Thursday, September 17, 2009


Film director/screenwriter John Hughes drops dead on a New York sidewalk of a heart attack at 59. Poet/songwriter Jim Carroll working at his desk from a heart attack at 60. Carter presidential Press Secretary Jodie Powell from a heart attack at 67. Movie star and dancer Patrick Swayze from cancer at 57 (here's a sweet appreciation of Swayze on Cool Birth). Political activist and union heroine Crystal Lee Sutton aka "Norma Rae" dead of cancer at 68. Actor and poet Henry Gibson from cancer at 73. Now singer Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary fame dead from leukemia at 72.

All these well known public figures and more seem to be dropping like flies in recent days and weeks. What I see happening is the same thing that happened back in the '50s with rock'n'roll and the '60s with radical politics and the spread of "recreational" drug use, and so on through the decades that the "Baby Boomers" have dominated demographically.

There are those who came just before them and pioneered some of the outstanding changes in politics and music and culture in general etc. Followed by that big population bump of the boomers who made the changes seemingly universal, at least for a while (as in "everybody's doing it" rather than the hip few among the pioneers etc.).

Now that the boomers run is heading toward the ultimate eclipse, it seems once again their immediate forerunners are paving the way for the deluge to come in the "famous deaths" department.

Gibson and Travers and Powell and Sutton were all part of the pioneer generation in culture and politics (though they weren't really trendsetters or cutting edge innovators in their fields, more like popularizers of what the innovators were doing) and Hughes, Carrol and Swazye belong to the first wave of baby boomers now heading into retirement and beyond.

So what I'm thinking is, as with everything else the boomers have had anything to do with, because of their vast numbers the number of "celebrity" deaths is going to become a trend before too long and this current run of sad departures is just the beginning.


Ed Baker said...

every day
before my
4 cups of
(poison) coffee
4 different "life saving"
blood pressure, 3 different cholesterol

LDL lowering pills

5 diffwerent pills to save my liver and kidneys

from the side effects of those pills

I read the Washington Post's and The New York Times'


to see if I am still here!

my 50 th High School Reunion is this November... over 1/3 of those in my 1959 class now d.e.a.d....

not one of them (besides me) is famous or a trend-setter! most of them are/were lawyers, accountants or dentists

although Annie Leibovitz
went to Northwood about 8 years after me...


I can't say that I am getting nervous about dieing... I am just getting rid of
all of my assets

so I can qualify for medic-aide if necessary!

bottom line? I'll be worth more
after I am dead

TRADEBUM said...

Maybe they are luckier than we feel about their loss. At least they get to go to whatever the hereafter is with each other.

Harryn Studios said...

sad - from our perspective, and for the loss to their families and friends ... my heart goes out to all of them and has seemingly begun to grow with the losses - i guess that's the silver lining if there could be one - i'm spending more time over the past few years being a whole lot less dismissive of the efforts of this huge resource of talent and life experience - less focus on foibles and more appreciative of the nuance of journey - its been a hell of a ride, riddled with experiences we all seem to share[thank you media] ...
i find myself seeking out the artists, writers, and musicians that have been an inspiration over the years or occasionally just running into them to say 'thank you' - most are grateful, and usually they all have/had a sense of duty ...
i guess the front line of consequence is changing ...