In what has been an impressive 360 days so far, the year 2016 has ended the lives of more celebrities than any year in recent history. This coupled with the election of, now President-Elect Donald J. Trump and the shocking Brexit vote, proves, at least to this reporter, some direct causation in the tragic events of this year. Looks like we should stop sarcastically saying “Thanks Obama,” and very frankly and somberly start thanking Trump.
Like a frantic serial killer seeking to make his name known quick, 2016 started the year out strong, taking the truly magical David Bowie from us as well as the talented Eagles rocker, Glenn Frey making listening to about half of the hit songs from the 70s truly depressing. Then, in a surprising early twist, 2016 really wanted to let us know it wasn’t fucking around and killed off Alan Rickman. Yeah, Professor Snape, Hans Gruber, that guy from Galaxy Quest, dead as a member of the main cast of Rogue One at the end of the movie (spoilers!). But this is only the beginning.
Next for the sadistic celebrity killer known as 2016, came February. How much damage could come in the shortest month of the year? An awful lot if you were a member of the United States Supreme Court, a founding member of Earth, Wind and Fire or the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Yep, dead, all three of them, and with Antonin Scalia’s death, 2016 gave us a little bonus, the death of any respect I may have had left for the Republicans who refused to let President Obama nominate a new Supreme Court Justice, or you know, as some call it, do his job the way the US Constitution lays it out.
Then came March, aptly named, because it sent so many famous folks on a literal death march to their graves, taking the lives of Nancy Reagan, beloved former First Lady, Rob Ford, beloved crack-using, addled brained mayor of some big town in Canada, Patty Duke, made famous for her portrayal of Helen Keller, and one of my personal heroes, Gary Shandling, who gave birth to a completely new genre of the comedic docudrama, and whose death just shows 2016 really meant business with this whole celebrity death thing and in case you hadn’t figured it out by now it isn’t exactly going to quit while it’s ahead.
April. Sure some famous basketball player and Merle Haggard passed but come on, even giving them a passing mention feels wrong after the year’s arguably hardest to digest death. The artist formerly known and now currently known as Prince, died. Shit 2016. We get it. At this point any celebrity with more than 20 IMDB listings and an AARP card was actively trying to avoid death at every turn. They were wise to as well, because 2016 had just warmed up.
Showing an unusual smidge of restraint, the all-powerful 2016 murdered just three folks of world intrigue in May (you probably haven’t even heard of them), probably just to let us recover from Prince’s demise and hit us even harder in June with the gruesome deaths of both boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who flew like a butterfly and died like a celebrity in 2016, and the young Anton Yelchin who as the Associated Press put it was “hit by his car in his driveway.” That’s when we knew 2016 was just going to get worse. It wasn’t even being creative anymore. Oh and Brexit. The death to sanity was first cultivated in the UK.
July was also a “breather” month, with only the Holocaust novel Night author, Elie Wiesel, passing as well as some apparently famous Swiss clown named Clown Dimitri. This month’s deaths were just designed to lure us into a false sense of security as we went into August.
Really?! Gene Wilder? Just stop! Jesus. This proves the theory that 2016 is Satan incarnate, and that the end of the world as we know it is upon us. Either that, or you know, all these beloved entertainers are just old. But my vote is for the former hypothesis.
September’s list of people who died included Nobel-prize winner and former Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, Arizona’s first female governor, Rose Mofford, and of course the amazing golfer and creator of delicious beverages, Arnold Palmer. That death came on the 25th, making me think, just for a minute, that September could have been an honorable mention list, but no, 2016 had to throw on an A-lister for good measure. Disgusting.
2016’s October took from us the first woman to ever conquer Mount Everest, Thailand’s demigod King and Jane Fonda’s ex-husband. This led most to believe that October was the sign of a bright light as we headed into the holidays, relatively celebrity death free, when in reality it was just the calm before the storm that was (and is) the last 60 days of the year.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Leonard Cohen, straight up badass and unparalleled singer songwriter died, leaving us only 17 days to brace for the mom off the Brady Bunch to die. Florence motherfucking Henderson. Seriously? If there ever was a reason to drink, it’s now. At least Fidel Castro finally kicked the bucket, which is either something to celebrate or mourn depending on how liberal artsy your college was. Oh, and silly me, almost forgetting the death of the dignity associated with the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America. I guess that’s just another reality show now.
And then came December. The month of Christmas, Festivus, and you know all the other made up holidays like Hanukkah and Free Pancake Day at IHOP. Surely, the insatiable blood lust of the Dexter-level serial killing of 2016 was finally over. Surely, the year had wiped out enough of the cast of our childhoods, surely, it would relent, let up, and give us a peaceful month for once. Surely?
Nope. Goodbye Zsa Zsa Gabor, who probably just died, not by the hands of the malicious year we are in, she was 99 for Christ’s sake. Goodbye John Glenn, the decorated war vet, who after becoming the first American in orbit, decided he wasn’t enough of a patriot so he became a four term Senator. He’s basically second in “America-ness” to only George Washington and Stephen Colbert. Then we said farewell to the “Growing Pains” star Alan Thicke. America’s dad for years, failing only at raising Kirk Cameron as a normal human and not some crazy religious zealot. Then, just yesterday, at the time of writing this, we lost George Michael, and Carrie Fisher is in critical condition after a heart attack… proving there is no hope for this planet.
2016 has no motive, other than pure evil.
And it leaves us here, a mere five days from 2017, where we will have a brighter future, and continue to live our lives without the ones we lost this year. Until then we have to wonder who is next? Who will be the resounding crescendo of death to close out this dismal year?
My only promise, is that if 2016 takes Billy Joel from me, there will be hell to pay. I think he's safe though, because he is "relatively" young and in the immortal words of Mr. Joel, “Only the Good Die Young” proving Zsa Zsa Gabor wasn’t so good after all.