Sunday, January 10, 2010

Celebrity Death Match

The latest casualty of Hollywood B-listers is Brittany Murphy.  Dare I go to hell in a handbasket?  Yes!  Ok, here I go: the only surprise that Brittany Murphy died of cardiac arrest came from the fact that the American public had long forgotten about her since 8 Mile resurrected her career for 2.5 seconds eight years ago and surprise! I forgot she was even alive...
Now that I may have offended some, let’s keep going.  2009 seemed to be a big year for celebrity deaths: Murphy, Natasha Richardson, DJ AM, David Carradine, and the more legendary losses of Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, and Farrah Fawcett.  For fans like myself, knowing that the King of Pop would never perform again was upsetting and unbelievable.  And knowing that DJ AM would only be spinning on turntables in the sky made me wonder if he was actually a DJ or if he thought the name was rad.  So why does the fact that these people are remotely famous make their deaths seem more tragic? 

In 2009 the American Cancer Society predicted that 1,500 Americans would die each day of cancer and according to 85,000 died from alcohol related causes and 17,000 from illicit drug use.  People are dying every day but we don’t hear their stories.  Most of the celebrities that died last year I was unfamiliar with or could care less about, but their mug shot was on every channel I surfed to.  And there are a lot of other celebrities I could really live without (coughkanyewestcough). 

True celebrity is reached when you can make people feel that they personally know you when they have never met you, which makes mourning the loss of them understandable.  But when esteemed news stations and reporters redirect all their focus on these celebrity deaths I get annoyed.  We get so caught up in Joe Jackson’s deranged actions post-Michael that we forget there’s a real world going on around us and prescription drug abuse and overdose are real issues in America.  I say enough about a gal whose claim to fame was a box office flop with Dakota Fanning!
And while my handbasket is riding a river of fiery rapids I ask you, do celebrities bring death upon themselves?  In a grim reaper way I think so.  Brittany Murphy was the charming and chubby guest star of my favorite movie of all time, Clueless.  And if it weren’t for the success of Scrubs and (giggle) Law and Order 2007 and beyond, she would be the most successful actor from the 1995 piece of Oscar-worthy gold.  But there just aren’t enough charming and chubby roles in Hollywood anymore so, by the looks of things, Murphy took an unhealthy route to achieve her barely-alive figure and voila! Just Married.  To say that I’m surprised that her body shut down would be a lie. 

The lifestyles that celebrities are pressured into are often destructive ones, and the fact that Perez Hilton and exist means that we will hear about their deaths more and more.  Our obsession with celebrity deaths will remain, but let’s try making an effort to run/walk in a Race for the Cure or donate our time to a local nursing home.  Because there are a lot of unknown celebrities that we lose every day.