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Old 08-12-2014, 07:54 AM   #1
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Default Shocking Departures

I know many were shocked and saddened by the passing of Robin Williams. That got me thinking of the other times where I said, "Wow, no way." I thought I start a thread were we could talk about some of the celebrity deaths that caught you off guard or really took you back.

I'll start with a few:

Steve Irwin - in retrospect, I guess it was only a matter of time. But he had such a connection and way with animals, it was really shocking to me when I heard.

Sam Kinison - he had battled so many demons, and then cleaned himself up, then gets taken out by a random car accident.

Chris Farley - a flame burning too fast and too bright, I guess it was bound to end the way it did

Dale Earnhardt - I'm not a NASCAR fan, but just couldn't believe that he had died in what seemed like such a trivial crash.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:20 AM   #2
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Marilyn Monroe
JFK
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper
John Lennon
Elvis
Janis Joplin
Princess Di
John Belushi
Gilda Radner
John Denver
Andy Gibb
Judy Garland
Natalie Wood
John Ritter
James Gandolfini

... and so many more.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:42 AM   #3
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Princess Di - yes, that was another real shocker for me. Was traveling on a mini-vacation over labor day weekend. Remember watching coverage in the motel room.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:51 AM   #4
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For me, the moment I heard the news is frozen in time. Jason and I were working together, desks side by side, radio on, when they said Princess Di had been in an accident and was trapped in her car in very critical condition. I was in fourth grade when a teacher stuck her head in the door and told our teacher to turn on the tv, the President had been shot. My mother sadly broke the news to my stunned father that Marilyn was dead. I was watching tv when they interrupted the broadcast to say John Lennon had been shot and killed. Even though they were celebrities their untimely deaths were a sharp reminder of our own fragile mortality.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:51 AM   #5
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John Lennon stands out as a biggie.

So does JFK.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:00 AM   #6
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Stevie Ray Vaughan

That sure ruined a few days.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:02 AM   #7
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In my lifetime, the ones that shook me most were:


John Belushi (no surprise, but still... he was my hero)
Princess Di (people my age aren't supposed to die, especially in such a senseless way)
Phil Hartman (what a tragic, hateful waste of immeasurable talent and decency)
Hunter Thompson (no surprise, but still... he was my hero II)
James Gandolfini (people my age aren't supposed to die II)
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:19 AM   #8
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JFK, Lennon, Princess Di, Mark Donahue, though not at all shocked at Williams after I read he had checked himself into rehab.

JFK, a very unhealthy man, in a lot of pain much of his adult life. I thought he wouldn't make it through his presidencies, (thought he would be re-elected), I knew about the Addisons, back issues etc, philandering, sooner or later, though not by a assassin. Who knows the reasons.

Princess Di believed she was marked for assasination by her husband and said as much. Not too happy in her priveleged life, but doing something with her celebrity. Still very shocking. I think the driver was drunk.

Lennon, not a happy guy. Passed by the Dakota in NYC. Crowds devastated. Used to see him in Central Park walking with YOKO. The perils of deluded fans.

Marilyn Monroe a very unhappy woman. Not surprised, read it in the Paris papers. Accidental, but always flirting with death.

Mark Donahue died doing what he loved. He knew the risks driving at those speeds, but he did it since he was a teen and got his first car. Family is always devastated.

I think I was saddest by young John Kennedy. I was at SanFranciso airport heading back to Jersey. He was a good kid. it seemed more shocking, having seen him as a child on his bike. What a damned lot they were. Joe, Kathleen, Jack, Bobbie, young John, and his mother died young too. I thought from too much black hair dye.

I was more shocked by my sons teen aged classmates than by celebrities.

If you are born, you die eventually. Dust to dust.

I've seen too many people die so celebrities I don't know dying isn't shocking. I think people feel connected to those they see on Television and in the movies, as if they were related somehow.

Last edited by lilly; 08-12-2014 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:52 PM   #9
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After I read the Cracked article that Fartacus linked to about why comedians often kills themselves I posted this to my Facebook page.

Quote:
Back in the seventies when I was still a kid there was a television show called "Chico & the Man" that I liked a lot. I was shocked when one of the two leads, a young comedian named Freddie Prinze shot himself. He was so funny to me. I no longer recall where I came across it, but not long after his death I read an article about why comedians so often end up dead at early ages, drink themselves to death, and so on.

Thinking back on it I realized I knew people like that. One killed himself while we were still in school.

I suspect we all have known people like that.

Rich, famous, and so far lost in the dark he could find no other way, but the way Richard Cory took.
I liked Robin Williams as much as anyone, but ever since Freddie Prinze shot himself and I learned a thing or two about depression and its various defensive mechanisms. It has always been in the back of my mind about how bad a person has to be hurting to be so funny.

It can come out in a lot of different ways. Getting a laugh is but one of them.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:25 PM   #10
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I remember the death of Freddie Prinze well. I was in high school, sometimes juggling 2 or 3 part time jobs, and dealing with dysfunctional and unemployed parents. I was on a path to my own rapid spiral downwards into darkness.

I liked his show, when I was able to see it. He always made me laugh on his Tonight Show appearances. I think for me, and perhaps a lot of others like me, he and a young Richard Pryor showed that there was more to comedy, and life, than the Midwestern white-bread existence we had grown up in.

The news of his death hit me very hard, but it was a hit that I needed. It made me realize that there had to be alternatives to just letting the darkness take me. I didn't want to die - I wanted to have a life. And eventually, with some help, I did.

If it's possible for anything positive to come from the tragic suicide of a popular and well loved celebrity, it would be that message.

Don't let the darkness win. You aren't alone. Reach out. Get help. You really can find and have the life that you were meant to live.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:48 PM   #11
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Freddie Mercury hit hard.

This one everyone will think is weird, but even harder hitting for me was the unexpected death this spring of Canada's former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
I suspect we all have known people like that.
I have. He was a print broker, an older man, in his late 50's when I was in my mid 20's. He was a great big bear of a man, ALWAYS in a jovial mood, always optimistic. Everyone loved him. One day I saw him walking to his car and he had a scowl on his face. It wasn't just a scowl... there was a deep, dark, very sad atmosphere about his entire body. He looked crushed. I called out a greeting, expecting him to turn and tell me something terrible had happened. But his face completely changed... he turned into the Happy Guy in front of my eyes. Big smile, big happy greeting, and I realized in that instant he was a very unhappy man, playing a part.

He had a wife and kids. His oldest son was learning the business and would take it over. Once he knew enough, my happy friend drove into a telephone pole in the middle of the night. It was a terrible accident, he was such a nice man.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:21 PM   #13
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John Pinette ..... Loved his comedy. John Candy, too; another great comedy actor.......

Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg........ Their souls live on in their music.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:34 PM   #14
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Mary Travers. That one really shook me up. I don't cry over celebrities, but I did over her. Probably will when Gordon Lightfoot goes too.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:50 PM   #15
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Gordon Lightfoot is getting old. But no matter what his age when he dies, it will be too soon.
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