Been reading an article over at TV Squad about unexpected deaths of TV personalities over the years.
They are of course writing this article because of the sudden, totally unexpected death of Tim Russert on Friday. What was really unexpected was the fact that it happened right in the middle of the election year, before the conventions were even held. It's like when a die-hard NFL fan drops dead before the playoffs start. It just isn't fair.
Anyway that article goes on to talk about some of the other shocking deaths over the years. Two of the ones mentioned in that article I can kind of relate to: the deaths of Jim Henson and John Candy. Those were the kind of deaths that really shocked you because of how young and energetic they were. These guys were still doing good work, and suddenly they were gone. Henson, of course, died the same day that Sammy Davis Jr. died, and I remember Entertainment Tonight had to do a big, depressing show looking back at both of those guys.
John Candy's death from heart disease was pretty devastating for people up in Canada because of how big a personality he was in his home and native land. He was starring in all these movies and had joined forces with Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall to take over the Toronto Argonauts CFL team as an owner.
I remember the day I heard that Candy had died -- I was about to hit the road for my long commute back home to Saskatoon, and I had flipped on the car radio and heard the announcer talk about "the late great John Candy." And then they went into his obituary. Just shocking news. Actually, I found out the deaths of most of these big names that way, hearing it first on the radio.
That John Candy death -- boy, that was the shocker. I'd compare something like that to turning on the radio and hearing that Mike Myers had kicked the bucket.
I guess the Phil Hartman death was another big shocker, and so was John Ritter. Both guys were starring in sitcoms on TV at the time they died. I'm sure there were others that article didn't mention. One person who was really big up here in Canada was Barbara Frum. Frum had been anchoring the Journal on CBC and was basically an institution up here. She had also been suffering with leukemia for years, but nobody in the general public even knew she was sick! So when she died at an early age it was a big surprise to a lot of people.
Anyway, check out that article.