Who Could Cash in From Michael Jackson's Death?

Photo: Family and Friends of the Late Pop Star Could Make Money If Offered a Book Deal

Fans of Michael Jackson spent the weekend playing his greatest hits, but they might soon be turning the pages of new tell-all books about his personal life.

Publishers, agents and authors are in a race to profit off Jackson's life and untimely death. While there will be plenty of biographies, expect the big splash to come from some kind of explosive tell-all book.

"The question is what is there to say that we don't know," said Peter Osnos, founder and editor at large of publishing company PublicAffairs. "The role of Jackson as a musical figure is what people are -- for the moment -- most moved by rather than the details of his private life.

"Is there anybody that really, truly can write from the inside about his life in the last couple of years? That would certainly be a story," added Osnos, who has published or edited authors, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, columnist Molly Ivins, former U.S. Rep. Tip O'Neill, Nancy Reagan and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Osnos said that looking at the slew of books published after the early deaths of both Elvis Presley and John Lennon, he expects a large number for Jackson.

"I think everybody has been surprised at the breadth and depth of the reaction to Jackson's death," he said. "It turned out to be more of an event than anybody would have imagined."

So, who would be the author of that hit tell-all book?

After working for 17 years for Jackson, most recently as a nanny to his three children, Grace Rwaramba is now speaking out about Jackson's long battle with prescription drugs.

"There's no doubt in my mind: The book to get is that of Grace Rwaramba," said Diane Dimond, a reporter who first broke the allegations of child molestation against Jackson in 1993. "All the others are liars. I don't mean to sound harsh, but you can't trust a thing the Jackson family says."

Dimond, who wrote the book "Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case," estimated that Rwaramba might be paid "in the millions, or a million at least," for a tell-all book.

"Are we talking Dick Cheney money, probably not?" she said. "But we're talking big money."

Other Tell-All Michael Jackson Books

Dimond was skeptical about the prospects for other books.

"I would say the only book that could command any money would be Grace's," she said. "A choreographer, a songwriter -- who cares what they think? That's not of interest. The interest is what type of life did he lead? What led to his decline?"

If past tell-all books are any indicator, Rwaramba, or anybody else with a good story, could stand to profit handsomely.

Don't expect the $12 million that Bill Clinton got in 2001 for his presidential memoirs, the $8.5 million paid for Pope John Paul II's memoirs or the $8.1 million Hillary Rodham Clinton got for her book.

But plenty of people who have witnessed celebrities and their lives have sold -- or tried to sell -- their stories.

Madonna's former nanny Melissa Dumas was offered a tell-all book deal worth a reported $5 million in 2007, but the deal was later cancelled. Paul Burrell, former butler to the late Princess Diana, wrote about his former employer and was paid about $500,000 by The Daily Mail for new details of her life.

Diane Nine, president of Nine Speakers, a literary, speaking and film agency, said that book deals would depend on somebody's "relationship with Michael Jackson personally, and what they are willing to say."

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