No! Not Another One Gone!

Ever heard that celebrity deaths come in threes?

I don’t know if that is scientifically true, but lately famous people from my childhood are passing away left and right. And the more I think about, the more distressing it is. I grew up with these people. They were on television entertaining my great aunts, my mom, and a very young me. Or they were making history or teaching me skills like counting. I felt like I knew them.

Not to mention that their deaths remind me of that old adage – Life. No one gets out alive.

Case in Point (and this is not an all-inclusive list, just from the past week or two):

Ernest Borgnine: Actor

Younger Son: “Isn’t he Mermaid Man?”

Me: “Well, yes, but he’s was famous for so much more. I remember him from McHale’s Navy. I used to watch it when I was kid.”

Younger Son: “But he was Mermaid Man too.”

Me: “Yes. And he won an Oscar in the 1950s for Marty.”

Younger Son: “Do you remember that? Did you see that movie when it first came out?”

Me: I think, how old does this kid think I am? My out loud answer: “No. How old do you think I am? Call your grandmother and ask her.”

Younger Son: “He was in Red, wasn’t he? That old guy in the vault.”


Phyllis Diller: Comedian

Younger Son: “She seems familiar.”

Me: “You know her because she’s the voice of Peter Griffin’s mom on Family Guy. Oh, she was the Ant Queen in A Bug’s Life.”

Younger Son: “Do remember her from when her career started?”

Me: “She was 92 when she died. Do the math!”

Ron Palillo – Arnold Horshack, Welcome Back Kotter.

Younger Son (in mock girlie voice): “Oh no, not him too.”

Yes, he was making fun of me because by this point, I was whining.

Jerry Nelson: The Count from Sesame Street

Younger Son: “Oh, that’s too bad.”

I wait for him to ask me the inevitable question.

Younger Son: “Do you remember him on Sesame Street, Mom?”

Me: “Yes!” Now, I need to add that Younger Son hated puppets so he never watched Sesame Street or anything with people in costumes. He was totally scared of them. We went to Disney World when he was about three and he freaked out. It was not a happy time for him. That place is infested with giant costumed characters!

Neil Armstrong: First man on the Moon

Younger Son, ever the comedian: “So Mom, do you remember the moon landing?”

Me (after an aggravated sigh), “Not really. I was a toddler at the time.”

So this leaves to me wonder – how will I really feel when my contemporaries pass on (from old age)? I shudder at the thought!

I can already imagine the conversation, hopefully in the far, far distant future.

Younger Son: “Oh no!” said in a mock girlie voice. “Not Brad Pitt!”

Me: “Nooooo!”

Then I really will feel old.

How about you? Anyone else feeling the same way?


11 thoughts on “No! Not Another One Gone!

  1. I was just thinking about this yesterday. I am the same age as Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Marissa Tomei, and most of the Brat pack. When I see them, I think, “I’m in good company. We’re all holding up pretty well–considering they have the advantage of Botox and plastic surgeries to keep them all looking young and beautiful. I was hit hard, though when Whitney Houston died at 48. It really brings home the fragility of life and how it can end for any one of us at any time. The oldies will be missed. They are such a part of our generation and our frame of reference for our childhood. Sad to see them go. Loved Ernest Borgnine–remember The Poseidon Adventure? Classic!

  2. Yep. It especially saddens me when a classic actor from the “golden era” dies (1930’s-50’s). Somewhere online there is a list of who is still alive from then and some of them are surprising (that they’re still around, that is). They were the first generation of modern entertainment as we know it and with every one that passes, that era seems to fade further and further away.

  3. Hey, don’t feel bad. I know who all these people are–have watched all of them–and I KNOW I’m not old (well, I am to my students, but they’re 3-12. 20 is ancient). 🙂

    1. I don’t think we are that old either Meggan! As I often have to remind my youngest son. I think he knows it and just likes to torment me.

  4. The Count? Oh no! I’ve been reading about a number of celebrities committing suicide lately. Very sad. And yes, I see the celebrities my parents admired passing away. One of these days it will be our Brad Pitt generation.
    That’s life, for better or for worse.
    Phyllis Diller lived much longer than I think she ever expected to.

    1. I’m sad to say, I didn’t know the Count’s name until his voice actor died. And totally agree – Phyllis had a long, amazing life!

  5. I’m old enough to remember all these people and my grandchildren think I’m older than dirt. But the thing I like to remember is you’re as old as you feel, so I guess I’m still really young.

    1. Didn’t Billy Crystal have a character that said, “Isn’t matter how you feel? It’s how you look?” Or do I have that backwards? Anyway, I couldn’t agree more. I always think I’m younger than I am. I hope that’s a good thing.

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