This past week has been hard on the celebrities in America, with the death of three people who, at various times, were important parts of our cultural milieu.
Ed McMahon, one of the great pitchmen of the 20th century, has long been out of the public eye. He will forever be remembered as Johnny Carson's sidekick on the Tonight Show, a gig that lasted him for more than 30 years and was the stuff of some of funniest comedy I can recall. And then there were his countless appearances in other venues, such as Star Search. Before entering show business, he was a Marine, having served his country in WWII as a fighter pilot. In his private life, he was the father of six.
Unfortunately, MacMahon apparently made some bad financial decisions and lived beyond his means, causing turmoil in the last years of his life. He finally passed away from bone cancer on June 23 at 86 years of age.
Two days later, Farrah Fawcett passed. I, along with many young males of the era, kept a poster of her on my wall circa 1976. She was certainly one of the most beautiful women of the 70's. She was my generation's Marilyn Monroe, with her iconic poster being the best selling poster of all time. Beyond that, her life seemed a tension between her willingness to exploit her looks and her desire for privacy and not to be exploited as a sex symbol. As she aged and fell from the public eye, the latter won out and she agreed to be photographed nude in about 1995 in Playboy, providing them with their best selling issues of the decade. She finally lost a three year battle with anal cancer on June 25.
And of course, on that day, Michael Jackson died of a massive heart attack. He was as pathetic and troubled a figure off stage as he was talented on-stage. He seemed to live life in a bizarre alternate universe that involved, if not paedophilia, then at least inappropriate relationships with children. As with both MacMahon and Fawcett, his passing is a sad day, though I find the coverage of his passing and the adoration heaped upon this man seemingly with no acknowledgment of the whole man troubling indeed.
At any rate, this has been a bad week for celebrities. May they rest in peace.