Singer Mickey Free, who was once with the group Shalamar, was invited by Diana Ross to dinner to meet Michael Jackson. "So I had dinner with Michael , Diana, and Gene [Simmons, Diana's boyfriend then]. I was freaking out because I always wanted to meet Michael, and he was so nice. So it came time for me to go home. Diana's car had brought me there, and she said, 'Okay, I'll call the driver to come and get you.' Michael very softly said, 'Oh, that's okay, I'll take Mickey home.' "
Diana and Gene were astonished. "Are you sure you want to do this, Michael?" Diana asked, concerned. "I mean, are you sure you can handle it? Driving him home and all?"
"Yeah, I can do it, Diane," Michael said confidently.
Mickey got into Michael's Silver Shadow Rolls-Royce, and the two drove off into the night.
"This was really a big deal for him," Mickey said. "Driving me home and all."
Fifteen minutes later, they arrived at Mickey's apartment, but Michael drove around the block a few times, He finally confessed, "You know what? I can drive this thing, but I don't know how to parallel park it. Can you park this for me?"
"Heck, yeah, I can," Mickey replied.
"I rode around the block ten times trying to find a parking place so people could see me driving Michael Jackson around in this fabulous car," Mickey Free recalled. "Michael was nice. We went up to my apartment, looked at pictures. He stayed about fifteen minutes, and I walked him back to his car. He drove off. Didn't crash into anybody or anything."
Michel began to socialize away from his family. He had met Jane Fonda two years prior and visited her on the set of On Golden Pond in 1980, and stayed with her in a private cabin.
"A lot of people thought that was very strange," said publicist Sarah Holiday. "But Jane just thought that Michael was a fascinating person. She made it clear that if anyone were to ever gossip about her and Michael, that person would be in serious trouble. 'He's too delicate to handle gossip,' she would say. She had been in the business for so long, she said it was nice to talk to someone who seemed unjaded by it all."
"We were all alone there on the water, " Michael said of his night with Jane Fonda, "and we just talked, talked, talked about everything. It was the greatest education for me: she'd learn, and I'd learn, and we'd just play off of each other. We talked about all kinds of things, you name it- politics, philosophy, racism, Vietnam, acting, all kinds of things. It was magic."
Michael was intimidated, at first, by Henry Fonda, but soon the two of them struck up a friendship. The two spent two hours fishing, and talking about theater. "Yes, he's strange," Henry said of Michael. "So what?"
We just sat and talked for a long time," Michael would recall. "He was such a wise man. He gave me a lot of tips about acting, and about stardom. How he handled it, and all."
"Dad was also painfully self-conscious and shy in life. He really only felt comfortable when he was behind the mask of a character. He could liberate himself when he was being someone else. That's a lot like Michael. Michael reminds me of the walking wounded. He's an extremely fragile person. I think that just getting on with life, making contact with people, is hard enough for him, much less having to be worried about whither goes the world."
After Henry Fonda died after a bout from heart disease on August 11,1983, Michael telephoned Jane at her family's home to see if he could come by.
Michael also met Katherine Hepburn on the set of On Golden Pond, but their initial meeting did not go so well. She thought he was odd, and was suspicious of him. She shook his hand and said nice to meet you, and walked away. "She doesn't like me," Michael complained to Jane. "And she's an idol of mine. I hate it when my idols don't like me."
"What is it with him?" Katherine asked someone on the set. "First of all , why is he here? That's what I don't understand. And why does he talk like that, with that whisper? What is he trying to pull?"
"There are a lot of people she doesn't like," Michael said of Hepburn. "She'll tell you right away if she doesn't like you. When I first met her, it was a little shaky because you hear things about her. Jane filled me in. I was kind of scared."
Later that afternoon, Michael sat alone in a corner watching a rehearsal. Katherine Hepburn came from behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.
"You and I are having dinner tonight, young man," she said.
"We are? Michael gasped.
That night, Michael and Katherine had dinner and became great friends. "We call each other on the phone, and she sends me letters. She's just wonderful. I went to her house in New York and she showed me Spencer Tracy's favorite chair and his private things in his closet, his little knickknacks," Michael would recall.
Now that is cool. But can you imagine Michael Jackson and Gene Simmons having dinner, and what would they be discussing? I wish I was there. That just goes to show the interesting people who have encountered Michael in his life.
Thank you J.Randy Taraborrelli, "MICHAEL JACKSON- THE MAGIC AND THE MADNESS"