Celebrity deaths. Who cares, right? Yeah, I'm with you. There are just a handful over the years that legitimately made me pause and ticked that near-dormant part of my brain that allows me to feel human emotion. With the loss on Friday of Muhammad Ali - a true icon in every sense of the definition - it got me thinking about what notable celebrities or influences actually "got me in the feels" when they passed. What better place than the Saturday Night Open Thread to discuss this topic?
Spoilers - for me, the list ain't log. Though I'm sure I'll forget a few.
First, Muhammad Ali is definitely a man who I have the utmost respect for, not only for his accomplishments socially and in the world of sports, but because he was a guy who would always fight to get back where he was when he had a setback. That said, FOR ONCE - I'm too young to know what it was like when he was in his prime. Though I've seen all the clips, many documentaries, and heard the anecdotes - unless you experience it at the time, you really can't "feel the loss" if that makes any sense (forgive me, folks - it's raining, I'm alone, and I'm day-drinking).
So with that said, here are a few celebs... well, kinda celebs, that actually made me "feel something" back when I was capable of such nonsense.
Stanley Kubrick - When Kubrick died, I was but a film major graduate of two years, and adored the man and his work despite the bit of a dud of his unfortunate swan song, Eyes Wide Shut. To me, he is the greatest director of all-time and I aspired to be (anything remotely close to) him before I sold out to the man and took a job that would make the 20-something year-old me fly into a violent, murderous rage. Although my favorite movie of all-time remains Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Kubrick probably has at least 2-3 entrants in my top 10. Similar to Ali, I wasn't alive for his "prime", but I was and am intimately familiar with his work, SO LET ME BE SAD BACK IN 1999, OKAY!?!?
George Carlin - Ugh, I miss this man. His influence is so strong that there's no shortage of comedians (and just folks in general) with his world view - but when people throw around the term G.O.A.T., Carlin, for me, embodies that term. I discovered Carlin WAY too young as a kid. I used to hide his tapes under my nightstand. He literally helped to shape my view of the world, my cynicism, my sense of humor, etc. I just love the guy, and I think you can make a legitimate argument that his influence on comedy and comedians is stronger and more palpable than any other entertainer in any other entertainment field.
Dimebag Darrell - The greatest heavy metal guitarist of all-time, and there is no disputing this. Yes, there are some classic hard rock guys who will take exception to this (Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page... Randy Rhodes had he lived longer
), but to me this is a bit of a different category. Even if you weren't a huge Pantera fan (and I can't blame you with Phil Anselmo's voice), you have to recognize the innovation...the originality. The guy was just an out of control wildfire on-stage. When he was shot to death on stage on December 8, 2004 (the same day as John Lennon's death) I was living and working in Los Angeles. It's not like I crumbled to the floor and cried, but I was legitimately shocked. Of course, he ended up having the most "metal" death of any musician EVER... but that's (not at all) a topic for another time. Of course, I look past the fact that he was a huge KISS fan, because KISS is miserable, rotting horsesh*t. I read not long after his death that he was even buried in a KISS casket, which I just simply refuse to believe. That's not real - that's just some bullsh*t [REDACTED POLITICAL FIGURE] made up or something.
Others who make the list, with less detail:
Bum Phillips - again, too young - but it's Bum Phillips.
Kurt Cobain - give me a break - I was a college freshman, and I was all emo and stuff.
Chris Farley - who didn't love Farley? More importantly - why wasn't it David Spade instead?
Paul Walker - no, not really (trash emoji).
Well, I've said too much. I'm sure there are others for me, but honestly - I've had a lot to drink and I have to get the smoker going. So now you're on your own.
I know you are all big, tough guys who are never affected by anything - but be honest - even back to your childhood. Have you ever once been affected by a celebrity death? Of course you have, so don't be all up in here lying.
Share your thoughts, mockery, or whatever you like in the comments below in our Saturday Night Open Thread, and have a great weekend.