Random Thoughts on the Randomness of Fate (and Show Biz)
I don't pretend to have anything deep to say here, but I cannot help but note several recent show-biz obituaries. The first is that of Corey Haim, who died under mysterious (or perhaps not so mysterious) circumstances at the age of 38. As a teenager Haim starred in two semi-popular films, "The Lost Boys" and "Lucas," then spent the next 20 years in a blur of drug arrests and straight-to-video work.
Following closely on the news of Haim's death were the obituaries of Peter Graves and Fess Parker, two beloved TV stars who had long and extremely successful careers, and who retained the affection and gratitude of millions of fans throughout their long, happy and dignified lives.
So whose demise got the lion's share of the press coverage?
Why, Corey Haim's, of course!
A hundred years ago, the satirist George Ade noted that as far as fame in the newspapers is concerned, it is much better to jump off the Williamsburg Bridge than to be a professor emeritus at Harvard. And as went the newspapers in Ade's day, so go the blogs in ours.
In fairness, though, it's also possible to gain publicity because of a long, happy and dignified life. The same front page of the USA Today Style Section that announced Corey Haim's demise also carried a story about the 88-year-old Betty White being tapped to host a special Mother's Day edition of "Saturday Night Live," after a widespread Internet campaign by her fans to gain her that honor.
Of course the very names "Sue Ann Nivens" and "Rose Nylund" are enough to conjure warm feelings in the hearts of all sitcom fans. But by chance I happened to rent Otto Preminger's 1962 political thriller "Advise and Consent" from Netflix a few days after reading the USA Today story, and there in a small but important role was Betty White as the Honorable Senator from Kansas, holding her own on screen with the likes of Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton and Walter Pidgeon. And now she will get to hold her own on screen with the likes of Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler, all of whom are returning to the show for that episode.
You go, girl.