Michael Jackson Dead – Jeff Goldblum & Harrison Ford, not – such is the Internet

Oh what a tangled web we weave …

Today the sad news broke that two icons of the X Generation – Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett-Majors – both passed away today in Los Angeles.

Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett as 'Jill Munro' in "Charlie's Angels"

FARRAH FAWCETT

Ms Fawcett died this morning in a Santa Monica hospital after battling cancer since 2006.

Best known for her roles in the hit TV series “Charlie’s Angels” and the film “The Burning Bed”, Fawcett was an icon of her generation.  She was the 70’s “It Girl” – the one everyone most wanted to be like if you were a girl and the one most wanted if you were a boy.  Recent generations might remember the sudden sweeping popularity of the Jennifer Annisten haircut that happened during the height of popularity of the TV show “Friends” – well, Farrah Fawcett caused an even bigger “aping” of her look in the late seventies – a look that is still used today when someone wants to evoke the 1970’s feel in fashion – those swept back wings of hair either side of the face, with blonde streaks and middle part … that’s all down to Farrah Fawcett’s look in “Charlie’s Angels” – and we idolized her for it, even if now, thirty years later, we don’t remember it was she who truly epitomized and cemented it.

Fawcett shot to fame as ‘Jill Munro’ in Charlie’s Angels, inspiring a generation of girls into thinking that maybe women could be glamous, sexy and strong – all at the same time.  Fawcett once said about the show: “When the show was number three, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wore a bra.”  Despite the self-depreciation, watching the re-runs of that seminal TV series was one of the things that inspired me to become an actress and Farrah was one of my early, and I think good, influences in that area.

Sadly, her long term partner, Ryan O’Neal, finally got her to agree to marry him, but she passed away before vows could be exchanged.  I feel like a part of my childhood has vanished with her death and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family and friends at this very sad time.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

MICHAEL JACKSON

Dead at 50, this sudden ending to Michael Jackson’s life seems almost bizarrely appropriate.  Never one to do things in a “normal” fashion, his sudden passing will only add to the mystique and strangeness that became his life.

Which is sad, as he was truly a gifted musician, singer and songwriter.  He changed the face of music with his “Thriller” album and I still remember watching the accompanying music video for the first time with awe and wonder and excitement. Here was a storyteller – a gifted artist, who, sadly, had just as many demons as he had talent.

The boy who never wanted to grow up, Jackson had still managed to live to be 50, and had announced a live tour due to start in a few weeks.  Rumours abound that he was addicted to prescription drugs, tumbled in with existing doubts about his dealings with children, his bizarre treatment of his own offspring and his strained relationship with his father and some of his family, all make for one very troubled life and tragic death.

Whatever you think of Michael Jackson as a man, you can’t escape the fact that he was seminal as a musician.  May he find some peace at last.

Ed McMahon (left) shakes hands with Johnny Carson on their last "Tonight Show" together in 1992
Ed McMahon (left) shakes hands with Johnny Carson on their last "Tonight Show" together in 1992

ED McMAHON

While it may have got lost in the recent news, those who remember the Johnny Carson Show and his sidekick, Ed McMahon who coined the phrase “H-e-e-e-e-e-ere’s Johnny!”, will be saddened to learn of Ed’s death last Wednesday in a Los Angeles Hospital aged 86.

Working for 30 years as Johnny Carson’s “second banana” on “The Tonight Show”, accolades have been pouring in from many giants of the US comedy/talk show side of the biz, with many labelling McMahon a “gentleman”, “giant”, “true broadcaster” and “one of the greats”. David Letterman’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer, said McMahon “defined professionalism in broadcasting.”

In recent years, after breaking his neck in a fall in 2007, McMahon battled financial difficulties due to not being able to work.  In June last year it was reported that he may lose his home, but generous action from people such as Donald Trump averted the need for the property to be sold, although other debts were still outstanding.  McMahon still managed to keep his sense of humour – parodying his financial situation in a 2009 SuperBowl ad with rap artist MC Hammer in a cash-for-gold commercial where McMahon used his trademark saying with a twist by waving goodbye to a gold toilet and belting out a “H-e-e-e-e-e-re’s money!”

McMahon was surrounded by his family, including wife Pam, when he passed.

Jeff Goldblum - not dead, despite reports
Jeff Goldblum - not dead, despite reports

JEFF GOLDBLUM & HARRISON FORD

Then there’s Jeff Goldblum & Harrison Ford.  Proving that not everything you read on the Internet should be believed, reports earlier today that Jeff Goldblum had died in a fall in New Zealand while filming and that Harrison Ford had disappeared while on a boat in the French Riviera have been proven false.

Reports appeared on several high profile news sites as well as being ‘tweeted’ all over Twitter by concerned users that both Goldblum and Ford had died – causing their publicists to step forward and reassure the world that they were both very much alive.

Apparently this is part of a cycle of fake obituaries that circle every so often.  The last two were Tom Cruise (who was supposed to have died falling off the same cliff in New Zealand in 2008) and Tom Hanks in 2006.

Interestingly however, both Goldblum and Ford do have something in common – they will share the silver screen when they co-star in the upcoming movie “Morning Glory” – a comedy about a failing morning news program – due for release in 2010.

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