myfriendMichaelAN ORDI NARY FR IEN DSHIPW I T H AN E XT R AOR DIN ARY M ANF r a nk C a sciowith Hilary LiftinMyFriend i-viii 1-328.indd 39/15/11 3:15 PM
When my father,Dominic Cascio,and Michael firstmet, my fatherwas working at theHelmsley PalaceHotel in New YorkCity.This shot of Michael and myfather was taken at the HelmsleyPalace shortly after Michael’sinfamous commercial shoot forPepsi, during which he sufferedsecond-degree burns. (That’swhy he has a bandage on hishead.)
This photo of Michael and me was taken during my first visit with him at the Helmsley Palace in 1984.Emmanuel Lewis was also at the Palace when I firstmet Michael.Emmanuel Lewis, my father, and me (with my toylimousine in hand).
Saying good-bye to Michael at the end of that first visit.This picture is veryspecial to me. It isthe first picture Ipersonally took ofMichael, which iswhy I chose it forthe cover of thisbook.
One of our early visits to see Michael at the Helmsley Palace. This time my fatherbrought me and my brother Eddie, who’s sitting on my father’s lap, as well as mymother, Connie, who’s seated on the far right.During the time when my father worked at the Helmsley Palace, he also openedup a restaurant with his brother Aldo. This picture was taken at the restaurant,Aldo’s, in Wyckoff, New Jersey. From left to right: my father, Dominic; Bonnie;Michael’s former manager Bill Bray; and Frank DiLeo.
After I first met Michael at theHelmsley Palace, he began todrop by our house in Hawthorne,New Jersey, in the middle of thenight. No one in my family knewwhen he was coming, which iswhy my brother Eddie (left) andI usually had our pj’s on.Another one of Michael’s late night visits to our house in Hawthorne. From left toright: my mother, Connie; me; Michael; Eddie, my brother Dominic; and my father,Dominic.
Michael was not the only member of the Jackson family with whom my father cameinto contact at the Helmsley Palace. In this photo he’s with Tito (left), Jackie(center), and Marlon (right).Periodically Michael and members of his family would stop by Aldo’s for a bite in theprivate upstairs dining area where this photo was taken. From left to right: my father,Dominic; Latoya Jackson, Rene Elizondo; Janet Jackson; Jack Gordon; and my mother,Connie.
At the Helmsley Palace after a New Yorkconcert during the Bad tour. That night, wegave Michael the POP watch that we are allwearing on our shirts. From left to right: me,Eddie, Michael, and my cousin Danielle.Michael visiting myfather at Brioniclothing storein New York.Eddie and me with WhoopiGoldberg waiting to watchMichael perform inNew York.
Backstage before a concert on the Bad tour in New York/New Jersey. From left toright: my “Aunt Roro” (as Michael called her); my mother, Connie; Michael; ourfamily friend Christine; my father, Dominic; me; and Eddie.My father and Michael with Sophia Loren backstage during a concert on the Bad tour.
From the start my father made a strong impression on Michael. He would tell me,“You have such a wonderful father.” People are always comfortable around my father,and once Michael realized that he was no exception, their friendship was born.Me (left), Eddie (right), and Michael backstage on the Dangerous tour in Londonin 1992. Even Michael liked to help support our family restaurant by wearing “Ilove Aldo’s” T-shirts.
I traveled all over the world with Michael, but no place we visited was as special or as magicalas Neverland. This sign greets you when you get past the first set of gates at Neverland.Michael often hosted families at Neverland so that others could enjoy the rides and theanimals in the zoo.
Michael’s Sea Dragon ride at Neverland, the site of many candy wars.Michael’s Bentley parked in the back of his house. To the right was Michael’s office(with Peter Pan outside the window).
The Sky Gazebo at Neverland. We used to have breakfast and lunch up there, andat night we would go up to look at the stars. There were binoculars built into theground that you could use to view the stars and the property. The vista from upthere was absolutely amazing, especially at night when the Neverland lights were on.Words cannot describe how beautiful Neverland was at night.Neverland landscaping at its finest. Thesebushes shaped like giraffes were behindthe pool.My golf cart at Neverland, which Idesigned while on the Dangerous tour.My golf cart was the fastest one on theproperty, and it had a built-in CD playerand speakers.
The bridge you crossed on the approach to the main house. We all Jet Skied in the laketo the right of the bridge.Michael spent years perfecting Neverland, paying attention to every detail. He wouldwalk the grounds and point out flaws or things he wanted changed. He was asmeticulous about that ranch as he was about his music. Everything had to be perfect.
This sign was in front of the trainstation on the road to the amusementpark, the zoo, and the movie theater.The main entrance to Michael’s house.When guests arrived, the Neverland staffwould line up along the stairs to greet them.My brother Aldo andmy sister, Marie Nicole,playing with Michael’sorangutan Brandy atthe Neverland Zoo.Marie Nicole on theNeverland Valley Trainheading to the theater/amusement park.
Inside the main train station at Neverland. The station was always filled with candyand fresh pastries.Backstage with Michael on the Dangerous tour. From left to right: my father,Dominic; Eddie; Michael; and me.
