Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Finally dead

I was surprised that Charles Nelson Reilly was 76 when he died, over the weekend. Not that he was that young, or that old, but that he was still alive.

Some time ago I posted the people that I wasn’t “done with yet,” people who died too young or too soon. There are other people with whom popular culture has gotten done with, who linger on, alive, presumably happy, but invisible and when they die, a million Americans hear the news and think, “Hmmmm, I thought s/he died YEARS ago….”

For instance:

June Allyson – died July 2006 at the age of 89 – when you watch the movies, everybody around her seems to be dead: Jimmy Stewart, Judy Garland, Fredrick March, Steve Allen. She made those embarassing Depends commercials (by golly, there is a foundation named after her) and then, I assumed, she died. But she was apparently fine, if incontinent (I'm not being mean, she started the foundation fer criminy!) for another ten years,

Glenn Ford - died in August 2006 at 90. No talk shows, no books, no angry children, no scandal. No guys like him in the movies anymore, either: silent, square in build and level in look, competent, occasionally witty but it was a strain.

Curt Gowdy - I don't know much about sports, but his voice seems to have ended with the sideburns and fluffy perms sticking out under the hats of the baseball players, and the handlebar mustaches on the football players in the washed-out color films of World Series and Superbowls long ago. Died February 2006 at 87.

Who surprised you when they died? Who do you keep forgetting is still alive?


Dan B (no, not Bennett, think harder) said...

Speaking Of dead people, there is a new and exciting group on Yahoo called The Judy Garland Experience. The group features an amazing and ever changing selection of audio files. This week we are featuring Judy In Concert at The Back Bay Theater in 1968, Selections from Judy's 1950's radio work and television specials, songs and conversations from her aborted role in Valley Of The Dolls, and many other odds and ends (including highlights from a 1973 NY performance by Josephine Baker (another dead person). "Why" you ask? You will just have to join and find out). The group also features lively discussions, rare photo's, thought provoking polls, and more!
The group's membership has an amazing assortment of people, including Garland family members, other people who knew Judy, people who saw Judy perform, author's, historian's, people who have made movies about Judy, plus fans of every level. The only thing missing is you. Please stop by our little Judyville and check it out. You may never want to leave!

Kansas Bob said...

You caused me to think of one of my favorite comedians. Alas, Red passed on 10 years ago.

Therese Z said...

There's that third category: "Wow! They've been dead HOW long?"

We measure our lives by celebrities, whether we mean to or not.

Roz said...

I'm always struck when I see Bob Hope in old movies. There's a guy I grew up watching, hanging around with a lot of people who have been dead since before I was born. Thanks, Bob, for sticking around so long.



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