Jackson "Thriller" jacket sells for $1.8 million

LOS ANGELES Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:24pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A leather jacket worn by Michael Jackson for his "Thriller" video sold for $1.8 million at an auction on Sunday to a Texas gold trader who plans to use it to raise money for children's hospitals worldwide.

The black and red calf leather jacket with winged shoulders was one of two used for the shoot. The other one, in scuffed condition, is owned by the Jackson estate.

The one sold by Julien's auction house in Beverly Hills is in better shape and is signed on the sleeve by Jackson. It was designed by Deborah Landis, the wife of "Thriller" director John Landis. Jackson presented it to the vendors, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, his longtime costume designers.

It sold to Milton Verret of Austin, Texas, who showed up in person to triumph over about a dozen bidders from around the world.

"It is one of the most important pieces of rock 'n' roll memorabilia in history," Verret told Reuters. His collection also includes another Jackson jacket and guitars signed by members of U2.

Plans are underway to show the "Thriller" jacket at Dell Children's Hospital in Austin, before sending it around the world to display during charity events. A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit an animal reserve where Jackson's two Bengal tigers reside.

Jackson, who died two years ago on Saturday, filmed the video for the title track to his blockbuster album "Thriller" in 1983. The 14-minute clip, in which Jackson turns into a zombie and dances with other undead types, is considered one of the most influential music videos ever made.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

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