Michael Jackson and Jane Fonda

[EXPAND Filming of On Golden Pond, Michael! by Mark Bego (summer 1980) ]

On page 92, Mark is talking about a song he liked off of LaToya’s album:

In 1981, Polydor released LaToya’s second album “My Special Love.” The hit exotic dance number “Stay The Night” received the most attention (as a single it reached Number Thirty-one). I feel that the song “Camp Kuchi Kaiai” was less predictable, and more fun in feeling. When I interviewed LaToya in New York City in July of that year. I commented how I liked that “Camp” song with the funny title. LaToya laughed, and explained, “Camp Kuchi Kaiai!” … it’s a camp that takes place in the movie that Katherine Hepburn did with Henry Fonda.”

You mean “On Golden Pond,” I said of the film which had yet to be released. “Did you go to that camp?” I asked.”Actually,” she continued, “Michael went on the set for a month; he and Jane together, and they stayed in a cabin, and watched Katherine and Henry shoot… the entire month. So, he came back from the camp with all these tee-shirts, “Camp Kuchi Kaiai.” I asked him, “What is it?” and he said it’s a little thing that takes place in the movie, Camp Kuchi Kaiai, and so I used the title in the song.”

(skipping to page 97)

Michael also met Jane Fonda. She was at a Hollywood party, and while she was filming “On Golden Pond” with Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn in New Hampshire, she invited him along to the set. “When I was on the “Golden Pond” set,” Michael recalls, “I stayed with Jane in the cabin, and we were all alone there on the water and we’d just talk, talk, talk 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, philosophers, racism, Vietnam, acting, all kinds of things. It was magic. She wants to do so many projects with me. She saw The Wiz about six times and said there’s so much for me to do. I feel the same way.”

Lyrics to the song:

I came along one rainy day and you were there
Ignoring you, my spirits down but I did not care
With open arms you welcomed me but I did not see
You tried to make me see the love you had for me

I didn’t want to make you know
Fearing so because of me
You’re gonna let me know
Feeling so Camp Kuchi Kaiai, Kaiai
Camp Kuchi Kaiai
Take me to the sky
Love has got me high
Time to share,
Feeling for you and how it grows so strong
You told me things I did not dot or even know
We played, we laughed, we loved
We shared secrets of our lives

And didn’t know why oh why
Feeling high, feeling for you
I wanna know why oh why
Camp Kuchi Kaiai

It’s lovely love between us
Sharing what we have as one
Lovers sometimes do get weary
But our love shines bright as the sun

I wanna know why oh why
I’m feeling high
Camp Kuchi Kaiai
I wanna know why oh why
I’m feeling high
Camp Kuchi Kaiai
[Add lib] [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Michael befriended Katherine Hepburn through Jane Fonda, Evening Independant, 28 August, 1981 ]

If you’re wondering how come Katherine Hepburn not only attended the rehearsal of the Jackson’s Madison Square Garden gig, but returned the next night for the actual concert, I can give you the answer.

Michael Jackson somehow became very friendly with Jane Fonda. Last fall, while she was in New Hampshire making the movie On Golden Pond, with her father Henry Fonda, and Hepburn, she invited young Jackson to visit. Henry and Shirlee Fonda and Kate, too, grew very fond of Michael.

Kate, obviously, held him in high regard, because all this summer, since she has been on hiatus from her play Westside Waltz (which opens soon on Brodway), she’s often had Michael over to her New York townhouse, where, I’m told they discussed theatre and motion pictures together. And they have become great friends.

So, when Michael invited her to the Jackson Brothers rehearsal the night before they opened in Madison Square Garden, she accepted.

After the rehearsal, when Michael asked his friend Hepburn if she would please come back again the next night for the actual performance, she said, “Yes, I’ll come, BUT if the sound is as loud as it was tonight, I won’t stay.”

