About Last Night: Remembering Michael and Farrah
What a day. What a day. Is anyone else famous going to die? Let's hope not.
It was hard when Barbara Walters told me over my morning latte that
Farrah was close to death, and when she died about an hour later I felt
immense sadness. As a child growing up in the '70s, I saw Farrah
everywhere. She was gorgeous. She was seductive. She was an icon. And I
got to sleep with her in my bed every night—that sex kitten image in
her bathing suit was on a satin pillow my dad bought me when I was
about eight. Little did he know I wasn't pining away for her as he had
hoped, but still loved rubbing against that pillow (can you blame me?
It was satin!). She was an Angel. Not only Charlie's, but mine, too,
and for so many others. Even though she somewhat disappeared from the
spotlight over the next few decades, she was still that lovable Farrah.
Hearing about her being diagnosed with cancer a few years ago was sad,
but knowing it was there softened the blow of her ultimate death.
And then came the most unexpected news of the day. Michael. How could
the King of Pop, self proclaimed or otherwise, be—gasp!—dead? It was
unbelievable even to hear he'd suffered cardiac arrest. And then was in
a coma. Then just moments later, we heard the news, which still is
surreal. When my partner called me in the car on my way to a wine
tasting, I screamed. Not like a little girl, but an audible shock that
was done in unison with anyone who has been touched by his music.
Michael Jackson dead? And just when he was going to, maybe, make a
comeback. He lived a reclusive life and many people wrote him off as a
freak. We didn't hear about him that often since his 2005 child
molestation case, but he was still around. His music was still played
in clubs, on the radio and at home. We didn't have to see him for MJ to
have an impact.
They say celebrity deaths come in threes and the only thing that could
be worse for gay community today would be if we, god forbid, received
news that Cher, Bette or Madonna (or Liza or Diana for that matter),
too had died. But fortunately for us, Jackson was actually the third
tragic death this week; Ed McMahon, the lovable sidekick to Johnny
Carson and host of "Star Search," where it could be said he kicked off
Britney's career, died on Tuesday.
The news of Jackson's death sadly overshadows that of Farrah's, but you
can't argue the impact both had on so many people. Around the world
today people talked how much both meant to them. Throughout the
morning, people Twittered their condolences and memories of Farrah. And
as the afternoon turned into evening, fans around the globe played
Michael Jackson songs and danced in the streets. A friend told me that
in the heart of Chicago's hippest 'hood, Wicker Park, hundreds of
people gathered at the main intersection and randomly started singing
Gay friends emailed to say they left work early because they were
distraught over both deaths. People got together in the early evening
for drinks to toast the pair. And as the night dragged on, more glasses
were raised to the man whose music will live on forever.
So as I sit here, with "The Way You Make Me Feel" playfully bouncing
around my head, and the image of Farrah with her pearly whites beaming
back at me, I mourn the loss of two icons. Icons for very different
reasons, but icons—to the gay and straight worlds—nonetheless.
How did their lives impact you? What did you do last night to remember
Farrah or Michael or both? Let us know. Talk to each other. It's a sad
day in the entertainment world and no one wants to go through it alone.
(Photos: Amazon.com and Getty Images)