Making Sense Of Questions Around Michael Jackson
GUY RAZ, host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
In the two days since the death of Michael Jackson, as many questions as tributes to the king of pop have emerged, questions about his kids, his estate, his debts, his doctor, and how exactly he died? The Reverend Jesse Jackson met with the family today, and he told reporters they wanted a second independent autopsy.
In a few minutes, we'll dive into Michael Jackson's musical legacy here and across the globe.
First though, to Linda Deutsch, she's a special correspondent with the Associated Press, and she's been covering the Los Angeles courts and Michael Jackson for four decades. We start with the reports that Jackson was deep in debt when he died.
Ms. LINDA DEUTSCH (Special Correspondent, Associated Press): His finances were always kind of a closely guarded secret. We do know that he was millions of dollars in debt; that the great Beatles catalog, which he owned, which had produced a great deal of income, was in danger. He might have lost it. But he kept being bailed out by various hedge funds and advisers. And what was going to really salvage his empire was this tour, this "This Is It" tour. It was going to produce a huge amount of money.
RAZ: And I understand that just in the past few days the value of his estate has already gone up; Amazon has sold out of many of his recordings, for example.
Ms. DEUTSCH: Right. It's been a boom; a bonanza of sales of Michael Jackson records, of Michael Jackson memorabilia, anything people can get their hands on. Now there's a hint today that there may be a film of some kind which would be based on the videotapes of the rehearsals for the "This Is It" concert. It's like people look back and they say that Elvis was a richer man in death than he was in life, and Michael Jackson may be the same story.
RAZ: Michael Jackson, of course, had three children; one of them with a surrogate mother. What happens to those kids?
Ms. DEUTSCH: Well, right now the three children are with their grandmother Katherine, Michael's mother. And the family apparently wants them to stay there. There is a mother of these two children, Debbie Rowe who had, at one point, relinquished all parental rights to them, but that was overturned in court and so she does have the option. The thing is that she would have to provide a lifestyle for these children that they have been used to, and that was a very expensive lifestyle. I mean they traveled the world with Michael. They had tutors that were full time. They never went to an actual school. They are quite remarkable children from what I hear. They speak three and four languages. They are very well mannered. They've been taught manners. They're also said to be extremely sweet and nice kids to be around.
RAZ: Linda Deutsch is a special correspondent with the Associated Press in Los Angeles. Thanks for talking with us.
Ms. DEUTSCH: Thank you.