Thursday, May 12, 2005


James Dean has been in the news lately, which is fairly impressive for someone who’s been dead for nearly half a century. I’m not sure exactly why he’s been popping up on the media radar--it’s probably the anniversary of something, but not his death,which did take place 50 years ago, 1955, but in September, a bit of trivia that I possess only because of friend and comedian Larry “Bubbles” Brown, who was born on the very day Dean was killed--the only thing that he has, or possibly could have, in common with James Dean.

In any case, a couple of these tributes to Dean included one of the great expressions of raw optimism in human history:
“Just think what he might have done if only he’d lived.”

Someone, somewhere will utter that wistful incantation whenever we land on a calendar date that coincides with some popular dead celebrity’s “premature” demise--John F. Kennedy, John Candy, Tupac Shakur, David Koresh (you know who your idols are). But that may be giving the famed departed too much benefit of the doubt. Look at all the celebrated figures who peaked early and then went into long, embarrasing declines: Kevin Costner, Elton John, Jerry Brown, Whoopi Goldberg, etc. Like Elvis, some of our fallen heroes may have died not a moment too soon, image-wise. When you consider the possible condition many of them might actually be in now, their lives today could be even more depressing than their deaths were. For example...


Age: 37.
Current Occupation/Activity: Assistant Director, U.S. Army Band
Pivotal Event: After near-overdose on heroin in 1994, joined the Army for “some desperately-needed discipline and order in my life.”
Career Highlight: Personally meeting Charlton Heston while performing at George W. Bush’s 2001 Inaugural Ball.
Controversy: Wife Courtney Love’s 1995 death due to blunt trauma from repeated blows with guitar, ruled a suicide.
Recent Achievement: Wrote “Battle Hymn For Dutch” in honor of late President Ronald Reagan.
Personal Hero: Ted Nugent.
Quote: “Give me a clean, crisp uniform and a Sousa march and I’m in heaven.”


Age: 46.
Current Occupation/Activity: Founder and owner, Vicious Circle Bible School, Branson, Mo.
Pivotal Event: Claimed to have met, spoken with, and “got the Holy Spirit pounded up me arse” by Jesus Christ during an extended ecstasy binge, 1981.
Career Highlight: Baptized by Johnny Cash during their joint appearance at the Nebraska State Fair, 1983.
Controversy: Criticized for series of mass burnings of CDs and other recordings by Eminem, Michael Jackson, Prince and other “devil music” performers.
Recent Achievement: Organized a “Christian intervention to bring Glen Campbell back to glory.”
Personal Hero: Billy Graham.
Quote: “Wanking is just a way of hitchhiking to hell.”


Age: 61.
Current Occupation: Assistant manager, Transient Vista Trailer Court, Stockton, California.
Pivotal Event: Voice became so painfully raspy that numerous listeners’ hearing was permanently impaired, ending her singing career in 1976.
Career Highlight: Induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 1995.
Controversy: Arrested for drunk and disorderly, indecent exposure, and soliciting sex acts at her induction ceremony into the R&R Hall of Fame.
Recent Achievement: Hit the California Lottery for $16,000, which she plans to spend on dental work.
Personal Hero: Fran Drescher.
Quote: “Sixteen grand! Hot damn! Can’t wait to hab teef again.”


Age: 55.
Current Occupation/Activity: Member, Utah state Moral Standards Board; Chairman, CADD (Comedians Against Drunk Driving).
Pivotal Event: Deeply shocked by the 1980 death of friend Robin Williams due to substance abuse, moved to Salt Lake City and became an outspoken proponent of “clean and sober living.”
Career Highlight: Led nationwide sponsor boycott that forced “abuse friendly” TV shows Cheers and Saturday Night Live off the air.
Controversy: Publicly vilified for hypocrisy by ex-partner Dan Aykroyd: “It’s pathetic. John’s been about as funny as a high colonic since he dried out.”
Recent Achievement: Won state GOP nomination to run for Utah Attorney General.
Personal Hero: Donny Osmond.
Quote: “I love brother Aykroyd, but I fear I’ll wind up attending his funeral.”


Age: 64
Current Occupation/Activity: Entertainment, real estate, and gambling mogul.
Pivotal Event: After barely surviving a 1980 assassination attempt, renounced “all that peace-and-love claptrap” to embrace a life of material wealth and self-indulgent hedonism.
Career Highlight: 1991 nationwide “Our Way” tour with Frank Sinatra and Wayne Newton.
Controversy: Purchased the alleged Sacred Shroud of Turin for $6,000,000, which he had made into a halter top as a wedding gift for wife number four, Madonna.
Recent Achievement: Purchase of Playboy mansion from Hugh Hefner to celebrate the opening of his newest “All You Need Is Luck” casino.
Personal Hero: Donald Trump.
Quote: “I’m richer than Jesus and it’s bloody great. I can’t even imagine not having all my possessions. So shoot me.”


Age: 73.
Current Occupation/Activity: “Cranky old oilman” character in “Giant portions” TV ad campaign for Denny’s restaurants.
Pivotal Event: Incredibly miscast in a series of resounding and costly flops (“Gigi,” “Dr. No,” “The Music Man,” “The Pink Panther,” “Shaft”), his film career ends when he is turned down for a part in ”Police Academy 3.”
Career Highlight: Replaced the late Cliff Arquette (“Charlie Weaver”) on Hollywood Squares, 1975-77.
Controversy: Notorious and ill-fated “marriage” to fellow actor Sal Mineo, 1978.
Recent Achievement: Re-qualified for AFTRA health coverage and medical benefits.
Personal Hero: Dick Van Dyke.
Quote: “Hell, I’m just happy to have the work. Anyway, it beats what Brando’s doing these days.”


Martin Luther King, 75: After the civil rights movement lost popular momentum, became a millionaire with his chain of “Dem Bones” BBQ restaurants... denounced by Bill Cosby and other black militants for selling the company to Phillip Morris ...says “I had a dream, and this is pretty much it. Let him who is without sin make me a better offer.”

Robert F. Kennedy, 79: After 1971 assassination of younger brother Teddy, became an obsessive, lifelong proponent of the death penalty...officiated at his 200th execution last May...awarded Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush...says “Some see the gas chamber and ask ‘Why?’ I see the gas chamber and ask ‘Why not?’”

Jimi Hendrix, 62: His health nearly ruined by rock stardom, joined with Jim Morrison to form hugely successful duo writing and performing ad jingles for Texaco, CitiBank, Kelloggs...vitriolic breakup when each claimed credit for Clio-winning “You Can’t Handle My Whopper” for Burger performs at High School assemblies sponsored by Planned Parenthood...denies rumors that it was he who gave AIDS to Buddy Holly.

Marilyn Monroe, 78: Ballooned up to 260 pounds after brutal beating at the hands of Jackie Kennedy and banishment from White House in 1966...completed a grueling weight-loss program at Liz Taylor Self Esteem Clinic...arrested for stalking Martin a new line of signature “sexy seniors” caftans at Wal-Mart.


Blogger ....J.Michael Robertson said...

I could be wrong, but I think hearing this read aloud would result in moments when the laughter would drown the sound of your voice. Which, when I think about it, (insert snark here).

May 16, 2005 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger NicoleW said...

Hi, a nice blog you have here. You will surely get an bookmark :) Fleshlight

February 27, 2006 at 7:52 AM  

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