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Film columnist recalls Michael Jackson visit to Elstree Studios
FILM columnist Paul Welsh today recalled a visit in the Eighties to Elstree Studios by king of pop Michael Jackson, who died yesterday.
Jackson was rushed to hospital from his home in Los Angeles while paramedics tried to restart his heart after a suspected cardiac arrest.
He was scheduled to perform 50 sold-out concerts to over one million people, at London's O2 arena, starting July 13.
Michael Jackson came to the Shenley Road site in Borehamwood to see his friend US director Steven Spielberg in 1988.
Mr Welsh, columnist for the Borehamwood & Elstree Times, said: "He was here to see the filming of Indiana Jones as he was good friends with Steven.
"I'm not sure why he was in the UK but it was probably for some concert dates.
"I was invited by the studios managing director Andrew Mitchell to have the opportunity to meet Michael but I didn't go, which I suppose I regret a little now.
"I remember there was a lot going on when he was here and there were a number of cars with blacked out windows and staff around the studios.
"His death is different to say the death of Frank Sinatra who died an elderly man in his eighties.
"It is like the loss of Elvis Presley, who died at only 42, but different in that Elvis towards the end of his life was unhealthy and his death was in a way expected.
"Both Elvis and Michael Jackson died in what is considered the prime years of your life and this has obviously made a greater impact."
Husband and wife team Liz and Chris Clark run a company called Scenic Art Partnership at Elstree Studios.
They decorated a 35-feet high glass fibre statue in 1995 to promote Michael Jackson's album HIStory.
The statue was moored near Tower Bridge in London after being towed along the Thames river.
Mrs Clark said: "The statue was sculptured and built by someone else but we got to decorate it.
"As it was so high it had to stand on the backlot of the studios. We were there for the launch and although we didn't get to meet Michael it was a great privilege to do this for him."
Mr and Mrs Clark have worked as scenic artists for Robbie Williams in 2003 and the Rolling Stones in 2005.
Mrs Clark added: "I was devastated myself to hear of Michael's death.
"I heard a rumour when he visited the set at Elstree Studios Elizabeth Taylor was with him. It's very sad for many people to lose him."
Do you remember Michael Jackson's visit to Elstree Studios in Borehamwood in 1988?
Leave a comment below or a tribute for him.
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