Friday, June 26, 2009

Day Of The Dead

If you were born after 1980, yesterday was the biggest celebrity death of your lifetime. That's how big this was. Farrah Fawcett's untimely death after a long cancer battle was news enough, but then the day went to a whole new level.

e reactions to Michael Jackson's death ranged from people offering an encomium to the pop giant, to others feeling satisfaction that a man who liked children a little too much finally moon walked his way off the stage.

No matter how you felt, the combo of it's sudden nature and celebrity makes Jackson's death the biggest since one John Lennon died. It would take the assassination of a president to eclipse it. (Note to alienated wingnuts out there: this is NOT supposed to give you any ideas.) Meanwhile, Fawcett would be front page news on any other day. Her posters went into the spank bank for an entire generation of teenage boys in the 1970's.

So now that I've established that the combo of Fawcett and Jackson makes for the biggest death day of my lifetime, let's see where it ranks in history of death day combos. Here are some other death combos of famous people:

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (July 4, 1826)- The gold standard for famous deaths. Two founders of our country died on Independence Day. More than a century later, no one can top this episode.

John F. Kennedy and C.S. Lewis (November 22, 1963)- This one is all about Kennedy. That death shook the nation and Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia) just happened to kick the bucket on the same day. It's still big though.

Orson Wells and Yul Brynner (October 11, 1985)- Big names in the acting world, but the world wide popularity was nothing compared to Jackson.

Milton Berle and Dudley Moore (March 27, 2002)- Uncle Milty ushered in the television age and made a brilliant cameo appearance in Ratt's "Round and Round" video. Moore just played a drunk who somehow fell in love with Liza Minelli. Meh.

There's no way Jackson and Fawcett are bigger than two founding fathers and despite Jackson's world wide fame, people still remember where they were when Kennedy was shot.

On the other hand, Orson Wells and Yul Brynner can't compete with Jackson's celebrity if only because there wasn't 293 channels on the television watching their every move. Berle must feel like LeBron James with Moore as his death mate. Berle can't carry the day by himself.

I'll say Jackson and Fawcett belong on the bronze podium for death partners. Not as big as a sitting president or U.S. fathers, but more than the other celebrities that happened to die on the same day.


1 comment:

  1. That there is any historical precedent for your concept of "death combos" is fascinating.