Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Celebrity Deaths



A real string of them lately. And there have been so many tragic ones over the years. The ones of natural causes are hard enough to take, but there are many, like Natalie Wood, for instance that have a horror beyond ever those that come by their own hand.

The death I found the hardest to take was John Lennon's. Who kills a song-writer? Who takes the life of a man who only sought to entertain. I will never forget that day. Never. To kill for the notoriety in killing is unfathomable to me.

Whose death hit you the hardest?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Lennon was the one. I remember it precisely. I still can't explain why it hit me so much harder than others but it did. Maybe it was because he was living in New York and walking the streets like any other New Yorker (almost), or maybe it was the sheer stupidity of it, but for me, it was definitely the one and nothing since has touched me in the same way.

Jeff M.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I completely agree with you, Patti. Lennon's death was overwhelming for me...

Jerry House said...

So many...Lennon, of course...the day the music died...JFK...Diana ...and lately, Robin Williams and Jerry Healy. I was also very affected when Woody Guthrie died.

George said...

I know this sounds corny, but I remember exactly where I was and exactly how shocked I felt when I heard Elvis died. Icons aren't supposed to die at age 42.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We were driving home from back east when Elvis died. I kept wondering why , after a rest stop, they kept playing his songs. And then we heard. I used that moment in a story.
Just around now, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Patti, the anniversary of Elvis's death was a couple of days ago.

Lennon: I was watching Monday Night Football and Jackie was waiting up to watch her favorite Aussie women-in-prison show, Prisoner: Cell Block H.

For my brother it would definitely be Jerry Garcia. I believe he took the next day off from work.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember them breaking in on a Tiger's game to announce it. On the radio. In those days only 40 Tiger games were on TV and we listened to their games on WJR--now a right-wing nut station.

Deb said...

Elvis: I had been working a late shift and was still in bed when the phone rang and my aunt (a huge Elvis fan) sobbingly told my mom Elvis was dead. My mom woke me up to tell me.

Lennon: I was living in L.A. and my roommate was at work at Tower Records. The news came on the TV (very sketchy at first). I called my roommate to see if she'd heard anything. It seems weird in this day of instant communication, but she said it was the first she'd heard, but even as we were talking, someone in the store was saying Lennon was dead. By the time she got home from work, Tower had sold out every Lennon (and Beatles) record in stock.

Phil Hartman (shot by his wife) and Marvin Gaye (shot by his father) were very shocking. Then there are those deaths--like Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse--where the surprise is it didn't happen sooner.

John said...

Horrible car and plane accidents usually deeply affect me: Harry Chapin, Ricky Nelson, Princess Diana, John Kennedy Jr. There were probably a lot more in my life, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately.

Karen Carpenter's shocking death deeply affected my father who adored her.

I was in college when John Lennon was shot. It was around finals of my freshman year. I remember the guy who lived across the hall from me was the one who told me. He was the programming director for the college radio station and he lived for rock music and theater. He was devastated.

Kent Morgan said...

Interesting comment on WJR as it was one the the 50,000W clear channel stations that I listened to late at night for many years. Now whenever I turn the radio on late at night I usually give up because I can't find a station worth listening to. You should do a post about radio stations people listened to. Mine included KMOX, KSL, WSL, WHAM, WGN, WCCO, KSTP, KOA and ones in Rochester, NY and Des Moines/Council Bluff.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Good idea!

Richard said...

It was JFK. I was home, after high school and before going to Army boot camp, so I watched all the news coverage on CBS, Dan Rather and others doing it as details came in. It lasted for hours, but I kept thinking it couldn't possibly be real.

Of course the 911 World Trade Center attacks, but that wasn't a single person. I was shocked and dismayed by Lennon's death, but it didn't impact me as hard as JFK.

Graham Powell said...

Robin Williams really affected me for some reason. I think it was that he seemed like such a caring person. He really gave a lot to other people, and it just seems like a huge loss.

I read today that one symptom of Parkinson's, which he had, is depression.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Of course JFK would be "the" major death--I had in mind celebrity deaths rather than political ones. I think RFK affected me almost as much because I was older and understood what had gone on more fully.
Sadly, I know all too many people with Parkinson's. Scientists believe they are within five years of a cure.

Deb said...

As I'm reading through the comments, I'm thinking about how everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when [X] died, but will we still have that sense of shared loss in the future when all of us remember these landmark deaths from reading the newsfeed on our phones or computers?

Great line from the 1970s Gene Hackman movie "Night Moves". Gene asks a woman he's interested in where she was when Kennedy died. "Which one?" she responds.

le0pard13 said...

JKF's was the most disruptive, I was nine at the time. TV programming upheaved, along with watching, sensing the grief all around me. But it's John Lennon's murder that has resounded emotionally within me all these years later to the most affect.

Yvette said...

James Dean. I'll never forget coming home from school and a neighbor boy blurted the news out to me with a smirk on his face (he knew I was a big Dean fan). I slapped his face and burst into tears.

Marilyn Monroe. I was on a bus heading to an outing with my dad. One of the few times he and I ever went anywhere together.

Both of these deaths seemed, to me, then and now, especially wasteful.

JFK was the supreme death of my generation, but I don't think of him as a celebrity. Then Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I thought the world was coming to an end.