07.07.09 ---- After a very unexpected passing, the memorial of Michael Jackson will take place at the Staples Center on Tuesday. The event will be a star-studded affair, with singers Mariah Carey, Usher and Stevie Wonder among the participants, according to an announcement released on behalf of the Jackson family.
Also participating in the event will be basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson, and singers Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Smokey Robinson.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III will be among others taking part.
Ken Ehrlich, known for producing the Grammy Awards, is producing the memorial show. Kenny Ortega, who was to have co-directed Jackson's series of concerts in London, England, this summer, will direct it.
Mayer posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon saying "I'm going not to 'perform' but to contribute."
"I'm honored to have been asked to play at MJ's memorial service. I will be representing all of us who can't be there," Mayer tweeted. "Going to say goodbye from all us kids."
While most have chosen to celebrate the memory of Michael, not everyone is onboard with public memorials. One notable who won't be attending: longtime Jackson friend Elizabeth Taylor, who put out a message on Twitter that she "cannot be part of the public whoopla."
"I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others," Taylor tweeted. "How I feel is between us. Not a public event."
"I love him too much," she added, "and I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word."
To no surprise Debbie Rowe, Jackson's former wife and the mother of his two oldest children, will not attend the memorial service either, her lawyer Marta Almli said Monday.
"Although Debbie had originally planned to attend tomorrow's Staples Center memorial service, we have concluded with Debbie that she will not be attending," a statement from Almli said. "The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael's legacy. Debbie will continue to celebrate Michael's memory privately."
Fans without tickets to the memorial are being asked to stay away from downtown Los Angeles and watch the service on television.
The family decided to provide a free live video feed to networks so it would be televised everywhere. "Everything about the memorial has to do with accommodating as many fans as possible," Ken Sunshine, the Jackson family spokesman, said.
While Jackson's family remains tight-lipped about the singer's burial arrangements, sources have revealed that the family will hold a private gathering at the Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles Tuesday morning ahead of the public service. The California Highway Patrol will escort their motorcade, the sources said.
The gathering is scheduled for 8 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) -- two hours before the service at the Staples Center arena.
Today, fans chosen by random lottery for Jackson's memorial began arriving at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to pick up their tickets.
So far only one person has tried to pass off a photocopied voucher; he was ejected, Los Angeles Police Capt. Bill Murphy revealed.
The 8,750 fans have until 6 p.m. PT to claim their tickets.
Each winner gets two tickets, bringing the number awarded in the lottery to 17,500.
Just 11,000 of those are for seats inside the Staples Center. The other 6,500 would be for viewing the memorial telecast at the adjacent Nokia Theater. AEG Live, the promoter of Michael Jackson's London shows, owns and operates both venues.
Fans who don't have tickets will be able to watch the service live in high-definition in as many as 80 movie theaters in as many as 31 states.
Among those confirmed to show the service were cinemas in about 20 states, including venues in Atlanta; Las Vegas; Topeka, Kan.; Mobile, Ala.; Pensacola, Fla.; Lansing, Mich.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Utica, N.Y.
Locations and details will be updated on the company’s Web site, http://www.cinedigm.com .
Admission will be free based on space availability.