I am not one for creating end of year lists. Top 10 Movies, songs, TV shows, Bands, CD's, Books. Any of that stuff. I have nothing against it per se. But I just don't typically do it. No time, no inclination. One exception to this is my top 10 Buffy Episodes which is causing me a lot of anxiety as I am having a lot of trouble limiting it to 10. I am also thinking of starting on my favourite movies of all time, but that too is proving a little difficult to limit.
One list I am comfortable with is the Celebrity Death List. Go figure. Because, was it just me, or did a lot of famous people die this year? I mean come on, it seemed like nearly every day there was a either a celebrity or a celebrity adjacent death. This is by absolutely no means an exhaustive list of those famous people who have passed away this year. It is simply those that have impacted me in some way.
Ricardo Montalban - January 14th
Natasha Richardson - March 18th
Andy Hallett - March 29th
Bea Arthur - April 25th
Charles "Bud" Tingwell - May 15
Ed MacMahon - June 23rd
Farah Fawcett - June 25th
Michael Jackson - June 25th
Walter Kronkite - July 17th
John Hughes - August 6th
Senator Edward Kennedy - August 25th
Dominick Dunne - August 26th
DJ AM - August 28th
Patrick Swayze - September 14th
Brittany Murphy - December 20th
The pictures are in the order of their death. There are a ton of reasons why these people impacted me life in come way. And you likley haven't heard of a few of them. But these are the famous or at least famous to me people who died in 2009.
Andy Hallett passed away at the age of 33 from heart failure. Outside of the world of Whedon, most people likley had no idea who he was. But to me, he was Lorne from Angel. Charles "Bud" Tingwell was in at least one episode of every television program I watched growing up as a child in Australia. He was a veteran of the Australian acting community and was given a state funeral when he passed away from complications due to Prostate Cancer.
Some of these deaths were shocking - MJ, Brittany Murphy, Natasha Richardson and DJ AM were definitely huge surprises of the sad variety. Others such as Farrah Fawcett and Patrick Swayze were the result of very valiantly fought public battles with Cancer. Others still bring back memories of my childhood - watching Fantasy Island & The Golden Girls.
But the death that impacted me the most this year was hands down John Hughes. His films defined my teenage years. The Breakfast Club will most definitely be on my top 10 movie list (when I get around to writing it). As a filmaker John Hughes was able to speak to a teen audience in a way I have rarely seen since. Teen movies these day are typically wild and wacky sex romps where the dorky guy/girl struggles to overcome their dorkiness, but ultimately triumphs over said dorkiness and ends with the girl/boy of his/her dreams. And there is normally a mean girl/boy who gets their comeuppance in some hilarious manner. It is the same formula for every movie that is made. And I find it pretty insulting. Granted, some of them are entertaining. But they condescend to the audience and tell the same sad tired jokes and delliver the same tired message.
I feel honoured to have been a part of the John Hughes generation of movies. I know that it was unlikley that he would have made another movie. But now, with his tragic death at the age of 59, that will never happen. And that makes me so very sad. Before Hughes died, 4 young filmakers set out to find the notoriously reclusive Hughes. Their film, Don't You Forget About Me is a final love letter to John Hughes. I just wish that we could write more.
Did I leave anyone off? Is there a celebrity death that impacted you the way John Hughes impacted me? Sound out in the comments people! Lemme know you are out there.