To be honest I was a little apprehensive about doing another celebrity death list this year — not only is it morbid, but I felt that such an endeavor falls short of the quasi-intellectual tenor I gesture towards in this blog. Plus Charles kicks my ass every year. On the other hand, celebrity death allows an unparalleled peek at the awful economics of the fame industry — Charles’ often-brilliant commentary (unfortunately relegated to a long-dormant Myspace profile) parses who’s been unjustly overlooked, who’s been given a token farewell, who had the misfortune of dying in the same week as someone more famous or more beautiful, exposing the merciless side of celebrity (the side that includes, of course, lists such as these). So I’m doing one for 2009 — in any case, I think I’ve gotten better at this and might actually have a decent showing for once.
- Nancy Reagan – Recent hip problems are the fabled “kiss of the death” for the elderly.
- Nate Dogg – Two strokes have left him in a coma.
- Ted Kennedy – News articles are already treating him as a dead man walking.
- Robert Novak — Brain problems, and I don’t mean his Republican affiliation.
- Dick Clark – Eternal teenager no more.
- Dear Abby – Has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for over 10 years.
- Michael Jackson – It’s gotta happen sooner rather than later.
- Jerry Lewis – Hasn’t looked healthy in a while.
- Patrick Swayze – Cancerous.
- Dick Cheney – I think he’s accomplished all the evil he set out to do.
Lots of Republicans on this list — wishful thinking about marking the end of an era?