LOS ANGELES -- In life, Michael Jackson earned hundreds of millions and spent even more, accumulating an estimated half-billion dollars in debt towards the end of his life, when a tarnished image curtailed his earning power.
In death, the King of Pop is doing just fine, however. He’s never been more popular, with almost 60 million Facebook “friends,” and music sales and business deals made by his estate have earned more than enough to repay his debt. Lara Logan reports on this unprecedented turnaround and gets a private tour of some of the personal items that meant the most to the late star for a 60 Minutes story to be broadcast Sunday, May 19 at 6 p.m. Central.
While the Jackson Estate amasses millions through The Michael Jackson Immortal Tour, an acrobatic performance to his music by Cirque Du Soleil, iTunes and album sales, his possessions sit in storage. Nobody knows what they are worth. It’s anybody’s guess at what they could bring at auction with the right people biding.
Karen Langford, a friend of Jackson’s who worked with him since 1981, is the archivist for the Jackson estate. She takes Logan for a tour of a warehouse full of Jackson’s memorabilia.
The tour begins, appropriately, with the Neverland sign sitting on the floor of the 20,000-foot warehouse. It once sat atop the gates to his famous compound that included an amusement park, zoo and his mansion.
Inside, Logan sees Grammy awards, a fleet of cars, antiques, video games, and some of the clothing he wore on stage. The sequined glove he wore on the Billie Jean Tour, worth an estimated $80,000, is kept in a safe on premises.
Other things may not have obviously high value but were priceless to the star, including the wooden rocking horse given to Jackson by one of his closest friends, Elizabeth Taylor. “To MJ, Love ET,” reads the inscription.
The items will be stored until Jackson’s children come of age and decide what they want to do with them. Meanwhile, the revenue machine that has taken in over $600 million since the entertainer’s death in 2009 -- more than any other single living artist has earned over the period—is predicted to hum along for many years to come.
Sunday evening after the program, 60MinutesOvertime.com, the 60 Minutes web show, will present an even deeper look into the memorabilia few have ever seen since Jackson’s death.