A few years ago, young children listening to Michael Jackson tunes might have been something their parents would warn them about. Given the accusations that arose about his relationships with children in the 90s, some parents might not want the iconic pop star to be one of their kid's favorites.

But as Jackson's death has shown us this year, the final farewell is a transformational step in the image of a major icon. The scandals that may have plagued his life -- inappropriate behavior with children, addiction, isolation -- cast clouds of judgment that, in death, are mere footnotes to the greater legacy of their cultural contributions.

Gaylord Fields, senior editor at Spinner.com, said the sudden death of a major entertainer allows their faults to be set aside. The scandal of their death may create headlines, but afterward there is a wave of forgiveness that lasts longer than any misgivings.