Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Farrah and Michael

Yesterday was truly a sad day in the entertainment world. Two pop icons passed. One death was expected, the other was a complete shock.

Farrah Fawcett passed away from cancer at age 62. She fought it courageously and with dignity.

Farrah's passing affected me. While it was no surprise, given her recent documentary detailing her journey through this illness, hearing early yesterday morning that she was in grave condition caused me to stop and think about what she represented for me.

Charlie's Angels was the first television show that I can remember calling my favorite show. I know I watched television before 1976, but I can't name one single show that I watched with regularity. Every Monday night I would glue myself to the floor in front of my TV and for that hour I was captivated by those three crime fighting women. I admired their strength and inginuity, and their hair. I loved Farrah on the show, I had a t-shirt with the famous poster image on it. While she was only on the show for one season, she left a lasting impression on this young boy.

She left to seek opportunities in film. She acted in a few, but eventually earned praise for her role in "The Burning Bed," a film about a battered woman who seeks revenge on her husband.

She worked sporatically, while at the same time creating a stir in Hollywood with her long-time relationship with Ryan O'Neal. They never married, but had a son together.

Farrah definitely could be seen as a bit eccentric. She posed for Playboy at 50, her layout featured her painting with her body. A famous appearance on the David Letterman Show depicted her as incoherent and perhaps under the influence.

Whatever she did in life, she gained attention. Even up until the last few months of her life, her signature long blond hair was present.

The documentary that was filmed during her illness depicted her as determined to fight, yet grounded. She cared about her fans, she displayed such a love for her family and her friends and they loved her.

Now, she is at peace, no more suffering, no more pain. If there is a heaven, I hope she will be an Angel, again.

The OH MY GOD news of the day was the death of Michael Jackson. I was at the gym, and I saw a news story on CNN that he had been taken to UCLA Medical Center because of an apparent Cardiac Arrest. While driving home, news reports were not sounding very good, TMZ was the first to report that he had died. Shortly after arriving home, more news outlets were reporting that he was in fact dead. At about 5:30 Chicago time, the three networks had all received confirmation that he was dead. CNN finally reported it just after 6 pm.

I was never a big Michael Jackson fan. I knew about the Jackson 5 when I was young, I think I even had one of their records (there's a term from the past!) which I played on my little portable record player. I didn't think much about him until the album "Off The Wall" was released. My sister Georgette, 7 years older than me, loved music and spent her allowance buying albums. "Off The Wall" was one of those record albums and as a result I heard it and I liked it. I listened to it on occasion (even though I wasn't supposed to touch Georgette's stereo or her records - guess I just confessed!).

When "Thriller" was released, I was in a different part of the music spectrum. I liked "new wave" and British influenced pop music. But, the nice thing about radio at that time was that everybody whow was making good music had a place on the same radio station so it was inevitible that I would hear songs off of Michael's latest album. Soon, that's all I was hearing on the radio, the album spanwned so many singles (another term from the past!), I think some of the b-sides (there's yet another term from the past!) became singles. (Wow, this is becoming a history lesson, too!) Still, I was not fully on board with Jackson mania. I appreciated what he accomplished, admired his artistry in his music videos and I enjoyed the fact that he recruited artists from other genres to record with him. Still, I never bought his albums.

Then he started to become weird. His appearance changed, he began doing things that one could not tell if they were for publicity, or if he was just so out of touch that he knew no better. He built an amusement park on his estate, and began hanging out with a chimpanzee named Bubbles. He palled around with Elizabeth Taylor. He married Lisa Marie Presley, and made out with her on stage at the MTV VMAs. He divorced her, married someone else, then had babies with her. He dangled one of those babies over a balcony. He was accused of child molestation but was eventually aquitted. He moved to Dubai.

I'm sad that he's dead, I understand the contributions he made to the music industry, and I know he had hundreds of millions of fans around the world. Yet, I'm not as moved by his death as I am by Farrah's. I do hope he is at peace now.

1 comment:

Beth said...

it's all so sad. Both were great sad.