Death be not proud

Things happen every day, both extraordinary and horrendous, to regular human beings. Despite this, western society has a fascination with the comings and goings of anyone the spotlight has hit – regardless of whether they have bathed in it or simply been grazed by it. Tabloid magazines dominate the newsstands, seemingly covering every movement celebrities make.

 

I hate it.

 

I hate that the media focus on the exploits of famous people when the very same thing happens to ordinary people on a regular basis. People outside of the spotlight fall seriously ill, have marriage breakdowns, have babies and fall in love. And, it’s not just that we report on these things that aren’t newsworthy – mainstream media follow these developments at the expense of real news. We are ignorant to so much that is happening in our world.

 

Beyond that, I feel sorry for the families of celebrities. Nobody deserves their childhood tainted by constant exposure and pestering; no parent should see their child dragged through dirt. I have less sympathy for the celebs themselves who, generally, enter the profession with an understanding of the industry but their loved ones have no choice in the matter.

 

Where am I going with this?

 

I hate the fascination with famous people when ordinary lives are enriched and destroyed on a daily basis but… this year appears to have taken more celebrity lives than any other in memory.

 

And so, for a short while at least, I’m happy to indulge in fandom.

 

I’ve seen social media posts boasting, “for those hating on 2016 I imagine _______ was worse,” with the blank replaced by years decimated by plague or warfare but I can’t empathise with these. It’s not that I’m unsympathetic towards the people affected by these catastrophic events but the posts themselves are not written with any emotion, they are just sarcastic digs aimed at people lamenting the deaths of those they admire. Likewise, there is another post that says “RIP every ordinary person who died this year” that is devoid of feeling.

 

Here’s the thing, when a non-famous person dies it impacts the people who have known them. With celebrities and the amount of exposure they receive people feel as if they do know them to an extent and so, when they die, it is natural to be upset. Compound that with the sheer number of famous people who have died this year and it’s easy to see why people are grieving.

 

It is easy to label these people as TV/movie stars, musicians and writers but that diminishes their impact. These people were role models, humanitarians, activists and icons. Many of them – through their lyrics, their novels and the various characters they have played – have helped shape the people we have become.

 

I direct you now to Perth performance poet Scott-Patrick Mitchell who said:

#deepthoughts // every person listed here has taught our society & culture an aspect of humanity that we have, collectively, resonated with. mourn them, yes, but more importantly learn from their abilities, carry that in your heart and use their strengths to make yourself stronger. they were here for a reason. so are you.

January 10
David Bowie, 69 Rock icon

January 14
Alan Rickman, 69 Actor

January 18
Glenn Frey, 67 Eagles rocker

January 23
Jimmy Bain, 68 Rainbow rock star

January 30
Frank Finlay, 89 Acting great

January 31
Terry Wogan, 77 TV & radio legend

February 3
Maurice White, 74 Earth Wind & Fire star

February 19
Harper Lee, 89 To Kill A Mockingbird author

February 28
Frank Kelly, 77 Father Ted star

February 28
George Kennedy, 91 Movie great

March 1
Tony Warren, 79 Coronation St creator

March 8
George Martin, 90 Beatles producer

March 11
Keith Emerson, 71 ELP rock legend

March 15
Sylvia Anderson, 88 Lady Penelope

March 16
Frank Sinatra Junior, 72 Sinatra’s singer son

March 17
Paul Daniels, 77 Comedy magician

March 24
Gary Shandling, Comedian

March 29
Patty Duke, 69 Child star

March 31
Ronnie Corbett, 85 Comedy legend

March 31
Denise Robertson, 83 TV agony aunt

April 6
Merle Haggard, 79 Country legend

April 12
David Gest, 62 TV personality

April 20
Victoria Wood, 62 Comedy genius

April 20
Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, 46 WWE wrestling legend

April 21
Lonnie Mack, 74 Blues guitar great

April 21
Prince, 57 Pop icon

April 21
Guy Hamilton, 93 Bond director

April 24
Billy Paul, 80 Chart star

May 17
Guy Clark, 74 Country legend

May 19
John Berry, 52 Beastie Boys star

May 19
Alan Young, 96 Mister Ed TV star

May 21
Nick Menza, 51 Megadeth drummer

May 24
Burt Kwouk, 85 Pink Panther star

May 31
Carla Lane, 87 Liver Birds writer

June 3
Muhammad Ali, 74 Boxing legend

June 14
Henry McCullough, 72 Wings guitarist

June 19
Anton Yelchin, 27 Star Trek’s Chekov

June 24
Bernie Worrall, 72 Funkadelic star

June 28
Scotty Moore, 84 Elvis’s guitarist

July 2
Caroline Aherne, 52 Comedy actress

July 16
Alan Vega, 78 Suicide punk pioneer

August 13
Kenny Baker, 81 Star Wars’ R2-D2

August 15
Dalian Atkinson, 48 Villa cup hero
Bobby Hutcherson. 75 Jazz musician

August 22
Toots Thielemans, 94 Jazz musician

August 29
Gene Wilder, 83 Comic genius

September 11
Alexis Arquette, 47 Transgender actress

September 17
Charmian Carr, 73 Sound of Music’s Liesl

September 25
Arnold Palmer, 87 Golfing legend

October 12
Thomas Mikal Ford, 52, Martin Sitcom

October 14
Jean Alexander, 90 Corrie’s Hilda Ogden

October 23
Pete Burns, 57 Dead or Alive chart star

October 24
Bobby Vee, 73 1960s teen idol

November 7
Leonard Cohen, 82 Iconic singer & writer

November 11
Robert Vaughn, 83 Veteran actor

November 13
Leon Russell, 74 US rock legend

November 24
Colonel Abrams, 67 80s chart star

November 25
Florence Henderson, 82 Brady Bunch star

November 26
Ron Glass, 71 US TV star

December 1
Andrew Sachs, 86 Fawlty Towers star

December 6
Peter Vaughan, 93 Game of Thrones star

December 7
Ian Cartwright, 52 Wolves midfielder

December 8
John Glenn, 95 First to orbit Earth

December 8
Greg Lake, 69 ELP legend

December 10
AA Gill, 62 Writer & critic

December 10
Ian McCaskill, 78 TV weatherman

December 12
Walter Swinburn, 55 Derby winning jockey

December 13
Alan Thicke

December 18
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99 Actress

December 24
Rick Parfitt, 68
Richard Adams, author of Watership Down

December 25
George Michael, 53 Singer
Ricky Harris aka Taadow, 54 Comedian

December 26
Liz Smith, 95 Actress

December 27
Carrie Fisher, 60 Actress

 

Sadly, that list is now incomplete with at least two more celebrity deaths that have occurred since it was posted.

 

May they rest in peace.

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