During the trial of Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, it was reported that the King of Pop got hooked on pharmaceuticals after suffering burns while shooting a Pepsi commercial. That accident occurred 30 years ago this week. The commercial was being shot at the Shrine Auditorium near downtown L.A. It was set up like a concert, complete with an audience. While Jackson's back was turned to the crowd, a fireworks effect shot sparks into the singer's hair, which ignited into flames.
Paramedics rushed the singer to the nearest burn center, Brotman Memorial Hospital in Culver City. A mob of reporters crowded around the ambulance as it arrived at the emergency entrance. Even as he was being wheeled in on a gurney, Jackson – clearly in pain – lamely raised a gloved hand to acknowledge the cameras, and possibly his fans.
The accident left Jackson with second degree burns on his scalp and his treatment and recovery took a long time. After settling a subsequent lawsuit, Jackson donated $1.5 million to the hospital, which in turn renamed its burn unit The Michael Jackson Burn Center. But just three years later, the hospital , claiming the unit was losing money, shutdown the specialized facility and Jackson's name was removed from the side of the building.