In the past week, we lost a feather-follicled angel, the second banana to end all second bananas, the effing King and the effing King of getting your clothes as white as can be. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “What the fucking fuck is going on?”
And that’s just in the last week. In addition to Michael Jackson, Ed McTheMan, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays, we’ve also lost Bea Arthur, Natasha Richardson, David Carradine, Bea Arthur, Jay Bennett of Wilco, Dom Deluise, John Updike, Ricardo Montalban, Bea Arthur, Ray Dennis Steckler (a loss for bad movie lovers), the last living voyager upon the Titanic, Danny Gans and Bea Arthur. Mostly Bea Arthur, really. You don’t even know the heart attack I had when I saw a Tim Curry having died April 24th, though luckily it was a different Tim Curry. Well, not luckily for that Tim Curry, his family or his fellow Texas attorneys … sorry.
I think we can all agree that 2009 has been a bummer year as far as celebrity deaths are concerned, unless you’re in a high stakes celebrity death pool. And no one is safe. The 2k9 Death March is ceaseless and unwavering. That is why I plan to fight it. In a barbed wire cage. With fire and bats. FIREBATS.
Death is stupid. I mean, I’m an actual proper adult now, and I still don’t understand it. For the most natural thing in the world, it seems wholly unnatural. And that is why I’m going to make a special request from Lord Unicorn Jesus. Please, let us just keep the below five people.
The Five People I Must Respectfully Request Never Die
1. Elizabeth Taylor
One of the most beautiful women who ever lived, an American legend and a world-class maneater (which is old timey speak for seriously classy and fancy slut, which I respect in a lady), Liz has become crazy-awesome in her twilight years. If you need proof of that, just watch this clip. It will change your life.
The lady has had more heartache in her life than ____, and that line is blank because she is the gold standard and there is no one to whom we can compare her life of sadness. But she’s soldiered on and lived her life with grace and general awesomeness. Our lady of perpetual manslinging is up there in years at 77 years young, and it’s widely understood that she’s quite ill and weak. But I would be totally comfortable with her living another twenty, thirty years if that’s okay. Anything to put off the awkwardness of eternity with all of her ex-husbands (although that would be the hottest reality show I’ve ever heard of).
We also share a birthday. Don’t ever leave me, birthday buddy!
2. Cloris Leachman
Phyllis Lindstrom herself has had quite a career resurgence in the last few years. She used to be the Leslie Mann of her time, the hot funny lady. Then she had fancy spiky hair on Facts of Life when Charlotte Rae quit that bitch. Now she’s my favorite form of actress – the crazy old lady. Eighty-three years old, she is now known to the young bucks as the wacky old chick on Dancing With The Stars, and from roles like the school nurse in Sky High (I love that movie more than your life). But I know her best from growing up on the Mel Brooks movies and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Phyllis reruns on Nick at Nite. She was neurotic, she was a bitch and she was hilarious. She was everything I wanted to be, and was already a third on my way there. Profane and amazing, I hope that Cloris is the proverbial cockroach and that she outlives us all, still dancing (terribly) well into her hundreds.
3. Mel Brooks
When Anne Bancroft sadly passed, my fear was that her husband of 40 years would be quick to follow. I have always had quite a fascination with this couple, and the story of their courtship, marriage and enduring friendship was always something that touched me and became my own personal marriage ideal. My love of Mel Brooks’s movies need no explanation or description, but I love them all, even the ones that no one else does, and when Young Frankenstein didn’t do so hot on Broadway, I felt really sad and angry towards theatergoers. “Go see the adorable old man’s play, you assholes!” is what I yelled out my window, hoping the sound of my voice would carry to New York (I like to think it did). People may judge, but I say the man has earned his right to turn his properties into whatever he wants. If he made High Anxiety: Degrassi High, I’d watch it in adoration. He’s given us enough laughs that he’s earned that.
4. Betty White
So help me god, the first thing I thought Thursday afternoon after half of Hollywood died was “get me on a goddamn plane to LA so I can create a human shield around Betty.”
Screw Rhode and Mare. My favorites on The Mary Tyler Moore Show were obviously the bitches. And between Phyllis and Suann, I had more than enough neurotic bitchery to handle. And don’t get me started on The Golden Girls. Seriously. Don’t. I will talk for days about the episode where Rose thought she’d died and moved out, or how I used to cry during scenes when the others were mean to Rose because she reminded me of my Grandma Audrey, or how I couldn’t get enough St. Olaf stories. This mortal coil already lost Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur. You’re not taking Betty. Seriously. Betty stays. The Proposal has shown that she’s still got it. She has years left of scene stealing and geniusness. And more St. Olaf stories. Please, more St. Olaf stories.
But as hard as it would be to lose Betty, there’s one person who I truly cannot handle losing …
5. Patrick Swayze
I’m dead serious. If for some reason I haven’t managed to prove my love for Swayze yet in my roughly 8,000 mentions of my affection, let me lay this out there: you take Patrick, you take me with him. And I will join him at the big Double Deuce in the sky, and we’ll dance and I’ll totally nail the lift. And there will be surfing and bank robbing and throat ripping and cross dressing and so much more. Ironically enough, there will be no Ghost references. Mostly because if he goes, I will be unable to watch Ghost for years. Swayze showed us during The Beast that even facing certain death, he can still kick your ass, my ass, anyone’s ass at anything. The world will be a worse place without him and we need him around. He’s like a bear fighting Santa Claus who delivers amazement and good times. Unless you’re too stupid to have a good time.
Ideally, starting next week I’ll be able to be funny* again. But there’s been too much death this week, and I’d very much like it to stop. So bright-side seeker I am, I will chalk these recent deaths up to necessary sacrifices for the harvest and hope this is it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to fit Betty for her chain link dress and pepper spray hat.
* Assuming you find this ridiculousness amusing.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.