"Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives." -- A. Sachs
Today started with the sad news about the passing of the one-time Charlie's Angel Farrah Fawcett after her long battle with cancer, and ended in a surreal media circus covering the unexpected death of the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson. I grew up watching them both. Celebrity deaths are a peculiar social occurrence -- we watch these stars perform for us, we see their interviews, we know details of their lives. So some celebrity deaths hit hard -- we feel like we know these people. Ed McMahon, who also died this week, was a nightly neighbor along with Johnny Carson to millions of Americans watching The Tonight Show.
You hear people say that some celebrities feel like close friends and family. Fame is a wacky thing, blending fictional personalities with the private lives of the celebrities that embody them. The world watched Michael Jackson grow up from the precocious child star singing brilliantly with The Jackson 5, to his successful solo career as a young adult, to his superstardom in the 1980s, to his eccentric behavior starting to overshadow his immense talent in the 1990s, to the scandals that tarnished his legacy in the last decade and a half of his life.
Some other celebrity deaths that had an impact on me include River Phoenix. Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Christopher Reeve, Tupac Shakur (he lives!), and on and on.
I was hoping for one more comeback from Michael Jackson so people would remember the incredible talent that he had, but sadly it was not meant to be. But his music lives on and hopefully people will remember his life for the art he left behind and let Heaven judge the rest.