On the Dangerous tour in Tel-Aviv, Israel, with my brother Eddie (left), Michael, andBill Bray (behind me). My father is in the background on the left.One of Michael’s idols was Bruce Lee, and Michael was definitely responsible for getting me into him—so much so that I dressed as Bruce Lee for Halloween one year inNew Jersey. Michael went trick-or-treating with us disguised as a doctor. Also pictured:my brother Dominic; Marie Nicole; and Eddie.
Michael inour hotelroom duringa trip wetook to EuroDisney.When Michael performed “Billie Jean,” his transformation was awe inspiring. Part ofthe brilliance of the performance was that it somehow seemed simple and effortless.But behind the simplicity, I could see Michael’s deep understanding of compositionand storytelling.
My sister, Marie Nicole; Michael; and my brother Dominic in a hotel in Rio deJaneiro, Brazil. In this shot, he was teaching them a card game, after a long day ofshooting his “short film” for “They Don’t Care About Us.”Michael performing “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Listening to music with Michael at my parents’ house in Franklin Lakes,New Jersey.Michael had an incredibly silly side tohim and we were always playing jokeson each other, which is why I am givinghim rabbit ears in this photo. We werebackstage before Michael performed aspecial concert for the Sultan of Brunei.From left to right: Eddie, Michael,Dominic, and me.My mother, Connie, with Michael backstagebefore a concert on the HIStory tour.
I took this picture while Michael was on the phone at the Four Seasons Hotel, and itclearly shows the vitiligo on his arms.Aldo, Marie Nicole, and Dominic with Michael in Brazil.
Marie Nicole and Aldo sleeping on Michael’s lap in São Paulo, Brazil, during thevideo shoot for “They Don’t Care About Us.”My grandmotherNicoletta Sottoliwith Michael at myparents’ house inFranklin Lakes, NewJersey. Michael lovedmy grandmother,and she loved him.He even went on todedicate an awardto her.
My family traveledextensively with Michaelon the HIStory tour. Itdidn’t matter where wewere; the show was alwaysamazing. The fans lovedMichael, and the feelingwas mutual.
Marie Nicole, Dominic, Michael, and Aldo sleeping in the back of the car on the wayto our hotel while on the HIStory tour.A candid shot that myfather took from the sideof the stage while Michaelwas performing “Beat It”on the HIStory tour.
Aldo, Dominic, and Marie Nicole backstage with Michael before a concert on theHIStory tour.Michael would often go out in public, but never as himself. He always wore a disguise.One of his common ones was a turban-style headpiece that covered his face, like in thispicture with my siblings and me at Disney World in Florida.
Getting off the Spider-Man ride at Disney World in Florida. From left to right: Dr.Alex Farshchian; Spider-Man; Joseph Farshchian (Dr. Farshchian’s son); Michael; hisson Prince and his daughter, Paris (in Spider-Man masks); and me.“The Sleeping Prince,” a six-foot paintingthat Michael commissioned, withmy brother Eddie (left) and me (right)as royal guards protecting Prince as hesleeps in his throne.Prince and Paris holding my dog, Gucci,and sitting by the fireplace at my parents’home in Franklin Lakes.
Michael performing “Smooth Criminal.”Michael and Marc Schaffel, the producer of “What More Can I Give,” in the recordingstudio in Florida.
Michael was obsessive about every aspectof the recording process, paying attentionto every detail of the song and frequentlyasking producers to start over fromscratch when he wasn’t happy with whathe was hearing. It could be aggravating,but it was also brilliant.Michael in the studio during the videoshoot for “What More Can I Give.”Michael’s playfulnesswasn’t reserved formembers of my family.He liked to joke aroundwith a lot of people andhad the ability to makegrown men act likekids, which explainswhy Marc Schaffel isgiving Michael rabbitears in this photo.
Me, Dieter Wiesner, and Michael at Neverland during a fund-raiser honoring theBrazilian artist Romero Britto, which was also Michael’s forty-fifth birthday celebration.Michael was quoted saying, “It was the greatest party ever thrown at Neverland.”Romero Britto’s birthday present to Michael.
Michael’s birthday cake.Michael started a food fightearlier in the evening . . . . . but he was the one who ended upwith cake all over him.Aaron Carter and Michael after thecake fight.
Michael with Rodney Jerkins, the world-renowned music producer who worked withhim on Invincible, at Neverland.Michael, Chris Tucker, Aaron Carter, and Nick Carter at Neverland.
Mike Tyson and Michael at Neverland.My family remained close with Michael up until the end of his life, and each of us feelshis loss every day. This photo was taken at the Four Seasons Hotel at one of Michael’sbirthday celebrations. Back row, from left to right: Michael, me, my father, Dominic,Eddie. Front row, from left to right: Aldo, Prince, Paris, and Marie Nicole.
There will never be anyone like him. Ever.
Hotel in New York City. This shot of Michael and my . Michael had an incredibly silly side to him and we were always playing jokes on each other, which is why I am giving him rabbit ears in this photo. We were . as royal guards protecting Prince as he sleeps in his throne.