Thursday, June 25, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009 is a sad day for entertainment fans around the world as two of its brightest stars met with untimely ends. One's death had been expected for some time now and the other's was a complete shock. With the death of Ed McMahon on Tuesday, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson's passings make up the proverbial "everything comes in threes." Rather than reporting on the already fast spreading news of their losses, I'd like to take a moment to pay homage to these stars that each brightened our landscape in their own unique way.
Farrah Fawcett was best known for her role in the 1970's television series "Charlie's Angels." At the height of the show's popularity, Farrah quickly became a favorite among men, young and old, for her presence on the screen and her natural beauty. At the time, I had been in my early teens and hadn't come to the realization yet that I was playing for the 'other team.' That famous poster of her with her hand beneath her chin and sporting a big smile adorned the wall of my bedroom for years. I think back with fondness remembering it over my bed all that time.
In subsequent years, Farrah slowly faded from the television screens, appearing more in tabloid magazines for her publicized off screen relationship with Ryan O'Neal. She'd appeared now and then in a TV movie, but I'd never really paid much attention to her. What I will always remember when I think of Farrah Fawcett is that beautiful woman in the poster above my bed for so many years. It's how her life touched mine and many others. From what I have heard in gossipy tidbits over the years was that she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She will surely be missed!
The Tragic King
Michael Jackson's death is still being widely reported as I type this, as this news is somewhat of a shock and his fame was indeed celestial. Michael Jackson was a few years older than me, and I remember him as the front man (boy) of the Jackson Five on all of those variety shows that were popular in the early seventies when I was young. Back then, he was an adorable enigma, with a clear talent that no one would have expected to reach the heights he eventually achieved.
As he grew older, he continued to make music with his brothers, filling dance floors across the nation with great ditties such as "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" and "Can You Feel It?" Eventually he branched out on his own with the highly acclaimed and hit generating LP, "Off the Wall", but he really soared to mega-stardom with his "Thriller" album. During the time of the early eighties and beyond, Michael was at the top of his game, providing entertainment to millions with groundbreaking music videos, number one singles, white gloves, and a "moonwalk." Soon after the release of his "Bad" album, notoriety and bad press began to slowly consume the pop star.
The first video for the title cut to the "Bad" CD world premiered with much anticipation, as it was the follow-up to the all time best-selling CD." When fans got their first glimpse of Michael in the video, they were in for a shock. With clear signs of surgical transformation to his face and apparently lighter complexion, Michael's appearance was astoundingly frightful. Rumors ran rampant. Stories abounded everywhere regarding this transformation and he became fodder for late night jokesters everywhere. Then came the infamous allegations of sexual abuse.
Michael Jackson clearly had a fondness for children, publicly hosting children's parties at his Neverland ranch. Eventually, allegations were leveled against him on separate occasions by two young boys. The accusations gave credence to long held suspicions about his sexuality and many now looked at in a whole different light. By the mid nineties, Michael had gained notoriety among many of his fans that eventually plunged him into the obscurity he's lived in for a few years now.
In the end, with all the fame and fortune Michael Jackson attained in his too short life, I can't help but believe that his is as tragic a story as anyone's. Living under the public eye since an early age and with all of the scrutiny that followed him in his later years had to have contributed to his sad story and sadder ending. His sudden death is a shock to many and I'm sure we'll be hearing much more about this tragic figure's life for months and years to come.
So long Sidekick
These two sad news items cannot go by without an honorable mention to Mr. Ed McMahon. Though not as heartrending as the deaths of Farrah and Michael (he was around much longer than his two, much younger counterparts), Ed was an integral part of the fabric of American culture of the twentieth century. I'll bet that Johnny has already begun his new version of the "Tonight Show" somewhere out there now that his sidekick has returned to his side.
So, so long Farrah, Michael, and Ed. This week we've lost three treasures, and each will be sorely missed by many!