Thursday, July 2, 2009

Farewells

In the last week-and-a-half:

Ed McMahon - Pancho Sanza to Johnny Carson's Don Quixote.

Farrah Fawcett - The poster. The year on Charlie's Angels. The incredible acting chops shown in The Burning Bed. The courage to show the world what cancer had done to her.

Karl Malden - The Streets of San Francisco. "American Express. Don't leave home without it."

Billy Mays - The pitchman's pitchman. Without him, we wouldn't know about OxiClean, Orange Glo, or Mighty Putty. Whether that's a good thing is left as an exercise for the attentive reader.

Michael Jackson - I debated saying anything about this strange, strange man, but his influence on pop culture through his music and his dance is undeniable. I divide his life into halves, for the sheer joy of the music he made with his brothers and on his first two solo albums; then, for his increasing weirdness and creepiness. And he was aware of it. I'm almost certainly paraphrasing what I heard in an old interview with him, but he said he was happiest performing on stage and most uneasy trying to interact with the common people. He was, in the end, what his father labored mightily to to create.

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