This is a rush transcript from “On the Record,” July 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now, you are looking at Michael Jackson two days before he died. This was his very last rehearsal, the last known video of Jackson. Our next guest was right there at the Staples Center, photographing Jackson. He has been photographing Jackson for 30 years. Kevin Mazur joins us. Good evening, Kevin.
KEVIN MAZUR, ROCK-AND-ROLL PHOTOGRAPHER: How’re you doing?
VAN SUSTEREN: Kevin, now there’s a lot of focus, of course, on the last 24 hours, up until the time that Michael Jackson was found non- responsive. When did you last see him?
MAZUR: I saw him at that performance. It’s sad to watch that video. I mean, I still can’t believe it. I’m in such shock still, to this day.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you’re a still photographer, right?
MAZUR: Yes. I’ve been shooting concerts for a good, you know, 30 years, and Michael Jackson was one of my ultimate favorite artists to photograph through the years.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you notice anything unusual or different about him that night, since you’ve known him for over 30 years?
MAZUR: No. I mean, he was the same Michael Jackson. When Michael hit the stage, I was, like, Wow! The same Michael Jackson I’ve photographed through the years, full of energy, full of life, having fun, very upbeat. You know, he’s totally — he was going toe-to-toe — I mean, look at it, he’s going toe to toe with 20-year-old dancers.
VAN SUSTEREN: How close did you get? What size lens were you using that night?
MAZUR: Well, I was — you know, I shoot with a variety of lenses. I shoot from wide angle to telephoto because, you know, like, I’m there to document this for Michael Jackson. And so I have an array of lenses that I’m using to shoot wide to document the whole production, then to shoot close, you know?
VAN SUSTEREN: So were you close — did you actually have a conversation with Michael that night?
MAZUR: No, I didn’t have any conversations because when Michael arrived, I was already photographing, you know, doing casual shots of the band rehearsing and the dancers rehearsing. So when Michael Jackson got there, you know, he hit the stage, and you know, smiled at me and waved and then just got right to work.
VAN SUSTEREN: What’s your reaction to hearing the news now — and maybe — maybe you had other information, inside information, that there seems to have been a drug problem or a drug issue over some time? Did you ever in the 30 years see anything?
MAZUR: No. I mean, this — – what you’re seeing in this video is the Michael Jackson that I’ve seen through the years. If you — all the times I’ve been around Michael, there was no way I would ever even think that he was on any type of drug.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he — did you see — was the doctor around him? He had — you know, he has a doctor who’s living at his home. Did you see any doctors with him that night?
MAZUR: No. When I saw — you know, when I saw Michael that night, Michael came from the side of the stage, you know? The bodyguards didn’t even come up on the stage with him. Michael came up by himself, got right to work with the — you know, talked to the band members, said hi to everybody and then just got right back to work. You know, Michael’s a true professional. When it comes down to the music, he’s a musical genius. He’s very into detail. He documents everything. He’s very aware and very focused when it comes to his performance. He’s extremely focused.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who’s actually in charge? You get the sense that he’s running and he’s choreographing these concerts, or is there someone else that’s sort of the — you know, the designer or the choreographer?
MAZUR: Well, he worked with Kenny Ortega, who’s worked with him many years. And between Kenny and AEG and the choreographer — forgive me, I forgot his name — they — you know, it’s a team effort. They put everything together. But Michael is very focused when it comes to his performance and very on and very hands-on with everything.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, when he’s — when he’s on the stage, as a viewer or as a fan, he seems to own it. Then we hear this sort of reclusive, timid personal life. Did you see that side of him? Did you ever see him in a non-professional setting?
MAZUR: Oh, yes. You know, I’ve worked with him numerous times. You know, one time that — you know, he’s very quiet, but when he hits that stage, he is full of energy. I mean, he’s a totally different person. But off-stage, he’s very quiet. Like right there, you see that when we were doing the record-signing, looking at the video right now. You know, he’s very soft-spoken, but you know, he’s very aware and very loving to the fans. He would lean into me when we were doing that record-signing, and it was, like, Kevin, get this photo. You know, there’s a really cute fan that was dressed up with a fedora and had the white glove and the suit and stuff. You know, he — very, very into the fans.
VAN SUSTEREN: And how did you hear that he had died?
MAZUR: I was in London, photographing Elton John’s White Ball and tiara AIDS event, and Elton happened to tell me. He was, like, Michael Jackson passed away. And I was, like, Oh, it’s just got to be a rumor because there’s always so many rumors around Michael. And then later on that night, another person came up to me and said, No, all the news organizations, legitimate news organizations, are saying he passed away.
And then I called my contact at AEG to find out and she told me, and I was devastated. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it, especially after the performance that I saw, you know, earlier that he put on during rehearsal. He was 100 percent, you know, and really on and focused and — I was so taken aback, I had to, like, walk out of Elton’s even and just compose myself and — you know, and take a moment for myself.