Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Strange Day

June 25, 2009 was a strange and unusual day. Two of the most famous people of all time passed away within just a few hours of each other. One from cancer and the other from an apparent cardiac arrest, attributed to what is still being determined.

Farrah Fawcett went first on that day. After a three year, heroic battle with cancer, Farrah flew away from this life as only an angel could. She was a phenomenon. Back in the 70’s, Farrah embodied what it was to be a dream girl. That iconic poster of her in the red swimsuit, with her gorgeous hair flowing naturally down on her shoulders, and that alluring smile, remains one of the most famous celebrity images of all time. That poster sold somewhere around twelve million copies back then and it firmly ensconced Farrah as a superstar.

I remember watching her on Charlie’s Angels and thinking about what a beautiful lady she was. All three of them were gorgeous. That show was a hit right out of the box and when Farrah left after only one season as a regular it never truly recovered from her departure. It remained popular and her yearly guest starring roles were always much anticipated, but without Farrah the Angels seemed to have lost some of their oomph and it was never the same again.

In the 80’s, Farrah continued on with her career almost effortlessly. It was the 1984 TV movie The Burning Bed that brought her to the masses in a way like she had never been presented before. Dramatic roles such as this one were not what the public was used to seeing from Farrah Fawcett. This turned out to be her niche and she went on to become a major player in film thanks to this hit. Other attractions, such as Extremities, Poor Little Rich Girl, and Murder In Texas, kept her at the top of her game.

Her personal life was almost as exciting as her career. Married first to actor Lee Majors, she would make him the most envied man in America, and then after their divorce she spent most of the rest of her life with Ryan O’Neal. She and Ryan had a son together in the late 80’s, Redmond. Three years ago, Farrah went public with her fight against anal cancer and she was soon seen as a hero to millions.

Back in May, NBC aired the documentary Farrah’s Story and over nine million viewers tuned in to see her fight. She sought treatment in Germany and here in the US, and enjoyed a short lived remission before the cancer came back. When her death was announced, an entire generation shed tears. Farrah Fawcett was gone.

A few hours later, the world was rocked again by the news that Michael Jackson was also dead. At 50, Michael was perhaps the biggest star in the world. This man also captivated the globe and became as famous for his eccentricity as he was for anything he ever sang. His name was synonymous with the bizarre. All that plastic surgery, years spent traveling with a chimpanzee named Bubbles, marriages to Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, allegations of child molestation, acquittal in 2005 from these charges, fathering three children, selling millions of records for more than thirty years, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, The Jackson 5, and on and on. Michael Jackson certainly lived a storied life.

I remember seeing him on TV when I was a kid. It was him and his brothers back then. The Jackson 5 was one of the most successful family acts of all time. They topped charts five times and became household names, with each member attracting his own following. I still have several of my J5 LP’s and singles. They were so exciting to listen to, and they still are today, and Michael’s youthful voice gave the group that zest it needed to go to the top. He was without a doubt the ingredient that made them sizzle.

I got disenchanted with Michael after the success of Thriller. All the weirdness and all that strange behavior put me off. The way his appearance changed so drastically over the years almost made him unrecognizable to the boy he had once been. I remember hearing somewhere that he was trying to make himself look like Diana Ross. Miss Ross must have been shocked by that. He didn’t look anything like her. Yet it was no secret that Diana was one of Michael’s heroes and their relationship has always been the stuff of tabloid heaven. Michael also sought out and became friends with other female superstars, like Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, who he reportedly tried to emulate as well.

It was the Michael of the last two decades that really came to define him though. That often shocking appearance was almost too much at times. Scandal plagued him from the time the allegations of child molestation began and even after he was acquitted of them. He lost the blackness of his skin and developed a bleached white color, which he blamed on vitiligo. All those nose jobs made his face look misshapen. He was rumored to be in dire financial straits the last few years, having sold off many of his most famous possessions, like the Beatles’ catalogue of hits, not to mention his beloved Neverland Ranch. His three children were shielded from the world, tutored privately, and usually wore masks when they went out. It was all a very strange spectacle and the audience was the whole world.

Michael was about to embark on a comeback when he died so suddenly. He had planned fifty shows in England, all of which were sold out, between July of this year and March of next. The money he was expected to make from these appearances would have put him back in ermine on the financial side of his life. Yet this was not to be. Sometime in the early afternoon of June 25, he collapsed and was found unresponsive at home. Paramedics were summoned and CPR was administered, but it was in vain. Michael was pronounced dead within two hours of being taken to UCLA Medical Center.

With the deaths of these two icons, not to mention that they were two of the most famous people of all time, within hours of each other, the world was rocked by the events of June 25th and nobody is ever going to forget what they were doing on this day. It will go down in history.

I feel sad about both losses because these people were parts of my life. I didn’t know either one of them on a personal level but having watched their stardom and having admired their respective bodies of work I could not not be in awe of them. It’s like a piece of my youth passes away any time someone I grew up with dies, and this was a double shot of it.

My thoughts are with the families of both Farrah and Michael. Their losses are felt by fans everywhere, but the loved ones they leave behind are going to be hurting for a long, long time. Death is never easy and when the deceased also happens to be a superstar there is little consideration for the survivors of their deaths. How sad that in this tolerant world there has to be such an invasion of privacy as this.

Yes, June 25, 2009 was a strange day. It’s certainly not one I’m going to forget. I hope Farrah flew away into joy, and I hope Michael finds the peace in death that he never seemed to have in life. They both deserve a happy ending, don’t you think?
And that is my sole focus for now.

2 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Pimental said...

I don't know why I just received the RSS feed update in my email now. Probably better: that day was a whirlwind and admittedly, I was watching the TV to see events unfold. Anyway, as usual, Carey, a deft touch shown here in writing this. You're such a quick and easy read.

Chris

June 28, 2009 at 5:41 AM  
Blogger Carey said...

Thanks, Chris. Looking back at last Thursday, it was like being in the looking glass, eh? Sort of reminded me of the day Elvis died.

June 28, 2009 at 6:07 AM  

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