Friday, June 4, 2010 at 5:13 AM

Post Mortem on Deaths of Famous People Commentaries

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

A surprising number of readers have inquired why I did not publish commentaries on one or another of the famous people who died recently, including actor Gary Coleman, actor and renaissance man Dennis Hopper, singer Ali Woodson, baseball pitcher Jose Lima and TV host Art Linkletter. Someone even contacted me today to inquire if I was going to comment on yesterday’s death of “Golden Girl” Rue McClanahan.  Yes, forget dying in threes, they’re dying in droves….

Well, that did it. Because, frankly, the last thing I wanted when I began commenting on the deaths of famous people four years ago was to contribute to our culture’s perverse fascination with celebrities. In fact, I only began commenting on them as a lark to propagate the superstition that the deaths of famous people come in threes.

Therefore, with sincere apologies, I hereby declare that henceforth I shall comment only on the deaths of famous people who have made pioneering or extraordinary contributions to mankind.

This is why I commented earlier this year on the deaths of J.D. Salinger, Dorothy Height and Lena Horne. And, with all due respect, it is why I will not be commenting on the deaths of those cited above.

After all, Gary Coleman was famous for saying one thing, “What ‘chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?,” on one TV sitcom, Different Strokes, that went off the air a quarter century ago; Dennis Hopper was more famous for his boozing and hell-raising lifestyle than for anything he ever did as an actor, including his signature art-imitating-life role in Easy Rider; Ali Woodson was one of the Temptations, but Motown produced a stable of such acts during its heyday, my favorite of which is the O’Jays; Jose Lima, well, point made….

Related commentaries:
Deaths of famous people come in threes


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