Taylor, Brando and Jacko: their 9/11 road trip
How three of the world’s biggest celebrities are said to have fled New York together on 9/11
Between them, the late Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando had a wealth of wild and wonderful stories to tell. But this one concerns all three, apparently brought together in New York on 9/11, and has only come out since the last of the trio, Liz Taylor, died in March.
According to a Vanity Fair interview with Tim Mendelson, Taylor's former personal assistant, they were so alarmed by the attacks on the Twin Towers that they decided to escape New York the only way they could: by car.
Jackson was still in New York having given two concerts at Madison Square Garden on September 7 and 10, the latter on the night before the terrorist attack.
Having brought Brando and Taylor with him for support, he instantly panicked upon hearing of the attack. "He hollered down the hallway of his hotel for everyone in his entourage, and for Brando, to leave immediately," writes Sam Kashner in Vanity Fair.
With all flights grounded, there was only one escape route: the open road. So Jackson and Brando headed to the hotel's garage to make a speedy exit. There was one problem: Taylor wasn't in their hotel, she was a few blocks away at the St. Regis.
Somehow (there are numerous holes in this fantastic tale), the three of them managed to unite, and despite the hollering fans banging on the windows and chasing them down the streets of Manhattan, they got away.
A former employee of Jackson's fills in the rest. According to him, Michael assumed the role of trip leader, leading them through New Jersey and out towards Ohio. Apparently Brando was the whiny one, annoying his companions "by insisting on stopping at nearly every KFC and Burger King they passed along the highway".
The stuff of legends? Very possibly. Another of her assistants told Vanity Fair that Taylor refused to leave New York on 9/11.
"Elizabeth stayed behind," he insisted, "where she went to a church to pray, and she went to an armory where people were who couldn’t get home or who’d stayed behind to look for the missing. She also went down to Ground Zero, where she met with first responders."