Friday, June 26, 2009
The celebrity death pool has been rather active this past week. The shock and awe impact of Michael Jackson's death will likely overshadow the others and in fact, will likely be as great an impact as that of Elvis Presley's.
I want first to bring attention to the passing of Farrah Fawcett, who lost a long public battle with cancer. Farrah was without a doubt an icon of period in which she is most famous. Three decades after her role as Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels, most probably would find it hard to believe she was a regular on that series for only its initial season. However, Farrah exploded in popularity as a "pin-up" girl and throughout the media (which was not nearly as easy to break through, or as fast as today's techno-based media outlets).
The death of Michael Jackson (MJ) has brought many thoughts to my head; the first of which is this: here you have a young man who has achieved all the success that anyone could ever wish for and has earned as more money than most could figure out how to spend – it seems to me that he has never been happy. Perhaps it's a lesson to be learned that fame and fortune does not necessarily resolve inner conflict, personal demons, depression, or whatever else may have been wrong with this talented, yet deeply troubled man.
Another famous death is that of Ed McMahon, who kissed Johnny Carson's ass was the announcer and sidekick on the Johnny Carson show for more than 30 years. McMahon hosted a talent competition back in the 1980's called Star Search which was hippish long before the current wave of realityish talent competitions that are so trendy in today's market place. McMahon also serves as a pitchman for a numner of products, most famously Alpo dog food and of course, the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. I find it interesting how McMahon, who while a seemingly nice enough guy, became wealth and famous without being know for any real particular skill or talent. He got his endorsement deals by virtue of his role on Carson's show and while I don't think he was a bad pitch man, her certainly wasn't extraordinary. Hollywood can be funny that way sometimes.
Lesser known celebrity, musician Kenny Rankin succumbed to lung cancer recently. Rankin was probably best known for penning the song "Peaceful" for Helen Reddy. Perhaps ironic, Rankin appeared on Johnny Carson's show about 25 times.
Well Hollywood, we mourn your losses with you, in our own way perhaps.