In Memoriam: All That Were Lost in 2016
The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
I have to say, I am quite nervous writing this tonight.
Not because I am unfamiliar with death, but because there are still a few days left to the calendar year and I am worried, very worried, that it will take someone else we all love and cherish. That’s how 2016 has me feeling.
I can’t remember a time, or another year, where we lost SO many people in the worlds of Music, Movies, Television and so on.
It’s as if though the soundtrack to my youth has been single-handedly destroyed over the last 12+ months. It first started on December 28th, 2015, a very somber day when the world lost Rock Legend Lemmy Kilmister. From there it spun out of control. A whirlwind of death, sadness and shock. And, unfortunately for us, we had to announce so many of these deaths while we were live on the air right here at The Stoop.
When I say that the soundtrack of my youth is being destroyed, I talk about that from a music sense. From the shocking deaths of Legends like Prince (57), David Bowie (69), Merle Haggard (79) and most recently George Michael (53) to so many incredible artists like Glenn Frey (67), Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor (45), Keith Emerson (71), Natalie Cole (65) and one of the most crushing deaths in young Country star Joey Feek at the age of 40 from cancer.
The list goes on for these artists. I have left some out as the ones I mentioned hit closest to home for me but they all deserve our admiration, our respect and most of all our grief due to their losses.
I am always shocked when a celebrity dies, especially one I admired. But nothing hit me harder (since the passing of Ronnie James Dio) than the unfortunate passing of the late, great, legendary Gene Wilder and legendary sportscaster Craig Sager.
Gene Wilder was my childhood. He was Willy Wonka! And as I got older, he and Richard Pryor went on to make me laugh like I have never known what laughing was before. Gene and Clevon Little made me wet my pants from laughing so hard one time, and that was thanks to “Blazing Saddles”.
Craig Sager, God bless his soul, was an inspiration throughout his fight with cancer. Whenever I see a loud suit jacket or shirt, I will forever think of Craig, his smile and the optimism he kept until his dying day.
From Florence Henderson (82) and Zsa Zsa Gabor (99) to the great Abe Vigoda (94) and the tragic passing of Alan Thicke (69) the list just keeps going on and on of all the amazing and inspiring people we have lost this year.
Harper Lee (89), the amazing Alan Rickman (69), George Kennedy (91), Patty Duke (69), the incredible Pat Summitt (64), and he will always float like a butterfly and sting like a bee for us and our children’s children, the legendary Muhammad Ali (74).
Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe (88), the hilarious Garry Marshall (81), the “Tall Man” Angus Scrimm (89), John “The Cool Ghoul” Zacherle (98) and Nancy Reagan (94). And who could forget the brilliant Garry Shandling (66)?
You will all be remembered by not only your fans, but future generations to come as your work will forever be engraved in societies all around the world.
From one of the biggest fans of Music, Movies, Sports and so-on. I thank you and I will always remember you. Mr. Wilder, thank you for making me laugh and for being an inspiration. To Joey Feek and Craig Sager, your smiles and the fight that you two fought will forever be remembered. Thank you, Ms. Harper Lee for writing one of my favorite books (To Kill A Mockingbird) and Mr W.P. Kinsella for not only giving us an amazing book (Shoeless Joe) but for helping people dream so big that they were able to give us an American Classic like “Field of Dreams”.
As we head into 2017, I would like to say goodnight to all that we have lost and I hope for all of us, including the family and friends of all that were lost this year, celebrity or not, always keep love and your loved ones near your heart no matter what.
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