Maybe it was because her bevy of Connecticut nieces and nephews, who came with her to the concert, refused to leave, or maybe she wore ear plugs, but stay to the end of the show she did! [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Ola Ray on Jane passing Michael a message and a kiss, Thriller shoot, 1983 ]

I met Jane Fonda at the studio while getting my makeup done and she asked me to take him a note and give him a kiss and a hug. When I told Michael about the kiss he said, ‘Well…!?’ [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Ola Ray on asking Jane for advice with Michael, Vanity Fair 2010 ]

Griffin reports that Ray got romantic advice from Jane Fonda, who was shooting a workout video in the same studio where Ray got her make up done each day. Ray tells Griffin that “Miss Fonda said, ‘Be yourself-just be sweet and talk to him about things he might be interested in or like to do. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness, so you should talk to him about religion. Maybe he will want you to go to church with him one day.’?” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda compares Michael to Peter Pan, 5th March 1984 ]

It was Jane Fonda who originally connected Michael with “Peter Pan.” When Michael visited Jane on the set of “On Golden Pond,” Michael became very friendly with Henry Fonda. Jane noticed, and says, “Dad was also painfully self conscious and shy in life, and he really only felt comfortable when he was behind the mask of a character. He could liberate himself only when he was being someone else. That’s a lot like Michael.

“In some ways 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, much less to be worried about whither goest the world.

“I remember driving with him one day, and I said, ‘God, Michael, I wish I could find a movie I could produce for you.’ And suddenly I knew. I said, ‘I know what you’ve got to do. It’s “Peter Pan.'”

“Tears welled up in his eyes and he said, ‘Why did you say that?’ with this ferocity. I said, ‘I realize you’re Peter Pan.’ And he started to cry and said, ‘You know, all over the walls of my room are pictures of Peter Pan. I’ve read everything that Barrie wrote. I totally identify with Peter Pan, the lost boy of Never-Neverland.’

“Oh, I can see him leading lost children into a world of fantasy and magic. From Gary, straight on to Barrie!” Fonda exclaims. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda talks about skinny dipping with Michael, Kansas City Star, Apr 22, 2005 ]

“That she was the only person in the world who went skinny dipping with both Michael Jackson and Marlene Dietrich,” Brown says. “It was during the filming of `On Golden Pond.'” Michael called her and said, “Can I come up and watch the filming?” So he came up and stayed for 10 days and they went skinny dipping for 10 days. And one of those days Marlene Dietrich came up and went skinny dipping with them.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane speaks about skinny dipping with Michael, April 28th 2006 ]

Not that such a criterion necessarily transfers to the book itself, which omits this beguiling anecdote: Barbarella once went skinny-dipping with Michael Jackson.

In the late 1970s, fresh off The Wiz, Jackson apparently had acting aspirations. When he found out that his buddy Jane was filming On Golden Pond in New Hampshire with her father and Katharine Hepburn, he asked if he could visit the set.

“He spent the week with me, and I was living in a little cabin on a lake, and one night we went skinny-dipping,” Fonda says. “I didn’t put that in the book, because it was too long, but it was hard for me to cut, because the punch line was: `I think I’m the only person in the world who can say they went skinny-dipping with Greta Garbo and Michael Jackson.'” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda talks about skinny dipping with Michael, Post Gazette, May 01, 2006 ]

Q.You do talk about swimming with naked Garbo in the book. What a moment. In the DVD you mention you skinny-dipped with Michael Jackson, too? A. Yeah (laughing). Yes, the book was too long, so I didn’t include that. It was while I was making “On Golden Pond,” he [Michael Jackson] came and stayed with me for a while. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane blogs about Michael’s passing, June 29, 2009 ]

Her website

This is the longest I’ve gone without blogging for some time. But sometimes you just have to let life play itself out without comment. Like so many people, I have been in a wash of images and feelings about Michael Jackson. I knew him as well as one could know him during the time before he did “The Wiz” and up through “Thriller.” I couldn’t pretend to understand him. There were so many complicated signals. Did he want me to be his ‘older women’ friend. He gravitated to older women. For solace? Succor? A beard? Did he want me to teach him the ropes? I never could quite figure it out. But I remember one day he was visiting me at my ranch north of Santa Barbara. It was the first time he had been in that region but he must have liked it because later he bought his ranch in that same area. Anyway, as we walked around the ranch which was perched right at the edge of the mountain overlooking Goleta, I pointed to a spot where I told him I wanted to be buried. Michael had a melt down right then and there when he heard this. He shrieked and bent over and said “no, no, no!” “ What’s the matter,” I asked. “Don’t ever talk about your dying,” he answered. “Don’t ever think about it.”

