Michael Jackson father figure Bill Bray dies

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[b]Michael Jackson father figure Bill Bray dies[/b] Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:14 PM ET By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bill Bray, a former Los Angeles police officer who served as Michael Jackson’s longtime security chief and became a father figure to the onetime child star, has died at the age of 80. Bray, who began working for the Jackson 5 in the early 1970s and was one of Jackson’s closest confidants until his retirement in the mid-1990s, died on Tuesday, the entertainer’s publicist, Raymone Bain, told Reuters. “Michael is very, very, very saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Bray, who was a longtime friend and mentor to him and very trusted adviser to him,” Bain said. She said Jackson, who has been living in Bahrain since winning an acquittal on child molestation charges in June, had spoken to members of Bray’s family by telephone. “Bill was a father figure to all of the boys (in the Jackson 5) in the early days and when Michael struck out on his own he became sort of a surrogate father to Michael,” said J. Randy Taraborelli, author of the biography “Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness.” “Michael always had this sort of ambivalent relationship with his dad — bordering on downright anger — and Bray was the person, back in early days, and up until the early 1990s, who Michael would turn to if he had any kind of personal problem he needed to have solved,” Taraborelli said. Bray was at Jackson’s side during the height of his sensational career in the 1980s and when a young boy accused the singer of child molestation in 1993. Jackson settled that case out of court and no charges were ever brought. “Everybody around Michael always liked Bill Bray,” Taraborelli said. “(Film star and Jackson friend) Elizabeth Taylor thought he was one of the greatest people who had ever been in Michael’s life. She was very protective of Michael and always knew that Bill was someone he could rely on.” Jackson and Bray had a falling out in the mid-1990s, for reasons that were never made public, and Foxnews.com columnist Roger Friedman, who was first to report Bray’s death, wrote on the Web site that they had not seen each other in a decade. But Friedman and Taraborelli said that Bray was still on Jackson’s payroll at the time of his death. Source: [url=http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=musicNews&storyID=2005-11-16T211429Z_01_ARM676102_RTRIDST_0_MUSIC-BRAY-DC.XML&archived=False]Reuters.com[/url]

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