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The new Michael Jackson movie: How Jackson fought for Dr. Conrad Murray

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mjackson-1072_l

mjackson-1072_lFrom this week’s cover:

Though outsiders wondered whether Michael Jackson could pull off the physically grueling task of mounting 50 concerts, Jackson’s collaborators were reassured as they watched some of the world’s best young dancers struggle to match his moves. Still, the pop star did look awfully thin. “I was always handing him Boost drinks and meal-replacement things,” says choreographer Travis Payne. “We all encouraged him to eat as much as he could. But at the same time, I understand: When you eat a lot and then you dance, it hurts. It was all for his art, I think.”

Jackson had insisted on retaining a full-time private physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was paid through the show’s budget to oversee his medical needs. Dr. Murray is now the focus of a manslaughter investigation. “Michael was very confident in the doctor,” Randy Phillips, president of concert promotion firm AEG Live, says. “I actually tried to talk him out of hiring him. I didn’t want to spend $150,000 a month on a doctor, since we were playing in London, which has phenomenal medical resources. It was the first time Michael and I had cross words with each other. He admonished me that he needed a doctor 24/7, the same way Barack Obama did, because his body is what fuels this whole business. Michael prevailed on that. And I guess, looking back, we know why.”

For more on the upcoming Michael Jackson movie, including exclusive photos, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, Oct. 16.

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