's owner, Telepictures, attempted to force Osbourne into doing a tabloid sort of show. In the end Osbourne, a screechy, unsympathetic character, alienated everyone. The only surprise is that the cancellation notice took so long.
Everyone in the movie biz is talking about the out of left field Oscar nomination for "City of God" director Fernando Meirelles. Well, it wasn't a total surprise in these parts. Readers of this column will recall my interview with Meirelles last year produced some unusual answers about his directing style, including using real kids in the Brazilian ghettos as actors. Now he's supporting them and starting schools for them down there. I think the honesty in "City of God" really spoke to Academy voters... Todd Caplan is the new catering king in New York. His Berkeley Caterers is now providing daily gourmet meals for more than a dozen blue chip Manhattan law firms, investment banks, and trading floors. Caplan, 29, installed in Trump Tower and best friends with Donald, Jr., has declared 2004 "the year of making it big." He's got his sights set on movie studios and record companies, all of which would enjoy his deviled eggs... Bebe Buell was in town this week for meetings with IMG Models. Bebe lives in Maine, but she spent four nights in the dramatic Barrymore suite at the Majestic Hotel before its re-do into The Dream Hotel... I'm sure it was just an error that left our credit from Page Six yesterday. We reported last Saturday that Barbra Streisand would be doing "Meet the Fockers" as Ben Stiller's mother. Since then, not only Page Six but many news outlets reported this "scoop"...