I think about death all the time. I rehearse my death. I think that’s a healthy thing to do. Death, after all, is what gives life meaning the way noise gives meaning to silence. Ooooh, I thought to myself, Michael will have a hard time of it as he ages. He will spend all his energy trying to flee what is inevitable. And now it’s happened. I like the fact that it was quick. Massive heart attacks that you don’t recover from are quick. You don’t know what hit you. That’s probably the kindest death for Michael. It’s hard to imagine him being happy as he aged. One more demon to try and evade. I like to think he’s happy now, free of his demons. Free and floating and knowing how his art continues to be revered and celebrated by all of us all over the world. It will continue. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda blogs about Michael, Aug 12, 2009 ]

Her website

I’ve been rehearsing for my death for decades. This may seem gruesome to some people. My friend, singer Michael Jackson, certainly did. He was too scared to even begin to countenance that he might not live forever. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane blogs about seeing This Is It, November 1st 2009 ]

Her website

Last night Richard and I went to see “This Is It” at Rod Stewart’s home. It is an absolutely wonderful documentary all about the final show Michael had been rehearsing before he died. I hadn’t realized how far along they were with it, how polished and exciting it would be even though they were just rehearsing. All the sets, the amazing pyrotechnical effects, the choreography was in place. There were interviews with some of the dancers…young men and women who had traveled, in some cases, from other counties to try out because Michael had been their inspiration from early in their childhoods. One cried when he tried to describe how he felt. It was clear that the chance of performing with their hero was beyond their wildest dreams. There’s a wonderful scene when all the dancers who hope to be selected are on stage dancing at the same time.

Except for a very few brief moments when he walked rather than danced, there was no hint that Michael was tired or ill. His voice was as strong as could be, his face more beautiful than I’d seen since he did the Thriller video. And his dance moves were all that we have come to expect from the King of Pop.

What I really enjoyed was seeing him stop in the middle of some of the numbers and ask the musicians to do a particular moment a little differently. Clearly he liked well-placed pauses when all music would stop to allow the moment to “simmer.” Several times he’d say in his sweet, high voice, “You gotta let it simmer” or maybe the word was sizzle. And then, “Don’t play until you see me make this move” which would be, in some instances, lifting one shoulder as punctuation or flinging arm out, finger pointing.

Almost every time he’s stop and ask for something different he’d finish by saying “It’s about love,” or “God bless you.”

There was another wonderful scene when he was talking to a pianist, trying to explain the sound he was looking for…Getting the musician to do it over and over with subtle changes… So able to hone in on the smallest details of sound and movement. Afterward, the pianist spoke movingly about how no one knew the music and what it should sound like better than Michael. Clearly everyone working on the project was in awe of Michael. And in this film you can really see why.

When Michael was on stage dancing alone, the camera would pan out to the “audience” of dancers all of whom would be grooving right along with Michael, looking up at him on the stage, loving him, admiring him, rooting for him. I am moved as I write this because it hadn’t hit me till I saw the film how utterly devastating his death must have been to all these dancers and musicians who so adored him, who had worked so long and hard and who were on the very brink of taking it public.

The night the film had its premiere in downtown Los Angeles there was an unusual, high wind…so strong that trees were blown down. Unusual for this city. A friend of mine who was there said that she wasn’t the only one who was crying as she walked toward the theatre, feeling this wind was Michael’s presence.

