NEW YORK — A personal assistant-turned-personal manager to Michael Jackson said the King of Pop took propofol as early as 1999, and that the singer was drugged up ahead of his 2001 30th anniversary concerts.

Frank Cascio, who became a family friend to Jackson at age 5 and eventually one of the singer’s closest friends and employees, writes in a new book that he first noticed Jackson taking the drug Demerol while accompanying the singer on his “Dangerous” tour in 1993.

He writes in his new book, “My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man,” that Jackson started the first of two anniversary shows in 2001 an hour late as a result of being drugged up in his dressing room.

“My naive belief that Michael wouldn’t let his medicine interfere with the show blew up in my face,” Cascio writes. “I can’t begin to describe my disappointment and panic at this moment.”

The Associated Press bought an advance copy of the book, which is set for release Tuesday by William Morrow, an imprint of News Corp.’s HarperCollins.

Cascio became a friend of Jackson’s after his father introduced him to the singer; Cascio’s father worked at the Hemsley Palace in Manhattan, managing the hotel’s towers and suites, where Jackson stayed. Following that, a 5-year-old Cascio and his younger brother Eddie spent time with Jackson at his Neverland Ranch.

He says Jackson was first introduced to Demerol in 1984 when he burned his head during a Pepsi commercial shoot, and Cascio writes that he first noticed Jackson using the medicine on his “Dangerous” tour.

“Now, on tour, and again in deep physical pain, Michael turned back to those drugs,” he wrote.

Cascio says Jackson also took propofol in 1999 in Munich when the singer was 50 feet in the air and instead of coming down slowly, the platform Jackson was on fell down. Cascio also writes that Jackson took Demerol to treat the skin disease vitiligo.

“It had become clear to me that Michael’s drug use was escalating,” he wrote. Cascio said sometimes he paid doctors in cash “because all of Michael’s medical issues had to be kept from the public and their cost off the books.”

“Over the years, I had grown accustomed to seeing doctors coming and going, particularly in late tours, when Michael was under great stress and needed help falling asleep.”

Cascio said he wanted to seek out help, but didn’t know who to turn to. Ahead of Jackson’s 2001 anniversary shows, he said he spoke to Janet, Randy and Tito about their brother’s drug use. He writes that Jackson’s siblings approached him, but the singer “simply pushed them away.”

Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted last week of involuntary manslaughter for supplying the insomnia-plagued singer with propofol to help him sleep.

Ex-porn star visits school, raises queries

COMPTON, Calif. — Some parents have filed complaints with the Parent-Teacher Association after a former adult film star said she read to children at a Los Angeles County elementary school.

Sasha Grey, a 23-year-old former porn actress who has appeared in mainstream shows like HBO’s “Entourage,” was a guest earlier this month at Compton’s Emerson Elementary School for Read Across America Day.

Grey tweeted Nov. 2 that she spent the day reading to students in the first and third grades.

KTLA-TV quoted parents questioning whether it was appropriate to have Grey at the school. Parent Dudley Wheaton wondered why the school couldn’t find a fireman or a police officer to read to students.

Grey has not appeared in porn films in more than two years. She appeared in the 2009 film “The Girlfriend Experience.”

Taylor takes on role of Bob Cratchit

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — James Taylor is out to prove he can do more than write a catchy tune.

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is taking up acting after more than four decades in the music industry. Taylor is to play Bob Cratchit next month in a Massachusetts theater group’s annual performance of “A Christmas Carol.”

Kate Maguire, artistic director of the Berkshire Theatre Group, told The Berkshire Eagle she had to coax Taylor, 63, into taking the role.

Taylor’s wife, Kim, is returning for her second year as Mrs. Cratchit. Their two sons are also in the production. The Taylor family has a home in the Berkshires.