A Tale of Two Michaels
Originally published at Make-Up Artist Magazine
Michael R. Thomas
October 20, 2009
Editor’s note: This summer, make-up artist Michael Thomas and pop star Michael Jackson died within two months of each other (Thomas’ obituary is posted on our site). Here, Thomas, who was Jackson’s make-up artist for The Wiz, recalls some memorable experiences with Jackson on and off the set. Thomas’ wife, Christine Domaniecki, shared Thomas’ memories with us.
Wizardry Behind The Wiz
On The Wiz, we had Vac-u-Forms made from plaster life masks of each actor who appeared as a main character (including the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, played by Michael Jackson). They were made because every week or so, Stan Winston’s Los Angeles-based lab would ship a bunch of the actors’ freshly made foam-latex appliances to New York, where we shot the movie.
After I brought the Scarecrow appliances home, I would lightly attach the foam-latex pieces to the Vac-u-Form and pre-color them. It saved a lot of application time when we were in the make-up room at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. Keeping the foam-latex pieces on the form during pre-painting kept them in shape, the way a coat hanger keeps wrinkles out of a coat. On the inside of one of the forms, you can see a few color swatches. I duplicated the color of the Scarecrow’s greasepaint in artists’ acrylic. I put acrylic on the neck ruffle he wore as well, because if I used greasepaint, it would rub off onto his costume.
We were allowed to keep the forms at the end of the movie. I have about five.
Every morning I began Michael’s make-up by applying a bald cap to keep his hair, which was in very small braids, in place. Next I would apply the foam-latex pieces: a forehead piece, two cheek pieces, a nose piece (which was supposed to look like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrapper), a chin piece and a neck ruffle. They went on in the morning and had to be maintained during the day.
Michael Jackson’s personal artist shared pop king’s vision
Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
SANTA FE — Artist David Nordahl was at home painting in February 1988 when the phone rang at midnight. A voice said, “This is Michael Jackson.”
Yeah, riiiight, he thought. But he quickly realized the call was no prank.
While visiting Steven Spielberg’s office, Jackson had admired one of Nordahl’s paintings of Army troops invading an Apache camp as a young corporal shielded two Indian children. Now the singer was reaching out to the painter. For art lessons.
“He asked if I taught drawing and painting,” says Nordahl, whose realist oils of 19th-century Apaches are highly prized. “I told him I didn’t, but that I’d think about it. I was really busy.”
Their hour-long conversation sparked a close friendship and working partnership that led Nordahl to abandon renown in the art world for a cloistered vocation as Jackson’s portraitist. From 1988 to 2005, Nordahl completed thousands of drawings and roughly a dozen epic commissions, seven of which were among 2,000 Jackson items in Julien’s authorized auction, which the singer sued to stop last spring.
By Brenna Chase
Originally published at Popshifter.com
Reprinted with permission
Rather than keep your eyes glued to your favorite news channel for the latest intrusive development or read another biased career retrospective on the recently deceased King of Pop, ponder these conundrums, posed by a true (frustrated) fan who pays attention to what’s really important.
10. How is it that Michael Jackson is sexy?*
Admit it, he is. His appearance(s) may be odd, but with all the different faces/styles/versions of Michael Jackson, there has got to be something there for everyone—just pick whichever one suits your particular fancy. He’s got the whole masculine/feminine, black/white, borders-all blurred-and-undefined thing going on, and he pulls it off, turning it into something ethereal that just draws you to him. He may have been a shy, seemingly asexual recluse in real life, but on stage, he will always be pure sex. The supernatural flow of his form is so completely attractive and captivating. He possesses magnetism that can’t be explained, because it can’t be compared to anything else. It’s like his public persona and bizarre behavior are the challenges, and he overcomes them when he performs by forcing you to forget about everything else.
Perhaps a better question would be: if you had never seen or been told anything about Michael Jackson before, and just heard his music, what would your first thought be upon hearing his voice? How about, “Michael, will you marry me?” He has recorded some of the sexiest songs ever made in the history of popular music. Close your eyes and listen again to “Liberian Girl,” “In the Closet,” “Human Nature,” “Heaven Can Wait,” and “Butterflies.” Pay careful attention to the words and how he phrases them. Michael Jackson is a perfect vocalist. Just as he’s playfully floating above the harmonies on his dance songs and spitting with anger in the intense ones, he is oh-so-convincingly romantic on every ballad. His last album, Invincible, is more R&B-tinged and, though often overlooked, is actually sexier than all his earlier works put together. On the smooth track “Break of Dawn,” Michael Jackson, the same guy who’s had more than his fair share of nose jobs and believes he is the modern day Peter Pan, is telling you that he wants to make love to you all night until the sun comes up, and you are more than okay with that.
Forget Justin Timberlake, forget Prince, because the King of Pop can lure you like no other. Why is everyone freaking out about if he is actually the biological father of his children, or what drugs were in his system when he died? “Michael Jackson is sexy—how and why?” should be the headline frozen at the bottom of the CNN screen which only the most qualified professionals will discuss until they’ve got some substantial answers.
