LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Late pop star Michael Jackson was immortalized in cement on Thursday when his three children stamped the “Thriller” singer’s glove and shoe prints in the hallowed concrete courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
Well over a hundred fans of the King of Pop and celebrities including Justin Bieber and Jackson family members watched the song and dance spectacle and listened to the three children talk about the legacy of their father.
“My dad won the lifetime achievement award. It was an award he strived and worked the hardest to get but for me, and I think for him as well, this right here is his lifetime achievement award. This is what he strived to get and this is what we are giving him now today,” said Prince Michael, 14, Jackson’s eldest son.
Jackson’s daughter Paris, 13, imprinted her father’s iconic silver sequined glove and scrawled his name into the cement, adding a heart in between Michael and Jackson. Prince Michael and his brother Blanket, 9, put their father’s shoe into the cement, and all three left their own handprints next to dad’s.
The hour-long ceremony included spoken tributes and musical performances from Jackson’s friends and family, including his brothers Tito and Jackie, who were part of the Jackson 5, and mother Katherine who called the event “a very very solemn occasion for my son.”
“Michael, we miss you, that’s for sure. There’s hardly a day that goes by without him going on in my mind somehow, some way, and I know he is here today with us,” said Tito Jackson.
Musical producer Quincy Jones, who worked with Jackson on one his most successful album, “Thriller,” Motown singer Smokey Robinson and comedian Chris Tucker, a friend of Jackson’s, shared their personal memories of Jackson while Canadian pop sensation Bieber called him “an inspiration.”
“People are going to remember him for his dancing and his singing, but people need to remember him for who he was,” said Bieber.
“Everything I do, I look at Michael and I want to be as good as he was,” said Bieber, 17, whose rise to fame was compared to the late singer by Paris as she introduced him.
Jackson gained success with songs such as “ABC” and “I’ll Be There” as a child singer with his brothers, and later pursued a solo career that earned him worldwide fame and fans with hits such as “Rock With You,” “Bad,” and “Beat It.”
His sudden death from a drug overdose in 2009 aged 50, sent shockwaves around the world. Late last year, Jackson’s doctor at the time was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering a surgical anesthetic to Jackson as a sleep aid.
Jackson’s glove and shoe imprints will be placed alongside Hollywood screen legends such as Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Sidney Poitier outside the iconic Hollywood theater that has been a tourist attraction for decades.
Notably absent from the ceremony were Jackson’s sisters Janet and LaToya as well as brothers Jermaine and Randy.
The event, hosted by the late singer’s estate, showcased dancers from Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson tribute show and featured “Glee” cast member Harry Shum, Jr. ahead of the show’s Jackson tribute episode next week.
Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte