from happy cows. happy cows come from california. look for dairy brands with the real california seals. kathy: ♪ choose kathy, yeah. tonight on "nightline," live from neverland. a special broadcast from the former home of michael jackson. the place that became the center of so much fascination and so much controversy. plus, new video emerges showing michael jackson performing on stage for the last time, less than 48 hours before his death. what can the footage tell us about his last days? and from co-star to confidant, how the first lady of motown became the role model, mother figure an muse for the king of pop. a special edition of "nightline," live from neverland
starts right now. captions paid for by abc, inc. good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden reporting tonight from inside the famed neverland ranch in southern california. we begin with breaking news about the children and estate that pop star michael jackson has left behind. abc news has learned exactly how jackson's trust will be divided. his mother katherine will get 40% of the assets. his three children another 40%. and the remaining 20% will go toward charity. meanwhile, deborah rowe, jackson's former wife and mother of two of the children said she hasn't decided if she'll fight for custody of the children who for now remain in the care of their grandmother. it was a few years ago that jackson and his family called this place home -- neverland.
a place that lies vacant but holes so many were does -- but holds so many memories for better or worse. as fans and media gathered outside the gates of neverland today, we were escorted inside for a rare glimpse of a place created by a man with the imagination of a child and a checkbook of a superstar. these are scenes from happier time here at neverland obtained exclusively by abc news. >> the king of pop, michael jackson, is home with his oldest son prince and daughter paris. ♪
before the trial and before he divorced the children's mother, this is michael jackson, the father. >> daddy, thank you for my birthday cake and i love you so much. i love my daddy so much. you're the best daddy in the whole world. >> i love you more. >> daddy, can i -- >> why don't you stand next to paris. >> daddy? >> yes? >> i have -- thank you for giving me ice cream. you're the best dad in the whole world and i love you. >> oh, that's sweet. ♪ >> neverland was supposed to be a place like that place in fiction where children never grew up. i arrived earlier at neverland by helicopter, with the beat of "billie jean" in my head. excellent landing, bravo.
>> this is the training station -- >> i heard it's an actual replica from disneyland. >> yeah. >> my guide, former investigator for michael jackson from his trial jesus castillo. >> whether michael was here or not, kids came from all over. every school, i think during the whole time period, you couldn't find anybody who wasn't out here. >> really? >> yeah. >> jackson paid $19.5 million for the ranch in 1987 and renamed it neverland. reportedly among the amenities he added it took a staff of 160 people to maintain and $10 million a year. it had ferris wheel, a carousel and dozens of animals in the zoo. it was a place where sick children came to have fun and a place for famous weddings. michael jackson was always fond of the hollywood icons and he and elizabeth taylor became
close friends. in fact, he host her wedding to larry fortensky. and the gift that elizabeth gave michael many years ago -- an ice cream truck. what was neverland to michael jackson, do you think? >> i think it was the dream of an ideal childhood. real in terms of the physical. rapture of it. and imagine -- you know, in terms of fantasy figures. the animals. the carnival rides. it's a child's storybook, lying in bed at night just fantasiz g fantasizifantasizing vision of what you'd like to be living. >> i mean, there's nothing that you can think of that isn't here. >> the tree house. >> where peter pan can steer the ship. the real-life peter pan michael jackson identified closely with children, especially child stars. both cory feldman and macaulay
culkin visited neverland. in the documentary, he spoke about culkin's visits. >> i sleep in the bed with all the children. and when macaulay culkin was little, the sisters were in there and we were jamming the bed and we'd wake up like dawn and go in the higher balloons. >> inside the mansion we saw the ari kitchen, breathtaking views and now, an empty living room. at one time, a castle used to sit in the middle. a lot was made about this room too because it's a very soundproof room with heavy padding on the floor. it was actually michael jackson's music room, a place he liked to store his cassettes. look at this. and a place that he said he liked to make music. over here, prince michael's bedroom and down the hall, paris'. it's really up here that's interesting. come around and through the
bathroom. there is a back staircase. and up these stairs is a little schoolhouse. come on up. michael jackson's children were home schooled and so i'm sure this room was put to good use. of all the room inside the house, the one most controversial -- michael jackson's bedroom. now we're in the master bedroom suite. follow me along. there's a study in here. and down here, the master bedroom. there's been so much controversy about what happened in this room, of course. >> and here, the much talked about secret closet. >> this closet has held such mystery over the years. a cedar closet and this -- this is a secret door. now, of course, there'd be clothes in front of it and it got a rep tuition that michael -- reputation that michael jackson stored stuff he doesn't want to see. whatever mysteries it held are no longer there. this bedroom became the
