Ed McMahon. You know, I wasn't allowed to watch TV as a kid, so I'd try and sneak as MUCH TV as I could when my father was out of town (a few weeks a year) and my mother was drunk (half the year). On weeknights, I'd stay up and watch the Tonight Show. I remember Ed used to get drunk sometimes. There were a few times when he'd be oh-so-slightly off his game in that way that those with an alcoholic parent understood. Johnny was always tactful, but there was some nudging here and there when things got out of hand. Then it became a huge joke about Ed's drinking, even LONG after that had stopped being an issue. When I got married, takayla and I would watch Johnny every night until his very last show in 1992. It was kind of sad to see Ed's last work was Cash4Gold.com, cashing in on his notoriety as being broke-ass.
Which leads me to Farrah Fawcett. I was never into her as a teen much, although many of my male peers went through a lot of tissues and lotion with her bright white grimace and curled hair posted on their walls. My type of girl was more Lalla Ward from Dr. Who or Diana Rigg with The Avengers: nerdy and smart with much ass-kicking. While I did watch my share of "Charlie's Angels," I was never really into "Jiggle TV" as much as my friends were. I never knew how real any of her life was, but like anyone who made a career on good looks, age was her mortal enemy.
Last but not least is the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, whom despite all his craziness, I had a soft spot for. I thought he made a lot of mistakes, don't get me wrong, but the pressure on his life was enormous which would fell even the best of us if we had to submit to such a lifestyle. This is especially true to those of us with terrible childhoods like Micahel's. There was one film by him I recall, "Moonwalker," which has a sequence in it where Michael has to rescue kids from a mobster and somehow he turns into a massive fighter jet robot at the end, saving everybody in an almost rage-like sequence. If you have suffered child abuse AND were gifted with imagination and creativity, the entire sequence makes a whole lot of sense at a deeper level. I can't describe it, but I felt I understood his pain after that film. I don't think he was ever a pedophile; I don't even think that was in his psychological makeup. I think he was trying to rescue his own inner child and siblings the entire time from the memory of his dad's abuse. But he made some bad choices, magnified by his fame and money, which led to his downfall and inability to explain why he liked children. It is today's society where liking children a lot leads to people who eventually think you want to have sex with them. I blame it on the whole "love = sex" fixation the western media has, as if sex is the inevitable conclusion to anything you love a whole lot (including bubble wrap). But that's another rant. A few months ago, I put in some MJ into my iPod rotation, and recall while listening to "Thriller," "Leave me Alone," "Black or White," and "Scream," just why he was called the King of Pop. He was truly a gifted song artist and performer, and like Elvis and the Beatles, represents an entire voice and generation like no other.
All three of these people had friends and family who loved them, and they will be missed. I hope most of their past issues get exonerated, or at least learned from.