Spike Lee, who directed two videos in 1996 for Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us”, sits down with Stan Washington to talk about meeting Michael and attending his memorial service with the Jackson brothers.
Click below to view both of the videos Spike Lee directed for Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson with Jane Fonda in 1983. The red “butterfly” rash associated with lupus is clearly visible on Michael’s cheeks.
On July 8, 2009, Michael Jackson’s dermatologist of 25 years, Dr. Arnie Klein, appeared on Larry King Live. Among the topics of discussion included Michael’s affliction with vitiligo, lupus erythematosus, and chronic pain; as well as the subjects of plastic surgery and body dysmorphic disorder.
A full transcript of the program can be found here. I have chosen to directly excerpt the passages specifically relating to Michael’s health.
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Michael Jackson’s Doctor
Aired July 8, 2009 – 21:00 ET
LARRY KING, HOST: The saga the death of Michael Jackson continues. And we welcome a very special guest tonight. Dr. Arnie Klein, they call him the dermatologist to the stars, easily the best known dermatologist in Southern California, maybe elsewhere, too. He’s Michael Jackson’s long-term dermatologist, friend and he’s a professor of medicine and dermatology at UCLA.
Doctor, how did you first meet Michael?
DR. ARNIE KLEIN, MICHAEL JACKSON’S DERMATOLOGIST: I met Michael because someone had brought him into my office. And they walked into the room with Michael. And I looked one — took one look at him and I said you have lupus erythematosus. Now, this was a long word.
KLEIN: Lupus, yes. I mean, because he had red — a butterfly rash and he also had severe crusting you could see on the anterior portion of his scalp. I mean I always am very visual. I’m a person who would look at the lips of Mona Lisa and not see her smile. I would see the lips.
KING: Was he there because of that condition?
KLEIN: He was there only because a very close friend of his had told him to come see me about the problems he had with his skin. Because he was — he had severe acne, which many people made fun of him [for]. He used to remember trying to clean it off and he’d gone to these doctors that really hurt him very much. And he was exquisitely sensitive to pain.
So he walked into my office. He had several things wrong with his skin. So I said — and you have thick crusting of your scalp and you have some hair loss.
He says, well, how do you know this?
I said, because it’s the natural course of lupus. So I then did a biopsy. I diagnosed lupus. And then our relationship went from there.
John Landis, director of the short films for “Thriller” and “Black or White”, spoke with CBS News following Michael’s public memorial service on July 7, 2009.
Michael & Me
Originally published at CarrieFisher.com
By Carrie Fisher
July 6th, 2009
Hello to one and all!
Tis I! Your intermittent blogmeister, back to provide you with inside information on The Late Michael Jackson. I was friendly with Michael. I believe that he considered us to be friends.
I visited him over the Christmas holiday at that weirdly expensive rental home somewhere here in Southern Cal. What’s odd is that I see fans laying flowers in front of homes that I don’t think Michael ever lived in. But then this whole scene is odd.
Here’s the thing though—I saw Michael multiple times with his children and thought that he was a very good father. Not only based on seeing him with his children, but also based on his children themselves. They are very well behaved, respectful children, who seemed content in Michael’s company. I mean, I doubt if Michael cooked for them or parented them in ways that might be considered conventional, but you could see how much he loved them and how much they loved him. I do NOT believe that Michael did anything untoward to not only his children, but to any other child. He was a child himself. I never in any way viewed him as someone who was capable of doing what they accused him of doing. He was devoted to his family and doted on them. In a town where you more often see children of celebrities with their nannies and in the care of others, I never saw anything like that with Michael and his children. I would say he was a hands on parent, but with the press and some of the public being as they are, I wouldn’t want to say anything that could be interpreted in any way other than the loving scene that I observed between his 3 children and himself. And I stand to gain nothing in stating this.
Michael was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever encountered. He was generous and polite. And where you might expect to see children that were pampered and spoiled, his children showed none of this.
I don’t believe that Arnie Klein is the father of these children. Why would he do that? He might as well just adopt 3 kids, rather than arrange a situation where he was not the father. I realize these children don’t resemble him mightily, but I there must be some other explanation other than someone else fathered these children. Michael was eccentric, no doubt. But he was no fool.
My favorite news program that I’ve seen regarding this whole scene is a program that asked the question, “Are there too many programs on Michael’s death and who will gain custody of his children…….”
Anyway, there you have it. For now. I’ll let you know of any other insights I am privy to as we go along. If I can.
Aside from that, I’m fine. (whatever that means!) Tomorrow we go to Berkeley to do my show for two weeks to prepare for Broadway. Perhaps I will seek custody of Michael’s children, depending on how things develop………
Unless you have some other suggestions. Everyone else seems to want to weigh in on it……..