Many people have stories of how they narrowly avoided the 9/11 disaster, thanks to trains that were delayed, missed alarms, or other mishaps that turned out to be miracles. Some of those stories belong to celebrities. Twenty years later, here’s a look at some of the famous people who came dangerously close to being in the planes or buildings destroyed that day.
According to Michael Jackson’s older brother Jermaine, the King of Pop’s calendar for September 11, 2001 included a morning meeting at the World Trade Center. Fortunately, the musician fell asleep and missed the meeting, something he attributed to a late-night chat with his mother and siblings.
Years later, the eldest Jackson recalled the near miss in his memoirs, You are not alone Michael: through the eyes of a brother:
“Fortunately, none of us had any idea that Michael was supposed to attend a meeting that morning on top of one of the Twin Towers. We only found this out when mom called her hotel to make sure she was okay. Her rebbie [Jackson] and some others had left it there around 3am. ‘Mother, I’m fine, thanks to you,’ he said. ‘You kept me up talking so late that I fell asleep and missed my appointment.’
On the day of the attacks, actor Mark Wahlberg was scheduled to fly American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.
Fortunately for Wahlberg, he and his friends made a last-minute decision not to fly to Los Angeles, where the plane was headed, but to a Toronto film festival.
Years later, the actor boasted that if he had been on the plane, he personally would have stopped the kidnapping.
“If I was on that plane with my kids, he wouldn’t have fallen like he did,” Wahlberg told Men’s Journal . “There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.’
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After a public outcry, Wahlberg later apologized for his comments.
The creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane, has a hangover to be thankful for surviving America’s worst terrorist attack. The actor and cartoonist had planned to board the same plane as Wahlberg, flight 11, but was late at the airport.
“I was booked on that flight and I was drinking the night before and hungover and I missed the plane for about 10 minutes,” MacFarlane told the Mirror years later. “It was a very close call for me.”
After booking the next flight, MacFarlane said in an interview with CNN, then he took a nap in the airport lounge and woke up 45 minutes later to the shock of people who heard the terrible news. Seeing footage of his flight crashing into the North Tower, MacFarlane told an airport waiter that he was supposed to be on that plane. The waiter gave him a chance.