This article is from the archive of our partner .

The death of Osama bin Laden has brought about a rash where-were-you-on-9/11 reminiscences, none as compelling as Sam Kashner's Vanity Fair account of how Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and Elizabeth Taylor found a way out of Manhattan after the twin towers fell.

Jackson was in town for two concerts on the 7th and 10th, and had invited old friends Brando and Taylor as his guests. On the morning of the eleventh, writes Kashner, Jackson got "a call from friends in Saudi Arabia who warned that America was under attack." Depending on which version of the story you believe, the three stars then "planned their escape, afraid that they would be the next target," and drove out of town, even though fans kept mobbing their car looking for autographs. The trio eventually drove as far as Ohio, with "Brando allegedly annoyed his traveling companions by insisting on stopping at nearly every KFC and Burger King they passed along the highway."

Taylor's associates insist the actress never went along on the road trip, and that she stayed behind in New York, "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." When the airports reopened, she went home to Los Angeles.

We're OK with either version, since they both involve Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando driving halfway across the country in a (presumably) rented car.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.