epicenter of the controversy that encompassed jackson and neverland. in 2003 he was accused of molesting a child there and later acquitted. after authorities came to the grounds of neverland, the place jackson once called home was forever tainted. >> i mean, at first neverland seemed like the most gorgeous and charming place. then it became this kind of haunted mansion that he never left. and seemed to be luring, you know, children into. everything became a kind of -- took on a slightly nightmarish quality to the outside world. >> after his criminal trial, jackson moved out of neverland and talked about it on "60 minutes". >> i have been back there, but not in my bedroom. i won't live there ever again. i'll visit neverland, it's a house, but not a home anymore. >> but despite the controversy neverland will always be known as the birth place of some of
michael jackson's biggest hits. ♪ ♪ it don't matter if you're black or white ♪ >> the documentary "living with michael jackson" he talks about the tree he called the giving tree. >> i just love it. so many ideas, i have written so many of my songs in this tree. i wrote "heal the world" in this tree. "will you be there". "black or white". >> and in so many ways neverland holds a mirror up to the man who created it, filled with joy and sprinkled with controversy. the future of neverland is unclear. some would like to see it become a tourist attraction celebrating his legacy. but the company that controls the property has already received a bid of $100 million for it. only time will tell. when we come back, brand new video of the king of pop on stage for the last time that may provide clues into his mysterious final days.
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michael jackson's this is it tour sold out in mere minutes. 50 shows starting this month in london. the artist vowed it would be his final tour, but the people working on the show insists he was eager to perform and today, they released a video to prove it. chris connelly reports. ♪ >> at least for the moment, this is the last footage of michael jackson's performing on stage. ♪ "they don't care about us" taken from a rehearsal of his this is
it tour taken two days before he died. in the clip, jackson looks thin but engaged as he moves slow-mo with his backup dancers. interacts with the guitarists. serves up some -- that recalls janet jackson's rhythm nation and then busts an old school move or two, while singing. ♪ for a freeze finish. >> gives you goose bumps. >> for randy phillips this is hit director kenny ortega, michael jackson's performance in this number proves that the 50-year-old was both eager and fully capable of performing. what do you think that tape shows? >> well, it shows his commitment and his capability, you know? he was there. michael was there. present. within his body, you know? his heart was into it.
there was a lot of creative jousting, you know, and wonder, you know? and you know, you weren't always 100% certain with michael. michael had his own process, but at the end of the day no one wanted it more. you see that. >> we're the four guys who spent the most time with him in the last four months of his life and fighting and loving and hugging. so we felt compelled to come on an set the record straight. >> he wanted these shows, you know? we sit and watch past shows and you could feel him remembering and reminiscing and seeing the audience and hearing them and he wanted this. >> to be sure, it is not a moonwalking michael on view. but the clip does seem to show a veteran performer in the process of preparation. now he's a 50-year-old man, he can't necessarily do the same things he could -- >> yeah, but he's also a smart man. he knew how to adjust things for himself. >> michael said i'm going to conserve my voice here.
some things we'd throw at him, and he couldn't help himself. he wanted to sing it. he would sing full out more than we wanted him to actually. but he was building his voice back, and it was absolutely there. ♪ >> randy was 50 shows too many for michael expected to do? >> first of all, we're talking about 50 shows in one city, no travel, living in a beautiful state outside of london. he was going to average two and a quarter shows a week. >> he wanted to make sure that they were responsibly spread out. that he had the time to recover and to come back because he expelled so much physical and emotional energy. >> earlier says phillips, jackson's physical condition had been vetted by a doctor hired by the company that was insuring the shows. >> we were never privy to the
actual medical report other than the broker who got the insurance for us told us that other than a little hayfever he had a clean bill of health. >> phillips said his company resisted hiring jackson's doctor, conrad murray, preferring to use a doctor in london where the shows would take place. >> it had nothing to do with murray. it had to do with taking the doctor out of his practice for $150,000 a month, and paying per diem and travel and michael said, look, this is the machine that fuels this entire business, okay? i needed a doctor 24/7. he's my doctor. okay. i'm comfortable with him, he's an incredible guy. he makes me feel good about myself. i want this doctor. okay. i'm doing everything you want me to do. i want this doctor. chris, at that point, i said, you've got the doctor. >> the elaborate stage once set up at staples center is now gone, but randy phillips can still picture it.