See the movie.
See you next time, [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane blogs about seeing Jermaine, November 14, 2009 ]

Her website

Jermaine Jackson performed in honor of his brother, Michael. I was able to give him an emotional hug before the gala. We hadn’t seen each other since the day in the late 1970s when I visited Michael at the home in the valley where he lived with his mother and sisters. “I was visiting and we were all sitting around the pool when you came,” Jermaine reminisced. “I can’t believe he’s gone,” he said, and we both looked at each other for a long moment. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda talks about skinny dipping with Michael, Jimmy Kimmel, December 9th 2011 ]

(youtube video)

Jimmy: I wanted to ask you, this is a little off topic, but I was told, that you at one time, went skinny dipping with Michael Jackson.
Jane: I did yes and Greta Garbo.
Jimmy: Together? (audience laugh)
Jane: No, no, different times.
Jimmy: What kind of crazy pool was that. (laughing) How did this happen and when did this happen?
Jane: Well, Michael was a friend of mine and he’d done me a bunch of favors and he called me and I did him a favor. I was making On Golden Pond and he wanted to come up and watch us all act. He wanted to become a movie actor. He’d just done The Wiz. So he came up and he lived with me. My family had gone back to LA and he stayed with me and we went… skinny dipping.
Jimmy: Whose idea was that?
Jane: … I don’t remember. (audience laugh, Jane laughs) It was an old moon out, I couldn’t really see, he just disappeared into the darkness. I couldn’t really…
Jimmy: He turns into a wolf sometimes in the darkness you have to be careful. So at that time was like, before, it was after he made The Wiz…
Jane: It was before he made the changes to his face. He was SO cute.
Jimmy: He was like twenty years old?
Jane: No, he was older than that. I think he’d done… but he still had that adorable face of his. He hadn’t done the Thriller.
Jimmy: So the two of you were like together naked in a pool together?
Jane: In (Swan?) Lake, New Hampshire.
Jimmy: In New Hampshire.
Jane: Yeah.
Jimmy: Wow. You’re lucky TMZ wasn’t around back then.
Jane: (laughing and Jimmy laughs) [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda talks about Michael visiting her ranch, Piers Morgan, November 9th 2011 ]

Jane Fonda told Piers Morgan that Michael Jackson’s 1981 visit to her California ranch inspired him to purchase what was to become Neverland Ranch.

The actress and author of the new book “Prime Time” — which is about the last third of life — is a guest on tonight’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”

“I had a ranch in Santa Barbara,” said Fonda. “And he came and visited me once. And I was walking him around. It’s how he was introduced to that area — where he eventually bought Neverland — is when I had him to my ranch.”

The King of Pop, who was in his early 20s at the time, spent a week on the set of “On Golden Pond.”

“He came and he wanted to watch my father and Katharine Hepburn work,” said Fonda. “He was interested in becoming a movie actor.”

Fonda also recalled pointing out to Jackson the spot on the ranch’s grounds where she intended to be buried.

“I thought he was going to have a meltdown,” Fonda stated. “The notion that I could countenance the fact that I was going to die was anathema to him. He just — he screamed.”

The actress recalled Jackson insisting that he was never going to die.

“He talked about how he would get into an oxygen tank and he thought that was going to keep him, you know, alive forever.”

Fonda told Morgan that she doesn’t like the notion that Jackson’s 2009 death was a “Hollywood cliché,” but that “it’s hard to imagine that someone that was as tormented as he was, you know, could have sort of lived a long and peaceful and natural life.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Jane Fonda talks about Michael staying with her during On Golden Pond, on Rosie O’Donnell, 12th December 2011 ]

Jane: I’m the only person who swam skinny dipping with Greta Garbo and – not at the same time – Michael Jackson.
Rosie: I was gonna say. Michael Jackson. When was that?
Jane: Michael lived with me for 10 days when I was making On Golden Pond.
Rosie: I didn’t know that.
Jane: And he slept on a mattress that he put on the floor. I was on a loft and he was down below and there was a tape recorder and I could look down and I could see a cord under his pillow and I went to listen to it. It was a tape that said, “You’re a good person.”
Rosie: Aww.
Jane: “It’s gonna be okay.”
Rosie: Aww. [/EXPAND]

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