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Tom Gregory

Tom Gregory

Posted: July 10, 2009 09:36 PM

My Opinion: Michael Jackson's Grave (VIDEO)


Michael Jackson's life has always been a contradiction of outlandish oddity and pinpoint perfection. Now in death, with the unknown location of his body, the enigma continues. It's Hollywood's real life "Where's Waldo," but unless the family is into inflicting undue pain on itself, I am almost certain he is in his final resting place, and I have found its location.

Driving east along Wilshire Boulevard -- just as you drive under the notorious 405 freeway, you enter Westwood Village. Westwood is one of LA's oldest enclaves. It's the enduring home to shops, grand movie theatres, medical buildings, federal offices, and UCLA. During the seventies and eighties -- and especially during the 1984 Olympics, Westwood was the place to go because Hollywood had become too decrepit for any wide-eyed wandering.

Nestled in Westwood Village among the office buildings and condos that line Wilshire Blvd., {Pierce Brothers} Westwood Memorial Park is the end of the road for scores of Hollywood's elite and the well heeled. Located on LA's fashionable west side, directly behind the AVCO movie theatre and an office building, the cemetery, founded in 1904, boasts a roster of stars that -- even in death, any agent would love to represent. Archie Bunker himself Mr. Carroll O'Connor, Dean Martin, Donna Reed, Natalie Wood, Truman Capote, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe are all among those interred at this peaceful, pleasant park. Recently the grand dame of the fighting spirit Farrah Fawcett was interred next to Merv Griffin's final resting place -- bound together for a Los Angeles eternity.

Arguably America's most pricey land at hundreds of thousands of dollars for a "bench estate" to over one million dollars for a "family estate," it's still all virtually free when averaged out over an eternity. Westwood has no dark, Gothic headstones mostly just flush mauve marble memorials of those wealthy ones who have left their mark on the world.

When I first heard of Jackson's death in Los Angeles (officially at UCLA), I thought Westwood Memorial was the only cemetery worthy of the kind of fan traffic and star power he will undoubtedly draw in death. Over the last days, I've been bicycling out to the Westwood cemetery to see if any recent additions have been made to her well-heeled legions of the dead.

Lo and behold between Monday night and Wednesday morning a new grave was opened and closed, and absolutely no one at the place would answer my questions about who is buried there. Look, I could be wrong, but I it all makes sense. Elizabeth Taylor's mother Sara is nearby -- it's public knowledge Taylor will spend eternity herself here one day. The place is small and secure. They've handled Marilyn Monroe's millions of visitors over the decades, security cameras abound and barbed wire contains the manageably sized hallowed grounds.

Even on the chance I'm wrong, in time all will be exposed, even if the family remains secretive on the final resting place. (Roy Orbison and Frank Zappa headstones have never been identified at Westwood). It is certain Jackson's legions of fans will find his plot to visit and pay their respects, Neverland seems too lonely -- too far away, too broken, and potentially too commercial for Michael Jackson's soft, secretive demure life.

Enough of this frenetic death hunt for me. I've done my Jimmy Olsen sleuthing. It's time to put into action the lesson that death teaches all of us and get back to the living while I still have some time.