Drivers stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 freeway last week opened their car windows to talk about Michael Jackson. For a brief moment, the entertainer brought them together during a week in which show business luminaries Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon also died in Los Angeles. The fast-breaking news -- initially that Jackson had been rushed to a hospital in a coma and soon after that he died -- riveted even famously laid-back Southern Californians. Jackson, born in Gary, Ind., was a local, of sorts. His last home was a rented mansion in Holmby Hills and his former Neverland ranch compound is in Los Olivos, near Santa Barbara.
The curious, and there are many, remain posted outside the Jackson family compound in suburban Encino, monitoring the comings of goings of relatives and advisers, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Thousands of people are visiting Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, snapping photos and leaving flowers, cards and candles.
In death, as in life, this singular entertainer has the ability to transfix the public.