Sunday, August 06, 2017

Z is for Zevon

Warren Zevon was 56 when he died in 2003 but his songs have such a wicked sense of humor that I’m including him anyway. He was way cooler than I will ever be and frankly - I’m okay with that.

Y is for Yates

Paula Yates was 40 when she died of a heroin overdose in 2000. She was famous pretty much for being famous but her credits included being married for almost 10 years to rocker Bob Geldof. The closest I've come to Sir Bob is occasionally belting out "I Don't Like Mondays" - un-creatively enough - on Mondays.

X is for Malcom

Complicated political figure Malcom X was 39 in 1965 when he was assassinated in New York City. This quote is attributed to him and holds a lot of water given today’s politics: "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."

W is for Wilde

No one has ever asked me this question, “if you could have any celebrity, living or dead, to your house for dinner who would you choose?” If anyone did ask, I might answer, Oscar Wilde. It’s true that I haven’t read Walden but I have read “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
Oscar Wilde died in 1900 at age 46, three years after being imprisoned for “gross indecency with men.” Arresting and jailing someone because they are gay seems about as far-fetched as having a portrait in one’s attic that becomes aged, old, and ugly, while its owner stays ever youthful.

V is for von Richthofen

WWI Flying Ace Manfred von Richthofen, otherwise known as the Red Baron, was 25 when he was killed over France in 1918. His death was a severe blow to German war morale. I myself am afraid to fly. Technically he belongs under the letter “R” but I really wanted to include Gilda Radner.

U is for Uncle

Uncle Buck (aka John Candy) was 43 when he died in 1994. Who didn’t love John Candy? John Candy was born in Ontario in 1950. I too have Canadian ancesetry.

T is for Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was only 44 when he died in 1862. His book “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” was published in 1854. It has never been out of print. I confess that I've started but never finished "Walden" but I’ve been to the pond.
Thoreau would have turned 200 this year.

S is for Sutcliffe

Stuart Sutcliffe was the original bass player for the Beatles. He left the band to pursue a career as a painter but died when he was just 21 of an aneurysm. It’s debatable, really, whether he accomplished more in his life that I have thus far, hell I’ve painted and strummed a guitar but until I started researching for this list the only ex-Beatle I’d heard of was Pete Best who is still very much alive.
My favorite Beatles song is "In My Life."

R is for Radner

It's always something.
Comedian Gilda Radner was 42 when she died of ovarian cancer in 1989. I enjoyed her character Roseanne Roseannadanna on Saturday Night Live even though I knew a few people who took my name and dubbed me “Roseanne Roseannadanna Joanna Briana.“

Q us for Queen

Queen Nefertiti was 40 when she died in 1330 BC. She was married to the pharaoh Akhenaten who ruled during one of the wealthiest periods of Egyptian history. It’s rumored that after Akhenaten’s death she ruled Egypt herself before the accession of King Tut. You go girl!

P is for Phoenix

According to Wikipedia, River Phoenix’s work included 14 films and television appearances and yet he only lived to be 24. My personal favorite was Phoenix as Chris Chambers in “Stand By Me,” which hit the screens in the summer of 1986 while I was deep into my Stephen King phase. “The Body” was one of King’s rare - non-scary - works.

O is for Orwell

George Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950 when he was 46 years old.
I read both “Animal Farm” and “1984” in 1992, when I was 24.