Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both died yesterday. I’ve been reading the deluge of Facebook and Twitter posts about and I’m struck by how my entire generation feels this personally as a passage of our time into history. Another icon we grew up with is gone, like the cassette tape (I won’t go as far back as the 8-track, although I remember them better than I’d like to admit) and rabbit ears on the TV.
For all of us my age, both Farrah and Michael (excuse the informal first name usage, but I think I can get away with it here) were important figures. I imagine you would be hard pressed to find a single person my age who wasn’t well versed in both of their careers. They were benchmarks of our time and our collective history.
However, today, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Farrah. She fought a tough battle against her cancer and anyone who keeps even vague tabs on such things couldn’t help but mourn a bit over her obvious impending death. She deserved a final moment in the spotlight. However, when stacked up against Michael, her celebrity is an afterthought. The headlines are all his.
It is truly ironic and depressing that someone whose life was defined by the ebb and flow of their public notoriety should be robbed of that final moment. However, it happens. New York magazine’s Daily Intel reviews these occurrences in “The Eclipsed Celebrity Death” and, interestingly, it includes two authors whose deaths were overshadowed in the same way. Both of these men died on the same day, November 22, 1963. Unfortunately for their public legacies, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis had that date of death in common with John F. Kennedy.
R.I.P. Farrah and Michael.