So here we are in February – normally my least favorite month, but this year it comes as a welcome deliverance from the death parade that was January.
A lot of famous people died last month, or at least it seems that way. In truth it was probably just business as usual. If you look up lists of deaths on Wikipedia, you’ll see that on any given day 10 or 20 or 30 “famous” people die (in this context, that means people famous enough to have Wikipedia pages). So I guess that’s just how it goes – time marches on, the old order gives way to the new, etc. etc.
Of the January deaths, Bowie, of course, was the big one. He will continue to be the big one for the rest of the year, and the rest of the decade, at minimum. The rest were just your regular celebrity deaths, with the notable names including:
– Abe Vigoda (professional old person)
– Alan Rickman (actor)
– Otis Clay (soul singer)
– Glenn Frey (Eagle)
– Vilmos Zsigmond (cinematographer)
– Robert Stigwood (music biz impresario)
– Pat Harrington (a/k/a Schneider)
– Dan Haggerty (a/k/a Grizzly Adams)
– Paul Kantner (musician)
Oddly enough, Kantner was not the only founding member of the Jefferson Airplane to die on January 28, 2016; singer Signe Anderson also passed away that day, though she didn’t get much press.
With all this in mind, I decided to check in on some of the celebrities I worry about. Here are status reports:
Bob Newhart: Still on tour doing standup at 86, apparently sticking to warm-weather locales in the winter months. In January he performed in Cabazon, CA and Naples and Ft. Lauderdale FL. (BTW, for what has to be one of the most minimalist websites ever, check out bobnewhart.com – just a picture of Bob in a sweater and Facebook/Twitter links.)
William Shatner: Crazy busy for an 84-year-old man. The Shat has a new book out about his friendship with Leonard Nimoy; is touring his one-man show Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It; recently narrated a documentary about the Montreal Expos; and is almost painfully active on Twitter.
Bill Murray: Is not, internet hoax to the contrary, running for president, unfortunately. Nor was he actually mentioned in the contract regarding the sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, again unfortunately. Otherwise, he seems to be going about the usual business of being Bill Murray. He recently starred in A Very Murray Christmas and IMDB lists as upcoming The Jungle Book, the new Ghostbusters, and an “Untitled Wes Anderson Project.” Also, tomorrow is Groundhog Day, which has been declared “Bill Murray Day” in Newport News, Virginia.
Steve Martin: Has been doing some shows with Martin Short, as well as playing music with Edie Brickell. He also recently appeared in an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which I haven’t seen yet for some reason I find hard to fathom.
And there you have it, the living and dead celebrity report for today. Now on to new business.