>> the stage went back where the chairs are and went back and stretched across the entire width of the arena. then we had a massive high-definition video wall that covered the whole back of the arena. >> did you ever feel like you missed any signs? did you see any signs of needle marks or drug use or anything like that from michael jackson? >> the only -- my biggest concern with michael is he wouldn't eat. you know? i actually assigned someone to remind him to eat, but no, at least when he was with me, okay, maybe it was -- he was putting on his best -- i was the investor and his partner and stuff like that. but no, he was -- his acuity was fine. he had great ideas, he was engaged. >> sluggish, none of that kind of behavior, that we have seen over and over? >> no, believe me i know about drug use and things. >> and performers, absolutely, yes. >> no, i would never have stepped into this if i thought michael was hooked on pain killers. all the things you're hearing about. now, when the toxicology report
comes back and we see what he died of and all that, you know, who knows? you know, maybe we all missed the signs. >> all four say their memories of working with jackson on the show are indelible. and that they will treasure those memories forever. >> he -- he said to me, he was looking up at the stage, standing at my side watching the cast rehearse. he said, you know, we have accomplished the dream. >> hold for applause. hold for applause. slow, umbrella, fade out. >> i'm chris connelly for "nightline" in los angeles. >> chris connelly reporting. when we come back, inside the powerful friendship between the king of pop and the first lady of motown. (announcer) for many with arthritis pain, not treating is not n option. all prescription nsaid pain relievers,, like c cebrex, ibuprofen and naproxen, help treat arthritis pain
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legend, die -- diana ross. the pop star named her to care for his three children if katherine jackson was unable to do so. how did this relationship became so strong? well, it began when he was just a boy. ♪ diana ross, the supreme first lady of motown, singing here at the world music awards. ♪ >> good evening, call me. >> she's not spoken publicly since michael jackson's sudden death, but with the release of the will on wednesday, diana ross is back in the spotlight. if jackson's 79-year-old mother can't care for his three children, jackson wanted that job to go to the legendary 65-year-old singer. unexpected for sure, but considering their life-long friendship, maybe not all that surprising. >> raising his children was the most important role that michael believed he had. and to put down that diana ross
was -- would replace his mom, you can't have any greater honor. >> the two first met 40 years ago when jackson was just 10 years old. she, 24, at the top of her game. he the breakout star of the jackson 5. and in 1971, when michael embarked on a solo career, he made his debut on ross' tv special. ♪ >> jackson even showed off his budding acting skills with ross in this comedic sketch. >> darling, there you are. >> here i am. >> you couldn't possibly mean what you say. >> i do. since i'm leaving you, i thought you should be the first to know. >> in 1978 they would star together in an urban take on the wiz ard of oz, she dorothy, he the scarecrow. ♪
♪ ease on down the road ♪ don't care you about nothing, ease on down, down the road ♪ >> in ross, he had a mentor and role model. jackson even went to live with ross at one time. and more. >> in a way she was his show business mother, and she seemed to have a real soft spot in her heart for him. >> great talent wasn't all that jackson and ross shared. michael many believed wanted to look like her, be like her, sound like her. ♪ michael jackson was growing up before the world's eyes. and although you can see his shy demeanor in this 1981 diana ross tv special -- >> what i didn't know is that you were going to get so sexy. [ cheers and applause ] >> you're embarrassing me.
>> he became a different person when he performed. ♪ eventually, michael jackson began to look like a different person as well. a series of plastic surgeries transformed his face. some say he was trying to look like his idol, diana ross. >> whether that was purposeful on his part has never really been explained by michael jackson when he was alive or anybody close to him, but certainly the parallel in their appearance was marked. >> ross had her own demon, getting charged with dui by arizona police. but throughout the many ups and downs of the historic lives and careers, the two friends could lean on each other, support each other and stand by each other. ♪ ♪ it's true we'll make a better day just you and me ♪ >> diana ross has yet to speak