Panama’s link to Jackson
PANAMA. While the world of Michael Jackson fans struggles to come to come to grips with his untimely death, and battalions of lawyers s...
PANAMA. While the world of Michael Jackson fans struggles to come to come to grips with his untimely death, and battalions of lawyers smack their lips at the thought of rich pickings in the upcoming court battles over legacies, children and memorabilia, a renowned Panamanian actress, reminisces about a “ kind and sensitive gentle spirit.
Panama born Pat Quinn made her acting debut with The Ancon Theatre Guild, before moving to Broadway, TV and Hollywood, garnering awards along the way.
In the mid-1980’s, she was developing her career in Hollywood, when Marlon Brando, whom she describes as a mentor, ex-lover and friend, asked if she would be willing to do some work with Michael Jackson. The two entertainment legends were planning a movie together about God and the Devil. Marlon would be God and Michael as the apostate. The director of choice was to be Martin Scorcese. If it wasn’t a deal made in heaven, it seemed at least a Hollywood dream.
Pat takes up the story: “Marlon Brando took me to Michael's in Encino. When we arrived, we were met by a manager and taken to the recording studio next to the garage. After chatting with the musicians, a man dressed head to toe as Pinocchio walked in and was introduced to me as Michael. He never revealed himself during the interview.
“As I lived in L.A., I was accustomed to bizarre behavior, but this one took top spot. “When Marlon and I drove away, we discussed how useful I might be to them both. I still have a copy of the outline discussed by Marlon and Scorcese. He wanted me on the ground floor of Michael’s film production company. which never materialized. Neither did the film.
“I did work with Michael, organizing his vault (master recordings) and discussing acting as truth. Marlon had told Michael, which he certainly applied to his art, under the title P lease the Truth , ‘Don't please the people, please the truth. Example: If you're dancing, and a choreographer gives you set steps you do them, but if you don't FEEL certain movement, and FEEL by instinct you should be doing something else, then do it. Act on truth, by feeling and instinct you know when to spin, when to freeze, turn your head, put your hand in your pocket. Don't fight feeling and instinct, truth, please the truth, let things create themselves.’ “
Marlon had made notes of the conversation in November 1983, which Pat still has.
She believes that it is advice that should prove useful to all Panamanian artists “Michael sought advice from all the living experts. After a meeting with Fred Astaire, he copied the master's use of exposing white socks so attention would be given to his feet. He was always seeking perfection.
“Sometimes Michael and I would walk among the animals he kept--llamas, giraffe--just talking about things. He had a chimp named "Bubbles,” and one day I was asked to his bedroom, where the walls were surrounded by photos of a young Liz Taylor, and the bathroom mirror had a number on it, in the millions. I asked what that represented, and he said it was the number of albums he would sell that year. He visualized success.
“When I entered the bedroom he was changing Bubbles' diaper. My maternal instincts kicked in (my younger son Chance was about 11 then), and I said, "Oh, Michael, I'll do that for you.” He smiled and moved aside, and while I changed that diaper I felt his chin on my right shoulder as he watched me proceed. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life, but he was such a gentle spirit, such a kind and sensitive person, I grew to like him a lot.
“When I left because I really didn't have enough to do, I returned a few days later with my older son Caleb (then 17), and I gave him a rare set of The Encyclopedia Of Popular Music And Jazz.
I was astonished to receive a call from him the next day thanking me for the gift and wishing me well.”
The ending of her involvement in the project did not sit well with Brando.
Said Pat: “Marlon was furious that I had left without asking him, but I have always been an independent artist in my own right and never thought of asking permission from him.”
In the end the project never reached fruition, but the experience of working with Jackson left an indelible impression.