Beating death at an old age
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
2016 was an awful year for celebrity deaths, from David Bowie and Alan Rickman in January to Carrie Fisher and George Michael in December. Now that the year is over and we look ahead, we realize it could have been much worse, as there are a lot of famous faces who could have passed away that instead held on to survive the year.
Kirk Douglas (100). The golden age of Hollywood is long past and few true relics remain of the empire. Movies like La La Land can stir nostalgia in us time and again, and I have been guilty of binge watching TCM, but nothing can recall the glory of the golden age like Douglas. If anything proves that nostalgia is a powerful force, it is the continued survival of Douglas, a man who defined manliness with his chiseled chin and bulging pectorals.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (83). Known to her fans as ‘the Notorious R.B.G.,’ Ginsberg is one of the most left leaning justices on the Supreme Court of America. She has championed social justice and equal rights for all citizens, and has helped in keeping the United States from spiralling off to the right. With the death of Justice Scalia, the rise of Trump, and the Republicans successfully blocking Obama’s nomination to the court, it is very important that Ginsburg not only survived 2016, but the next four years as well.
Stephen Hawking (75). For someone who was supposed to have passed away 50 years ago, Hawking is still as spry as any wheelchair-bound super genius can be. Still giving lectures and still making science, Hawking has set a fine example to everyone when it comes to facing adversity. And unlike Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, he survived his biographical Oscar-winning movie.
Queen Elizabeth II (90). Nothing shakes the foundation of the Commonwealth like the death of a monarch. At least, I would assume so, as there are few alive who remember a time when Elizabeth Rex wasn’t in power. A cold around Christmas had us a little worried, but if the longevity of her mother is any indication, we have another decade before we need to worry about the line of succession.
Betty White (94), Dick Van Dyke (91), Don Rickles (90), Mel Brooks (89), Jerry Lewis (89), Carl Reiner (93). Comedians have a reputation of being long lived—something about the healing power of laughter—and the fact that we had so many great comedians survive 2016 is a testament to that.
Chuck Berry (90). We may lament the passing of some pop–rock greats over the last few years, and wonder how all of the Rolling Stones managed to stay alive, but many of us don’t realize that the man who created rock–and–roll is still alive, and will be releasing an album in 2017.
Jackie Chan (62). Chan has at least four live action movies coming out in 2017. I’m honestly surprised he has lasted this long.